It’s been almost a year since I first heard about Forbidden. It was released in the United Kingdom last year and a couple copies of the book made its way over here, but the official US release date wasn’t set until June 28th. I was lucky enough to win an ARC from Goodreads (I love Goodreads), which was the best news EVER because I desperately wanted to read this book.
The first thing you need to know about Forbidden is that it covers a very touchy subject. It’s going to be controversial and when people hear what it’s about, they’re going to argue about their kids reading it, especially since Simon & Schuster is aiming it at teens age 14 and up.
At first, 14 seemed a little young to me to read this book, but then I thought about what I was reading at 14, blushed, and said, ‘To each, his/her own.’ If you think you or your child can handle the material, then go for it. Because honestly, this book was one of the best I’ve read this year. It flew to the top of the charts after I finished it.
So, let’s talk about it, now that I’ve set it up.
Forbidden focuses on 17-year-old Lochan and his sister, 16-year-old Maya. They’ve always felt like partners, rather than siblings, having to raise three younger children while their dead-beat, alcoholic mom neglects them in favor of booze and men. Having that level of stress in their lives brings them close, much closer than normal siblings, to the point where they fall in love. They know their love is wrong and impossible, but they can’t stop.
Do you see now why this book will be controversial? Incest isn’t something brought up very often in YA lit. In fact, the only other books I can think of were between cousins, never brother and sister.
The way Tabitha Suzuma wrote about Lochan and Maya’s feelings for each other, switching between their point of views every couple chapters, was subtle at first. They know it’s wrong, but they love each other too much and they’ve never felt like brother and sister toward each other. They’re best friends and partners in the fight to keep their family together.
I thought the whole thing was done very well. Tabitha draws you into their world and lives, makes you care about them as people and then hits you with their feelings. At no time was I disgusted with Lochan or Maya. I felt frustrated at times because of how hard they fought it, but I understood why they did.
I loved Lochan. Honestly, the entire book could have been written in his point of view and I would not have minded in the least. His struggle was more potent than Maya’s when it came to making me care about their situation. He made this book for me.
I loved this book. I cannot stress how much I loved this book. There isn’t a word yet to describe how much I love this book. By the end, I was sobbing so hard I couldn’t read the words. I had to cry myself out before I could finish and then that just set me back to crying again. Needless to say, it was a very long and emotional night.
I urge you to read it before drawing your own conclusion about the subject matter.
And should Tabitha ever make it over to the US for a book signing, you can bet I’ll be there with multiple copies of Forbidden for her to sign.