Forbidden, by Tabitha Suzuma
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: ✮✮✮ + ½
I wipe my cheeks and turn my head to look up at him. “We haven’t done anything wrong! How can love like this be called terrible when we’re not hurting anyone?”
He gazes down at me, his eyes glistening in the weak light. “I don’t know,” he whispers. “How can something so wrong feel so right?”
This is a hard book to review. It’s definitely the dark, emotional book I expected, yet at the same time I feel a little…disappointed.
This is not a book that promotes incest. Lochan and Maya’s narrations are unreliable; trusting them would be like trusting that of a serial killer. What this is, is the story of two siblings who were neglected by their mother and forced to raise their younger siblings by themselves, or otherwise have their family broken apart, and because they are so detached from everyone outside of their home, they can really only rely on each other for support. This pushes them together, and their emotional relationship turns physical. Though their story is heartbreaking and you feel sympathetic towards them, that does not justify incest in the least.
I especially felt sympathetic towards Lochan, who is so socially crippled that he can’t even participate in class. He doesn’t have any friends besides his family. He’s juggling school, social anxiety, and is forced to become a father at the age of seventeen to three siblings that, though he loves, annoy him and put him at wits end. His struggles hit me hard.
Even though I’m surrounded by pupils, there is this invisible screen between us, and behind the glass wall I am screaming—screaming in my own silence, screaming to be noticed, to be befriended, to be liked.
I was also found of Kit, Lochan and Maya’s thirteen-year-old brother. He’s this nasty kid at the start, always picking fights, using coarse words in front of a five-year-old, smoking weed, and deliberately disobeying his older brother just to make him mad—but towards the end he becomes the brother that everyone had been missing, and his relationship with Lochan grows and starts to mend. It’s understandable where he’s coming from; he’s stuck between being a kid and an adult, trapped in a confusing world where he understands all of the shit that is in his life and yet can do nothing to change it.
What kind of disappointed me was that I had high expectations, and this book didn’t quite reach them. Basically, I expected to cry, and I didn’t. I was ready to burst into tears at any possible moment—at the library, at my favorite restaurant, on the bus—but it never happened. Oh, it’ll make you want to curl up and die at some points, and my heart definitely broke a couple of times, but I wanted it to make me cry. The ending is absolutely horrifying, but I didn’t shed a single tear. I don’t know whether to be disappointed in myself for being a heartless wrench, or just blame it on the book. I’ll say the former.