September 14, 2015

Wicked Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma


Published: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Acquired: Paperback

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As de facto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: A love this devastating has no happy ending.

I found out about Forbidden through some of my friends over at Facebook. Some two years ago, there was this Forbidden Support Group on Facebook and I joined it. I bought an ebook copy of the book and I was utterly devastated. I bought the book last year and I reread it last month and I'm still devastated.
 I love books that are challenging to read. This one was challenging because it talks about the taboo: incest. I was raised to believe that brother and sister are not allowed to love each other more than the sibling kind of love. But things change. I learned how to see things differently. I learned how to open my mind and welcome whatever the world of literature throws at me.
Lochan (I still have no idea how to pronounce his name) loves his siblings so much. They are the only ones who see the real him. To them, he's not the socially anxious teenager. He's the hero. He's the protector. He's the the big brother. He can be a normal person in front of them. Social anxiety is more than just being shy and the way Lochan's point of view was written, I felt everything. He had the worst time being around his peers. He was so smart that he could be on top of the world but he can't. His day to day struggle in school was painful. Every conversation with his teachers about encouraging him to speak up in class is almost painful to read.
He draws his strength from Maya. Now, Maya is a whole other character. Where Lochan is dark, Maya is bright. I understand why Maya and Lochan has chemistry. Neither can live without the other. Maya is unlike any sixteen year old I have encountered. She manages to be a pretty normal teenager while playing "Mom" to her younger siblings. If she were a real person, I would love for her to be my best friend.

You've always been my best friend, my soul mate, and now I've fallen in love with you too. Why is that such a crime? 

The dialogue is minimal here even if it's 400+ pages. It's 400+ pages of beautiful writing. Since incest is such a sensitive topic, a lot of people tend to veer away from this topic. (Save except for George RR Martin. Okay I had to put that out there.) The mere thought of a sexual relationship with your sibling is enough to churn your insides. But with Maya and Lochan, it's different. I threw my moral compass a long time ago and I wanted them to work. I wanted them to end up together. Come to think of it, we all came from incest. I mean, in the Bible, how else would the population grow if the only people were Adam and Eve and their children? Right? Just think about it. But anyways, there love for each other is so, so rich and so pure. Their love is the kind of love you're supposed to fight for with all your heart, come hell or high water. But it's also the kind of love that will destroy you. It's beautiful and dangerous at the same time.

At the end of the day it's about how much you can bear, how much you can endure. Being together, we harm nobody; being apart, we extinguish ourselves.

I clung on to the idea that they will get their happily ever after. But I knew the ending. I knew that Lochan died in order to save Maya. In the end, Lochan still thought of his siblings. He sacrificed himself in order for his loved ones to live a normal, happy life.

If I die too, his ultimate sacrifice would have been in vain.

 I am happy; happy that I have encountered a book this poignant and so beautiful. I am devastated because the ending wasn't a happy ending. This story will move you. It will rock your world. I promise.

Tabitha Suzuma was born in London, the eldest of five children. She attended a French school in the UK and grew up bilingual. However, she hated school and would sit at the back of the class and write stories, which she got away with because her teachers thought she was taking notes. Aged fourteen, Tabitha left school against her parents' wishes. She continued her education through distance learning and went on to study French Literature at King's College London.

After graduating, Tabitha trained as a primary school teacher and whilst teaching full-time, wrote her first novel.

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