Saturday, April 30, 2011

[Review] Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Title: Forbidden
Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Publication: 15/05/10
Publisher: Random House
Source: For review from publisher
Age: 18+ mature themes across the board :P
Pages: 410
My Rating:

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.
My thoughts: 


This review is subject to change - so much so because I only JUST finished it an hour ago, and it was just so unbelieveable what is explored in the book. It's just really heavy, and at times I just needed to step back and take a break from the lives of Lochan and Maya, and their siblings. I can almost guarantee you that this book will numb you, and I strongly urge you NOT to read this if you are not over the age of 18. Even at the back of this book, there is a line of text - "NOT SUITABLE FOR YOUNGER READERS". I do believe this is a book that can open peoples' minds, but there's a lot of detail with sexual scenes, as well as language and all that fun stuff. :L

Forbidden tells a story of a love between two siblings who live under the same roof. Not only will getting caught being together jeopardise the bright futures the two can potentially have, but their lovely family will fall apart. Of course, there's the father who left years ago, the mother who the kids are seeing less and less of every day, and three younger kids who just can't seem to get it together. Is sacrifice, and living a life apart, better than risking happiness? Who draws the line with incestuous relationships anyway? They're each other's best friend, and so, so much more. And that should be enough, right?

Bam! Suzuma wrote such a powerful and emotional book. This is the first of hers I've read, but after reading this, it will surely not be the last. Not only is it evocative, but it's strung together in a creative and structured format: alternating POVs between Lochan and Maya, that works really well. It provided both sides to the same story, but also showed the feelings that were elicited with their growing situation. Speaking of the writing style, it is almost poetic in the way that one sentence flows into the next one.

Despite its incredibly large length, Forbidden is just written in a way that compelled me to continue reading. That said, this book got a bit tedious in the middle, because it felt like Suzuma was repeating situations and the like. There was definitely potential for the story to have been purged; the page number intimidated me, explaining why it took me so long to get around to reading this book.

I actually believe that the family situation in Forbidden was plausible, as well as that being the reasoning behind the relationship between Lochan and Maya, and they discuss that a few times in the novel. It's a real eye-opener, and made me think about my own opinions in the matter. This book better helped me understand my own thoughts, and when a book does that, you know there's something special about it.

I really did love the family. They also developed and grew, and it was really interesting to see how the family dynamics shifted as the mother began to cut the family out of her lives. It was all those little moments that makes the ending such a tearjerker . . .

I really did like this book, but there were some really annoying bits that I need to address. If it weren't for these, I'm sure I'd have enjoyed this book a lot more, and found it even more powerful. First off, cheesy dialogue. There were just so many of those tagline/tragic movie lines in this book that brought the emotional impact over the edge from iconic to satiric. (eg. "my love", and "How can something so wrong feel so right?" - it's been done before)

Also, I appreciate that Suzuma threw in an extra factor as to why their relationship became what it was, but Lochan was just such a pansy! I'm not dissing him because of his social anxiety, because at least that can be explained. But he just blushed and cried WAY. TOO. MUCH! He was seriously, the girl of the relationship.

Will I read another of Tabitha's books? Sure. Maybe not anytime soon, but if I'm ever in the mood for a heavy book, she's my new go-to author.


I've finally adopted vertical strippy post-its, so I've got quotes to share. :)

First Lines

"I gaze at the small, crisp, burned-out black husks scattered across the chipped white paint of the windowsills. It is hard to believe they were ever alive. I wonder what it would be like to be shut up in this airless, glass box, slowly baked for two long months by the relentless sun, able to see the outdoors - the wind shaking the green trees right there in front of you - hurling yourself again and again that is real and alive and necessary until eventually you succumb: scorched, exhausted, overwhelmed by the impossibility of the task.

At what point does a fly give up trying to escape through a closed window - do its survival instincts keep it going until it is physically capable of no more, or does it eventually learn after one crash too many that there is no way out? At what point do you decide that enough is enough?"

(p. 1, Lochan)

Favourite Quotes

"You think no one understands, I want to tell him, but you're wrong. I do. You're not alone."

(p. 29, Maya)

"Her school pinafore is stained with yesterday's lunch, her school coat is missing its hood, her book bag is falling apart, her red tights have a large hole behind the knee, but she never complains. Even though she is surrounded by mums and dads hugging their children goodbye, even though she hasn't seen her mother for two weeks now, even though she has no memory of ever having a father. She is only five, yet already she has learned that there is no point in asking her mother for a bedtime story, that inviting friends over is something only other children can do, that new toys are a rare luxury, that at home Kit and Tiffin are the only ones who get their own way. At the age of five she has already come to terms with one of life's harshest lessons: that the world isn't fair."

(p. 149, Lochan)

""There are no laws, no boundaries on feelings. We can love each other as much and as deeply as we want. No one, Maya, no one can ever take that away from us.""

(p. 253, Lochan)


Live in Australia?
Fishpond | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders | The Nile

Live elsewhere?
Amazon | The Book Depository


Official Site
Goodreads Page

I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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