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Teen Picks: “Forbidden” By Tabitha Suzuma

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

What was it about? After getting a divorce Maya and Lochan’s parents seemed to forget that they had ever had children. Their father moved to Australia to start his own new, more perfect family while their mother turned to alcohol and partying in a last ditch effort to hold onto her fading youth. As the oldest in the house Maya and Lochan are forced to take on the role of parents, including all of the stress that goes along with it. Slowly breaking down under the pressure of taking care of their three younger siblings and juggling school as well, they find that the only people they really connect with and find comfort in are each other. And not just in a sibling type way. As Lochan and Maya begin to realize that they are in love they struggle to decide if society is right in thinking that relationships like theirs are vile and repulsive or if all that matters is that they make each other feel happy and fulfilled. One thing they know for sure though, is that every day their fragile world threatens to come crashing down on them.

What did you think of it and why did you pick it up? I know that I am constantly saying that summaries are really hard for me to write because I need to work on my technical writing but this time I’m serious. I actually had to read an entire other book and wait a day before I could even attempt to try and continue writing it. It’s because this book is complex. Alright, maybe the book isn’t terribly complex, it’s not science fiction or anything, but the SITUATION is complex. I mean, how do you tell someone about the incest book you just read without sounding like some kind of weirdo, not to mention the fact that I actually have two brothers? I read this because it sounded intriguing and I had never read an incest novel. Honestly though, I’m not even sure this book was entirely geared towards teenagers. If you just changed the characters ages by seven years or so (they’re 17/18) it would be perfect for someone in their thirties. It has all of the melodrama of a soap opera and all of the overdramatized passion of a steamy romance novel. Forbidden definitely isn’t for everyone.

Don’t get me wrong here; I’m giving this book four stars for a reason. I truly did like it, for as much as I seem to be bagging on it. Maybe even part of me loved it, or at least respected how the topic was handled. The author, Tabitha Suzuma, had the sense to not start into the romance until the reader had gotten used to how close Maya and Lochan’s family had to be because of their negligent mother. Seriously, these kids actually had to PLEAD with their mother for money to pay the rent and put food on the table. Most of the time she was pretending to be in her twenties again by disappearing with her boyfriend, nine years her junior. And when the romance between Maya and Lochan did start Suzuma didn’t try to have that take over the book. She obviously took a lot of time to consider the conflicting feelings someone would feel in that situation and more than that, the feelings a reader would have while reading about incest. The characters didn’t accept their relationship right away which was great! People take time to adjust and Suzuma respected that.

I also liked the fact that this novel made me think. It forced me to form my own opinions on what I think of incest and the laws telling people who they can and can’t marry. Not all people like stuff that questions something they find taboo which I suppose is okay but I believe we should all try to open our eyes a bit more. Finally, the ending, my god the ending was just…impeccable. Utterly heart-breaking and unexpected but definitely something that will stick in your mind for a while. I can’t even imagine loving someone as much as Lochan must have to do what he did. Tears came to my eyes and I probably would have cried harder if I hadn’t been so shocked.

But there were flaws. First of all, Lochan and Maya’s different POV’s sounded very similar. The way they thought made it seem like Suzuma tried so hard to convey the emotions they were having at every moment that they didn’t even seem realistic anymore. No one REALLY thinks like that, do they? The reason why teens like John Green’s novels so much is because he is able to write about the way teenager’s feel without trying to overdo their emotions. Suzuma didn’t really accomplish this. Another problem that occurred because of this was that the scenes in which Lochan and Maya were kissing and such seemed overdramatized. I get it, they had a relationship that was raw and passionate and utterly amazing. That is great. I hope someday I’ll love someone like that (except, you know, without the incest…) But, it too was slightly extreme. Some people LOVE flowery writing like this. I won’t lie, I do too occasionally. I write poems and that’s about as flowery as it gets and I’m sure that makes me a huge hypocrite.

Overall, this is a book worth reading. Over time you begin to forget about the flaws and see that despite being overwritten, it’s a great read. Keep in mind though, you have to discern for yourself whether or not you are ready to read about a mature subject and handle it in a mature way. Forbidden isn’t for everyone but I certainly enjoyed it.

Star Rating:  It was really good. I’ve already told my friends about it.

I would suggest this for: Mature teenagers looking for a novel that is intriguing and a bit off the beaten path.

Review by: Lauren B.

Thanks for the review, Lauren!

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