Forbidden - Tabitha Suzuma

Title: Forbidden
Author: Tabitha Suzuma

Publisher: Definitions (Random House Children's Books)
Category: Romance
Release Date: 3rd June 2010
Source: Sent to me by Random House for review
Hardcover: 418 pages

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. Forbidden will take you on an extraordinary emotional journey. Passionate and shocking, this is a book you will remember long after you have put it down.


What a powerful book! 
When Random House sent me this book for review, I was intrigued by the subject and was eager to read it. At first, I had to read the first paragraphs quite a few times to understand what was written, but then I turned to the second page and was immediately hooked on the story. I read it in a few days and, surprisingly, found myself thinking about the story and its characters all the time.

The book is told from the perspective of both Lochan and Maya, which was extremely interesting, especially the chapters in Lochan's head, since he is a very unique character. The family is composed of Lochan and Maya, the eldests; Kit who is 13 years old and starting to hang out with the wrong crowd; Tiffin who is a hyperactive 9 year old and lovely Willa who is an adorable 5 year old. Their father left when Lochan was 12 years old, and their mother starts to progressively neglect them, leaving all the responsabilities to Lochan and Maya to raise their three younger siblings. I really loved all the characters in the book, they seem so real that I half thought this was based on a true story.

The book is beautifully written and describes with aching accuracy the raw emotions felt by Lochan and Maya when they discover they have to become parents to those three children and when they realise the feelings they have for each other go beyond brotherly feelings. Though Maya resembles many girls her own age, Lochan is a very troubled teenager who has issues communicating with people other than his family and can't talk in public. He is always studying and taking care of his family.

The intensity of their relationship is very well described throughout the book and you end up questionning yourself if their relationship is really wrong. I am remembering my Uni classes on societies where I learned that the one thing societies have in common, all societies in the world and throughout history, is the prohibition of incest (parent/child, siblings). Incest has therefore been defined as one of the very few things considered as naturally wrong (as opposed to culturally). Tabitha Suzuma's book is extremely interesting because no matter how much disgusting incest seems, you really empathise with Lochan and Maya.

There is one thing that has been bugging me a little throughout the book though, it is the constant autoanalysis of Lochan and Maya about their feelings for each other. Their relationship seems so genuine that even though I am not pro-incest (who could ever be?) I understand their perspective. Even without the autoanalysis. 
I feel that, had they lived with present and caring parents, their relationship would have stayed one between siblings. But the lack of love from either of their parents and the need to love and be loved was too strong for these two who have more or less a year of difference and always thought of themselves as partners and best friends rather than brother and sister.

Their love has a "forever" kind of feeling, which is a must in love stories. Brother and sister might bicker and dislike each other, but they will always, always love each other no matter what, and this love is stronger for Lochan and Maya.

I also liked all the details about Lochan and Maya coming up with many stories to cover their mother and keep the family together whereas they could have talked to the Social Services and have lived a regular childhood. The book is not only about an incestuous relationship between a boy and his sister, but the love between siblings. This love is very well written and will make you cry (or, like me, you just have plenty dust in your eyes while reading some chapters).

This is a beautiful and thought-provoking novel that will leave its mark on you. Incest is one of the most complex subject to write about, and Tabitha Suzuma has, for me, an incredible way of writing and creating very interesting characters. I will definitely check out her other Young Adult books!

Because of the nature of the book and some graphic scenes, this book isn't suitable for younger readers.

Thanks to the people at Random House for sending me this book !


  1. Awesome review, Caroline. I agree about the autoanalysis. And I had dust in my eyes sometimes too. ;)

  2. What a wonderful and thoughtful review of a book I found very powerful. Thanks for this!

  3. Whoa! I haven't heard of this book but your review pulled me in. I mean...WOW! Such a controversial topic, taboo topic, but wonderfully written according to your review. I have to put it on my TBR.

  4. Great review Caroline, I'm glad you enjoyed it as well :) x

  5. Great review. I didn't mind do much the over analysis. I thought it added to the realism. But then I am the sort of person who analyses everything. It's a curse *I mean gift* Lol.
    Powerful is definitely the word for this and moving. I need to know if you cried at the end?

  6. I've read a couple of reviews of this book and they all seem pretty positive. Incest would be a hard topic for me to read about, so maybe I should try it out. From what you and others have said, it is tastefully done and appropriate for the characters. Thanks for the review!

  7. Thanks everyone!! It is such a well written book, I really loved it!!

    @Lauren: it has been a very dusted week when I read the book... Evil evil dust ! :-D

    @Becky: I cried *cough* had dust in my eye at the end but more or less throughout the book in general. I empathised so much with the character of Lochan, poor little thing.

    @Kris: You definitely should try it out!! It's quite often that complex topics are overlooked just because it's easier.