How many times in the past couple of years have you heard about the ‘forbidden love story’? Speaking for myself, zillions. Every YA fiction that’s coming out is apparently about a forbidden love story. Mostly it’s all the paranormals. Vampire- human, werewolf – human, angel – human, slayer – vampire blah blah blah. It’s all about people who are not meant to be together AT ALL, yet by some glitch of fate (or the brain) they end up bonkers in love with each other. It’s all life and death situations, ooh scary! Scary! Scary!
And, now, how many times did it actually feel forbidden?
Sometimes, yeah, it did...when you had contingents of vampires and werewolves breathing down your back...and the non-human guy battling his guilt yadda yadda.
Thing is, almost all of these were urban fantasies, so I maybe it didn’t feel as forbidden to me as perhaps a forbidden love story in the contemporary world might feel like.
Like this one.
Like Tabitha Suzuma’s Forbidden. Because this one makes you feel the full impact of the word 'forbidden.'
Summary: 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.
I have read books about incest, but they were either about one member of the family being raped or sexually assaulted by another or if it was consensual, the relationship was between distant relatives who’ve never met each other before.
This is different.
This is about a brother and sister who’ve grown up together. Who’ve been like surrogate parents to their younger siblings in place of their missing father and their alcoholic mother. Who’ve managed the household entirely on their own. Who’ve been best friends and partners and equals. Who’ve always been there for each other.
And then, they fall in love.
It was impossible to read this book in a single sitting. Not because I wanted to put it down, but because I had to put it down at certain intervals. I was compelled to do so. It was so overwhelming with emotion and tension, it left me breathless.
Forbidden is told in dual PoVs – Lochan’s and Maya’s. While Maya’s shows most of the action, Lochan’s is more internal, more about his mental state –and it left me reeling, reeling under the sheer power of the prose.
This isn’t a sensationalized love story. It’s just so very real, with so many emotions – guilt, despair, elation, helplessness, euphoria – sometimes it’s claustrophobic, but all the while it’s something you can’t stop reading. Something you can’t get over thinking about.
See, I like books that offer me escapism (I think that’s an important reason why we read) but I love books that make me think. That put me through hard realities and make me feel both scared and powerful. It’s very cathartic.
And this book, made me go through every kind of emotion that’s known in this world, perhaps. My heart was hammering the whole while, because I was so scared for Maya and Lochan. Because I couldn’t imagine what would happen if they were caught.
Tabitha Suzuma takes an extremely taboo subject, goes beyond the bounds of conventional storytelling, beyond the boundaries of Young Adult fiction, and creates a novel that explodes in your mind, takes you on a journey and leaves an unforgettable impact on you.
It frightened me.
It thrilled me.
And it made me fall in love.
Forbidden is a devastatingly beautiful story, one that shattered me…and left me with hope. This is a book of immense power.
I urge you to read it.
(You can read an excerpt here.)