[Book Review #33] Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma


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.

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 defacto 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 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.

Book Specifications:

Author: Tabitha Suzuma

Format: Trade Paperback

Part of a Series: No.

Release Date: March 27, 2010

Publisher: Simon Pulse

No. of Pages: 454 pages

Price: 435.00Php

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, New Adult, Drama, Dark

Book Review:

The Cover: Featuring a red background with the title written inside a heart made up of stainless steel wire, the cover is absolutely eerie, giving the readers an insight that there is indeed something dark and twisted about this book. (3.5 out of 5 stars)

The Story: The story was about the incestuous relationship of Lochan and Maya Whitley, two siblings who fell in love, with a mother who absolutely has no shit to give for them, leaving our protagonists to feed and take care of 3 more of their siblings Kit, Tiffin, and Willa. Below are some of my comments about this book:

  • The story started out smoothly. At first, it didn’t quite tickle my interest that much but after a few chapters into it, I got hooked. What lured me into continuing to read this is the background story of their family. The Whitleys. Their useless relationship with their mother. Their heartwarming bond between Kit, Tiffin, and Willa. Everything about their relationships were all written magnificently.
  • One thing I love about this book and Suzuma’s writing is that it’s actually fast-paced. It took me a day or two to finish a 454 paged novel, which would normally take me 4 to 5 days to finish. I like that.
  • Reading this book, I expected scenes that would throw me off. And there’s this Salsa Dancing scene where Lochan got aroused towards Maya and… at first, I thought that’s as far as it goes… But then, when they accepted their feelings, on a night where they were both vulnerable, and Maya wanted to touch all of Lochan, she touched his D! It really threw me off! I had to pause. I thought I can’t continue reading it (because omg, it’s incest!!), but I had to know what happened next! I don’t know. I expected that there would be scenes like these but they still shocked me!!
  • I absolutely loathe their mother! What kind of decent human being goes so much as to give birht to 5 children, gets a divorce, and just leave said children to fend for themselves? Alone? Come on! No one in the right mind would be so cruel to do something like that. A mother of all people should be the first in one to cater to the needs of her children. But in this case, having no mother at all would be better and less heartbreaking than having one who has completely decided to neglect her children.
  • Even if Lochan and Maya was certainly not the most perfect pair for me, I have to say that I am proud of them for somehow trying to raise their siblings with whatever resources they had without the support of their mother. That’s certainly hard, you know? Trying to balance not only your studies, social life, and college applications, but also having to feed and take care of 3 more children. That’s totally insane and uncalled for.

I liked the story. I didn’t thought that I would, but I did. Surprisingly, I was able to withstand the scenes that threw me off. There were scenes that I had to take a short pause and mumble to myself, but thank God I was able to finish it. (5 out of 5 stars)

The Ending: *This part is filled with spoilers. I suggest you skip this part if you don’t want to cry later on.*  I have to say that even before starting to read this book, I knew that someone was bound to die. I mean, come on!!! It’s an incestuous relationship. It was bound to end in tears. Lochan’s death, however, surprised me. During that chapter where Lochan was trying to escape his prison cell, it was, at first, depicted that he was trying to escape. But when I saw a line stating (non-verbatim) “I cross the cloth around my neck”, I was caught off guard and bam. The next thing I knew, he was dead. As for Maya and the other children, it pains me to see them without Lochan. Maya is capable of raising the children. Although I’m not quite sure she can do it without having to get her heart broken again and again for Lochan. Hopefully, one day, he can fully move on from her forbidden love. (5 out of 5 stars)

The Verdict: Never have I ever imagined myself reading a book with an “Incest” theme. To me, it just feels absolutely wrong to read about the (physical) love of a brother and a sister. I don’t know. Call me closed-minded, or overly conservative, but the thought of me reading this book never crossed my mind for reasons even I can’t understand.

But, thanks to a friend’s recommendation, and my curiosity finally giving in, I borrowed a copy from a friend, and started reading it right away. It took me out of my reading slump! I was reading Siege and Storm and for reasons I can’t comprehend, it’s taking me awhile to finish that book/that trilogy, so I put it down and immediately started this novel. I was definitely not disappointed. (4.5 out of 5 stars)

Quotable Quotes:

“You can close your eyes to the things you do not want to see, but you cannot close your heart to the things you do not want to feel.” – Maya Whitley

“I mean, at the end of the day, what the hell does it matter who I end up with if it can’t be you?” – Lochan Whitley

“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.” – Maya Whitley

“As the light begins to intensify, so does my misery, and I wonder how it is possible to hurt so much when nothing is wrong.” – Lochan Whitley

“It’s always nice being wanted. Even if it’s by the wrong person.” – Maya Whitley

“I might appear confident and chatty, but I spend most of my time laughing at jokes I don’t find funny, saying things I don’t really mean – because at the end of the day that’s what we’re all trying to do: fit in, one way or another, desperately trying to pretend we’re all the same.” – Maya Whitley

“It’s horrible being ashamed of someone you care about; it eats away at you. And if you let it get to you, if you give up the fight and surrender, eventually that shame turns to hate.” – Lochan Whitley