Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

By: Tabitha Suzuma
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: May 27, 2010
Genre: YA

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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.

1thoughtsFive years ago their father left to start a new life with a new family. Five years ago their mother checked out on them. Five years ago Maya and Lochan grew up beyond their years and took over the house. They fed their three younger siblings, changed their diapers, dropped them off to school, picked them up, and took care of them. They became the parents, the guardians.

My thoughts are thoroughly conflicted over this book. I’m not sure I will be able to write a coherent review but I’m going to try. It was such a compelling story that I couldn’t put it down, no matter how uncomfortable it made me. You see, it’s not just about two siblings falling in love. There is a lot of build up to that. They start off as normal siblings. However, when Maya goes on a date, Lochan loses his cool and realizes that his feelings for his sister run deeper than that of a brother. He tries everything he can to push her away and to get his head screwed on right. He researches incest to see if they are the only ones out there who fell in love. He is so conflicted over how he feels. Their romance didn’t just start, you could see it building, and the turmoil it caused within them.

“I am a person coming undone. I am so disgusted with myself that I want to crawl out of my own skin. My mind keeps pulling me back to that dance. Maya, her face, her touch, that feeling. I keep telling myself these things happen – I’m sure they are not all that uncommon. After all, I’m a seventeen-year-old guy – anything can set us off. Just because it happened while I was dancing with Maya doesn’t mean a thing. But the words do little to reassure me.”

Lochan was by far the most interesting character out of the two. He has this speech phobia. He just cannot seem to talk to other people other than his family. He’s extremely smart and does well in school, but when it comes to answering questions or giving oral presentations, he can’t do it. His teachers are all well aware of this and have made sure to leave him be and not call on him during class. The kids at school have already come to terms with the weird boy who doesn’t speak. There were a couple scenes in the book where he does actually speak to others but it’s so painful to watch. You can just feel how uncomfortable he is and no one knows why he’s like that.

“I see myself configured in their eyes: the guy who always buries himself at the very back of every class, who never speaks, always sits alone in one of the outdoor stairwells during break, hunched over a book. The guy who doesn’t know how to talk to people, who shakes his head when picked on in class, who is absent whenever there is some kind of presentation to do. Over the years they have learned just to let me be.”

The story isn’t told in just Lochan’s POV though. We also follow Maya during this time as well. I must say, she was definitely the aggressor when it came to the relationship blossoming. She sees Lochan’s turmoil, knows why he’s pulling away from her and she confronts him about it. She doesn’t understand why two people who are in love can’t be together, regardless of the circumstances. She pushes the envelope with Lochan little by little. However, she is also conflicted with the whole thing. She tries to figure out why she feels this way for her brother. How it happened. Why it happened. She even goes out with another guy in the hopes of snapping herself out of it.

“Why, then – why is it so different with Lochan? But the answer is simple: because Lochan has never felt like a brother. Neither an annoying younger one nor a bossy older one. He and I have always been equals. We’ve been best friends since we were toddlers. We’ve shared a bond closer than friendship all our lives. Together we’ve brought up Kit, Tiffin, and Willa. We’ve cried together and comforted each other. We’ve each seen the other at our most vulnerable. We’ve shared a burden inexplicable to the outside world. We’ve been there for each other – as friends, as partners.”

Like I said before, this was such a conflicting book. I mean, I cannot wrap my head around it. It made me feel so many emotions. I was sickened, sad, hopeful, outraged, confused, and in the end heartbroken. This story had me crying at the end. I mean, these two teenagers go through a lot of crap. I’m not talking about the whole, “Whoa is me” crap that a lot of teen characters are going through in books. I think the one thing I loved and hated about this story was the ending. I’m still reeling from the way the author ended the story. So much love, so much heartache. Gah!


1favequote“I’ll stay with her for as long as she likes. I’ll marry her, if that’s what she wants. 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?”


10 Thoughts on “Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

  1. So many people have loved this one, I am so glad you really enjoyed it as well!

  2. Jillyn on 3 March, 2015 at 10:11 am said:

    Great review. This ended up being one of my favorite books of all time, but it mentally destroyed me when I read it. I was a sobbing hot mess and I wasn’t over my feelings for a longer time than I’d like to admit.

    • Jillyn, I totally get it. There were times throughout the story were I was a lil bored and felt the story slowing down. However, that ending crushed me. I still think about it and I read the book a month ago.

  3. Braine on 3 March, 2015 at 3:55 pm said:

    Sounds powerful and very realistic. What happened in the end???

  4. I like books that leave me conflicted. I want to feel all those emotions, even bad ones.

  5. Great review, Kristin. I felt the same way about this book. Yet, despite the fact that I know it’s wrong, taboo, unnatural, etc… I couldn’t help rooting for them while I read it. Even though I was thinking that I shouldn’t. This book did absolutely break my heart too.

  6. I actually really want to read this book. I read an excerpt from this book and it had me snagged. I really want to know how these teens go around dealing with this romance they seem to have for each other and how the story ends. I am curious. Also, I didn’t know about Lochan’s speech problem, so that puts another spin on the story.

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