Sunday, 20 March 2011

Review- Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

This book won't be for everyone. The taboo subject of incest will surely result in some people refusing to even pick up the book. I can honestly say that I have never ever read anything like it, it was an emotional roller coaster of a book I cried, in fact I sobbed three times reading it. Despite the difficult subject matter it was not a difficult read for me as it was so well written. This is no ordinary YA book.

The book centres on brother and sister Lochan and Maya who at a young age have been forced to take on the role of surrogate parents to their three younger siblings as their father moves to Australia after remarrying and their feckless and utterly deplorable mother abandons them preferring to relive her youth with a younger man and slides into alcoholism.

Lochan aged 17, has basically brought the family up since the age of 13 juggling school with being a full time parent with all the heartache and stress that this involves. Some of the most heartbreaking moments in the book for me involved the simple things- Lochan trying to make ends meet, pay the bills and feed the children whilst the mother spends the money on socialising and "forgets" to leave them money for Asda. He also has to help the younger children with their homework and tries to ensure their threadbare school uniforms are clean for the next day at school. These parts were so convincing that my heart ached for the family especially Lachan who shouldered the responsibility in an attempt to make a "normal" life for his younger siblings.

To me, the story wasn't just about a brother and sister who were best friends and soul mates who then happened to fall in love (I didn't at any point feel disgusted by this it was handled so well), there was also the very powerful and often gut wrenching parts about Lachan's insecurities and extreme shyness which resulted in full blown crippling panic attacks which were so realistic I could feel my own heart racing. As the story of Lachan and Maya unfolds their fear of being discovered which they know would result in the children being taken into care and the need to remain under the radar of social services at all times results in more and more pressure for Lachan which leads him at times to question his own mental health. This was handled so sensitively and was so completely realistic- there is no YA frothy self doubt in this book at all.

Like many other people who have picked up this book I don't know if I could read it again but I genuinely believe that I will never forget this story it was unique, it was beautifully written and was an amazingly powerful read.

Five stars doesn't honestly do it justice.

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