Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Release Date: June 28, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse (S&S imprint)
Note: Forbidden deals with a very sensitive topic. This book is not suitable for readers under the age of 14.
Lochan is 17. Maya is 16. They're brother and sister, each other's best friend, and have become the caregivers of their younger siblings after their mother continually drinks and distances herself from a family she no longer cares about. Soon, the stress of school and running a household get to them, eats away at them, and they have nowhere to turn to but each other. It brings them close, so close they can't bear to be separated.
So close they fall in love. Hiding this forbidden love from family, from friends, from the entire world, is a struggle but they can't bear to let the other one go. Not when it feels this right.
As the novel careens
toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a
love this devastating has no happy ending. (This last sentence was taken from the summary on Goodreads. It was so good, I had to include it.)
I went into this book knowing what it was about. It's a sensitive topic, one often not discussed except as something you're completely not supposed to do because it's illegal and sick and gross, but I understand why Suzuma went there in this book, why Lochan and Maya fell in love. They had no one else, no one else who understood them, who cared about them, who supported them without question. I've come across other books where a couple falls in love because there's no one else that cares what happens to them. The only difference between those books and this one is that here, the couple is brother and sister.
And, this might be a bit of a spoiler, their relationship isn't all about sex. Just because they're brother and sister, it's not all about them having sex with each other. It's about emotional support and care, about the love you get when someone's always there in your corner to help you through all the hard days.
I will admit, I got so wrapped up in this book that every time I was reminded they were siblings I felt a bit odd, but I'll chalk that up to my own pre-conceived nottions on the subject. I'm not sure what my opinion is on the subject, but I'll say I understand why Lochan and Maya turned to each other for love.
This book brings up some powerful questions. How can something so wrong feel so right? How can you love someone so much when you're not supposed to? How can they continue loving each other, knowing they'd be ostracized by society? What lengths is someone willing to go to for the person they love? How can love be wrong? Who is society to tell us who we can and can't love? How long could you keep such a powerful love hidden?
Something I forgot while reading this is that love can take many forms, some not all that familiar or acceptable, but it is still love.
In our darkest hours, in the loneliest moments, the human soul will reach out for support. There have been so many stories of people joining together in a crisis, even complete strangers, because they know they will be taken care of. They know they will be loved, without question or hesitation, without reason.
Is Lochan and Maya's relationship unconventional? Yes. Is it illegal? Most definitely. If they were real, if their story and their heartache was real, would I blame them for falling in love with each other? I hope not.
Forbidden is so emotional, so moving, so gut-wrenchingly powerful it left me with that hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach and tears in my eyes. For me, this book wasn't about a brother and sister entering into an incestuous relationship, but more of a story of love, love gone wrong, love impossible, love misunderstood, love forbidden. I dare you not to be moved by this story.