Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Young Adult
Hardcover, 454 pgs.
Published June 28th, 2011 by Simon Pulse
Source: Library

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

This was one of those books that I needed a bit of coaxing to actually read.  I think most everyone says that though and most end up absolutely loving the book.  First of all I’ll say that I’m glad I read the book.  But I’m not exactly sure what I think of it.  I kind of feel all kinds of turmoil inside me.  It’s well wrote and I think it’s an important story to be told as far as the neglect and abuse that these kids go through, and if it was just about that, their story of survival without the falling in love and incest part I would definitely say it’s one everyone should read.  But this book has more descriptions then I’m really comfortable with.  I haven’t read many YA that has the sexual encounter descriptions that this one has included.  It’s enough that I wouldn’t want my child to read it {please note that I firmly believe every child is at their own level of reading and saying no teen should read it is wrong, I’m just stating that it’s better for the more mature reader and the parents should take this in consideration}.   

I don’t know what to say… this is such a hard review!  I just feel so torn.  I honestly have no idea of this is a 3 star book or a 4 star book.  My feelings are all mixed up.  I guess that it’s good that the author was able to do that, to really make us think.  But I think it’s hard for me to get past what made me uncomfortable.  And I think I was most uncomfortable because I found myself rooting for them.  Like I wanted things to be okay.  For them to be together.  But then I had this voice saying that it’s wrong, so wrong!  But I really felt like the story of them as a family, with a mother that was an alcoholic and completely absent, with the little kids that were sad and confused and the older kids having to deal with everything on their own, to take on so much responsibility, all that was such a great story.  I liked that Lochan had these issues of speaking in public, or even just speaking with his peers at all was an issue he had to deal with.  He seemed like a good kid and I just really wanted things to work out for him.  But when him and Maya are together I just felt so terrified.  Like waiting for a bomb to go off.  I knew nothing good could come of it but at the same time I desperately wanted their happiness.

The end of the book wrecked me.  I felt a lot of frustration with it even though I was warned that it’s not easy, that it’s not some HEA for them, but I guess I’m a sucker for HEA’s and this one just kind of made me angry.  Yeah, it’s kept real, like obviously a HEA isn’t realistic, but still, it’s just so so hard.

Okay, so I guess I’m going to go ahead and give this 4/5 stars.  It really was a good read.  And any issues I had really were personal issues. 

Thanks for subscribing!


  1. I, too, was conflicted as I read this story. In the end I decided that I loved it, because it’s the ultimate reading experience. You’re angry, you’re frightened, you’re sad, you’re feeling whatever these characters are feeling.

  2. Yay, I’m so glad that you gave this one a chance that that you tried to keep an open mind while reading it.

    Everything about this book is perfect in my eyes. I have no problem with the incest in this book and I feel the book is something people should read about. So many people judge this one before they get the chance to even read it. If you want to judge it after you read it then go for it but not before.

    I actually had a friend read this one and she said it was so difficult and heartbreaking but it was one of the best books she has ever read! I feel the same way, this one just blew me out of the water and I can’t wait for more books from Tabitha.

    Thank you, thank you for giving this one a try even if you didn’t love it in the end. :)

  3. “But when him and Maya are together I just felt so terrified. Like waiting for a bomb to go off. I knew nothing good could come of it but at the same time I desperately wanted their happiness.”

    I know that exact feeling! I’ve read a couple books where I have such anxiety while reading that I practically give myself a stress-induced ulcer:) I both really want to read this one and also don’t because I’m a HEA kind of girl, and that clearly is not something that happens here. I’m all nervous just reading your review!

  4. It’s hard to read books outside of our comfort zone. But at the same time, it opens up conversations we might not have had otherwise, right? Good for you for seeing it through, and giving your honest interpretation of this book. Forbidden has actually been on my wishlist for a while, even after having read so many conflicting reviews. (And I definitely am a HEA kind of girl too!)Nice job Candace:)

  5. Wow…kudos to you for being brave enough to read this one and write such an honest review (that’s why I love your blog). I know that I couldn’t pick up a book like this…I sometimes feel like I am bawling through every other book that I read and I just know that this one…would absolutely break my heart.


  6. There were things that I did and didn’t like about this one as well. It was hard for me to get behind their relationship and cheer for it. But I definitely didn’t want things to go as badly for them as what happened. So I guess it succeeded in making me question HOW bad it really was, you know?

    Great review!

  7. I loved this book so much, but I can completely understand having mixed feelings about it. It is uncomfortably detailed and the subject is hard any way you look at it. I still just wanted them to be together. It even makes me kind of uncomfortable to think back on how much I wanted them to be together. But I did!! Lol The ending destroyed me. I wasn’t expecting it. Overall I just really loved how many things this book made me feel.

    I’m on my phone so I really hope this comment goes through. =

  8. Oh now I must read it to know about this ending. I’ve had it on my TBR list forever but never got around to it. I love a book with a shocking ending it really makes it stand out and memorable I find.

  9. I know what you mean, Candace. It’s enough that a brother and sister fall in love, but to add such detailed descriptions to their sexual encounter made the story not only cross the line but leave it miles behind. It was uncomfortable, and totally not YA. I read the book and immediately wondered who the intended audience was supposed to be.

  10. This book destroyed me, it tore me up inside. That’s the only way I can describe how it made me feel. I bought the book because I couldn’t not own it, but I highly doubt that I’ll ever reread it.

    I was able to ask Tabitha some questions and it made me feel slightly better about the book–>

    I don’t know, I to was totally confused about this book. I ugly cried at the end of this book. Like ugly cried.

  11. This was such a hard book to read, and a hard book to review, too. The ending was absolutely brutal…I’m not sure it really could have ended any other way, but still. Hard to take, although I loved it because the author was wrote about emotions in such an honest and believable way.

    I agree that I’m unsure whether it should be classified as YA, though.

  12. Wow this book sounds surreal! It has uniqueness because I’ve never heard anyone put incest into words in a book before and it would be interesting to read how this author has interpreted it.

  13. Great review! I understand what you mean, even though I haven’t read it. I read a similar book a while back that managed to make you root for something that you know ‘should’ be wrong, but feels so right when reading. I can’t wait to read it. I’m so curious to see how it handles the incest part. o: I’m glad you enjoyed it, even if not as much as many others I’ve seen! But I get it’s hard when that uncomfortable thought hangs over your head. ;o

  14. Oy! I SO need to read this one!! I have a copy & have been meaning to read it for ages now, but never seem to have the time. It looks so incredibly complex and intricate and amazing and painful and just… ya. All that.

    I haven’t read a book that left me this conflicted in a really long time, so maybe I’m due up for one!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge