Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

ForbiddenSUMMARY (from Goodreads): She is pretty and talented  sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But... they are brother and sister.


Incest is something usually regarded as abominable. However, I could not find one thing that would be even remotely disgusting in the relationship between Lochan and Maya. Not one. On the contrary, I felt deep sympathy for these two characters throughout the book.

The relationship between Maya and Lochan is well-developped and perfectly paced, their feelings pristine; they are extremely likable characters from the start on. Their love is pure and strong, and seems so right. Despite knowing they had virtually no chance for a happy ending, I really hoped they somehow make it through. 

In spite of being centred on Lochan and Maya, Forbidden is also a book about kids who are being let down by their parents as well as by the society in general. The latter is not surprising – institutions are rigid and unfeeling towards particular circumstances of an individual. Naturally, I wish it could be different. Even more disturbing to me is the attitude of the parents in this book.

I know a little bit of how it feels to have to grow up too early, to take care of yourself and your parent instead of your parent taking care of you, though, thankfully, my experience was not as bad as described in this book. This is the reason why I can understand the difficulty of the situation for these kids. I can relate to their covering up for their mother and their fear of being separated. In the end, nothing is more important than family staying together, all the more so if the siblings are the only real family left.

I cannot say how I detest the mother in this book. She is a self-centred, selfish excuse for a mother, a woman who should not have had children, acting towards them the way she is.

Forbidden is not only a well-written, but also a beautifully written book. Suzuma’s writing brings the characters to life, her clearly substantiated language enabling the reader to understand the characters feelings and actions.

Although I expected Forbidden to end badly, I did not anticipate it to end in such a way. I cried myself though the last two chapters. The saddest thing of all to me was how everything fell apart because of one silly unfortunate event. 

This is a very valuable lesson from this book: it takes only one little thing to ruin everything. It is the eternal “what if” question – what if somebody did something differently. Hence, one of the most important lessons one can learn from Forbidden is to be sensitive to how what we do affects other people.

SPOILER (highlight if you want to see it): The possibility of how differently could the story end if Kit's teacher had not humiliated him  although probably unintentionally  in front of the entire class makes it all the more sad. It is a good reminder, not only for me as a teacher, but for everyone, that even our tiniest, presumably innocent actions can have a devastating effect on other people.  END OF SPOILER.

RECOMMENDATION: All I can say is: read this book. Even if you think it is not exactly your kind of read. Even if you think you will be disturbed by some things. It is meant to be this way. Forbidden gives you a lot to feel, to think about, and to learn.


  1. Man... that's tough! You're right, I am kind of put-off by the subject. I can't imagine actually rooting for some incestuous siblings. But if I see this at the library I'll try to suck it up and give it a try. Great review!

  2. Hmmm...maybe when this book comes out in pb I'll give it a chance. With a subject like that, I'd have never picked this book up unless I had read your review. Interesting.

  3. Wonderful review! I have long wanted to read this book, although I'm kind of afraid of it, since I've NEVER read about an incestuous realtionship. But your view on it, and the topics it explores, are convincing enough for me.

  4. I usually wouldn't read a book with that kind of topic either and this was the fist time for me too, reading a book dealing with incest. But I read some excellent reviews of it, which convinced me to read it myself and I'm glad I did.


Don't hesitate to drop me a few strange new words! I'd love to hear what you think!