Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Tags: YA, contemporary, incest, love, family


Lochan and Maya are brother and sister, but they are much more than that as well. They are parents to their three younger siblings in place of their flighty and immature mother. Lochan has crippling social anxiety and cannot be himself with anyone other than Maya. They are also each other’s best friends and soulmates…but then they fall in love.

Their love feels to them natural and inevitable, but Lochan and Maya live in fear of others finding out. Will the rest of the world realize how wonderful their relationship is, or will they only think that it is disgusting and forbidden?


There has never been a book like FORBIDDEN in YA literature, and I can guarantee that there will never be one like it again. For Tabitha Suzuma has written an unconventional love story so powerful it will suck you under, suffocate you, and force you to rethink all that you thought about love and relationships.

Perhaps the most accomplished thing about FORBIDDEN is just how utterly deftly Tabitha Suzuma develops Lochan and Maya’s world and relationship. Here we have characters with a wide range of ages and maturity, and each one of them is fully fleshed out, so that we can both love and hate them at the same time. The mother is horrifying un-maternal, but not just in a way that conveniently lets the romance fall into place: her treatment of her children clearly has a great impact on Lochan and Maya’s closeness. Each of their siblings have their own personalities and issues, and you can’t help but be invested in all of their well-beings.

Everything feels just a little bit over the top—and yet, at the same time, nothing does. Lochan tends to always act like he’s on the verge of breaking down, which can get a little repetitive, and he and Maya can often act pretty dramatic for an already shocking story premise. Still, despite individual characters’ dramatic tendencies, and even the drama associated with the premise and conclusion, FORBIDDEN unfolds in a way that seems inevitable in the best and most natural way. You can’t help yourself when you root for Lochan and Maya—and you shouldn’t even feel bad for doing so, because if there’s any YA couple that has had to go through hell and sky-high obstacles, it’s this one.

FORBIDDEN is an enthralling read for those who like their contemporary YA deliberate, and can cherish the unconventional romance. It was an incredible read for me, and I hope it is so for you too.

Simon Pulse / June 28, 2011 / Hardcover / 464pp. / $17.99

Personal copy.

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