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.
Okay, so I don't know if I "loved" this book, and I certainly didn't "enjoy" it, but it's been a couple of weeks since I read it and I'm still thinking about it, so that has to count for something.
Obviously, the subject matter is an uncomfortable one. This book made me feel WEIRD when I was reading it. I had to put it down a lot and think about other things just to clear it from my mind. But I read it all in one sitting because I had to see what happened. I knew there couldn't possibly be a happy ending for these two characters, but I really had to know what was going to happen.
I liked that Tabitha Suzama gave a somewhat understandable reason for these siblings to develop feelings for one another - they have taken over the parent roles for their younger siblings and are functioning as mother and father. I also liked that the book was written in alternating 1st person POV, so we see the feelings develop on both sides and never get the impression that one sibling is manipulating the other one.
The story here is a gut-wrenching one, and the writing is really great. I really liked both Lochan and Maya, and I really did want them to find happiness somehow. I feel like when you read a "forbidden love" story you are always pulling for the characters to be together despite the thing that is keeping them apart. In this book, you like the characters, but you just can't root for them to be together, even thought it's the one thing that would make them so happy. My issue with stories like that is that the authors tend to take the easy way out and make it too easy for the characters to be together, so I loved that this book just went there and really made me as a reader question this relationship and find myself torn between rooting for the couple and rooting against them.
Forbidden takes a really uncomfortable and taboo subject and presents it with a believable story and wonderful writing, really making you think in a way you wouldn't expect. I didn't think I was going to read this book, but in the end I was just too curious to see how the author pulled it off. It ended up being a really great lesson in "going there" with story and characters. It's not for everyone. I have a pretty high tolerance for weird, but this book really eeeked me out in a way I wasn't expecting. (It has some of the steamiest scenes I have ever read in YA, so I was like, YAY hot scenes! AAAH hot scenes between brother and sister are NOT hot. Eeeee.) So be prepared to feel uncomfortable, but I promise you that you will FEEL. And think about this book long after you are done with it.