Aly in Wonderland


Forbidden - Tabitha Suzuma Read more reviews at The Beautiful World of Books!

“You can close your eyes to the things you do not want to see, but you cannot close your heart to the things you do not want to feel.”

It's been over a year since I read this book and although I feel prepared to now write one, it's still a tough book to review.

Initially, I gave it a three stars. Considering I follow the GR rating system literally and three stars means 'liked it', it was fitting. However, after careful consideration, I gave it four stars because although I didn't 'really like it', it deserves a higher rating.

Before continuing, I would like to say that I highly doubt Ms Suzuma was trying to sell the idea of incest to readers, or even romanticising incest. It's a twisted love story, one of survival and growing up, one that is so believable, it will give you goosebumps.

I went into this book with an open mind. After reading several YA stories where incest is romanticised *coughCityofBonescough*, I gave this one a shot. The blurb clearly states it won't have a happy ending, so if you're going into reading this thinking it will, you're wrong and I suggest you look elsewhere.

Maya and Lochan are best friends, soul mates, the love of each other's lives. They're inseparable and know each better than anyone. They're the epitome of a perfect couple... with a twist.

They're siblings.

Growing up in a dysfunctional home with a mother who could care less, Lochan and Maya rely on each other to look after their younger siblings. They're a tight knit family, and they love each other dearly.

This book ripped me to shreds. I have never cried this much when reading a book (with maybe the exception of My Sister's Keeper) and I felt emotionally drained for days after reading it. So drained, in fact, that it's taken me a year to write a review and even now I can't find the right words.

This is not a book about accepting incest. It's not a book about accepting what life throws at you and going with the flow. It's about two people trying their hardest to survive and depending on each other too much, to the point of falling in love. In today's society, incest is not only illegal but regarded with disgust and horror and I won't lie, I felt horrified and disgusted whilst reading Forbidden. It's a very visual book and Suzuma goes all out with her scenes.

With the way it was written though, you can almost forget they're brother and sister. Suzuma's writing is lyrical and poetic without coming across as pretentious and snooty. She did an incredibly job with portraying life in Lochan's and Maya's household. It comes to the point where you feel so sick and sorry for those poor kids, you just beg for a happy ending.

Newsflash: this shit happens, more often than you realise. When a paternal figure disappears from the picture and children rely on each other too much, it happens. In the UK alone, there have been over a 1000 reported cases of incest in the past two to three years. 95% of these cases, the children were from a highly dysfunctional family and didn't realise what they were doing was wrong. The difference between these kids and Maya and Lochan is that the latter knew what they were doing and knew that it was wrong but didn't know how to stop.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I'm going to say one last thing before leaving. This is a beautifully written story about love and heartbreak. It doesn't have a happy ending and it might tear you to shreds like it did me. It's not a book for everyone's taste, but it's a book I'd recommend to anyone who is willing to be open minded about it.

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