It’s pretty ballsy, for an author to introduce a topic as taboo as incest and tag it Young Adult reading. But I really, really like the book because it was carefully written, even delicate.
4 stars out of 5, but I really like the book. And that in itself is an understatement, but saying I “enjoyed” the book seemed inappropriate for a topic as Forbidden = incest.
Why it’s only 4-out-of-5:
I kind of got the the idea that the title would refer to incest early into the novel, and I am the kind of reader who appreciates big reveals. Like OMG-Vader-Is-Luke’s-Father and bigger-OMG-they’re-siblings-gaaasp (not exactly a ‘reading’ reference, but you get the point). But the straightforward nature of the novel’s narrative is, I guess, helpful in how the story has to be presented, because of the sensitive nature of the subject. It also doesn’t hurt that we see a glimpse of Lochan and Maya’s first-person account of each other’s feelings, so that we fully understand the extent of their love for each other. Also, while this did nothing to hurt the novel in general, I just think that there are a little too many cliches in this book. Not that I am complaining, I think–again–that the cliches made the reading experience more comfortable, more routinary, which balanced the topic really well.
Why it’s OMG-I-love-it-so-much 4-out-of-5:
Having read Song of Ice and Fire and watching the incestuous relationship between Jamie and Cersei unfold on my screen, I have kind of downplayed the whole ‘incest’ seriousness. To me, it was something no one really does seriously and if anyone does, they’d just be a couple I would leave be. But this book made me realize the gravity of the situation, made me Google laws regarding incest, and made me understand how deeply pained and conflicted both Maya and Lochan are with their love. It posed all the right questions: was their love only a byproduct of their upbringing? Would there have been any other outcome? Could they stand defying–not societal standards, but also–the law?
And the ending, boy the ending. Suzuma was no-nonsense with how she handled the ending. It was both realistic and fantastical, satisfying both your need to know if they would love each other for the rest of their lives, and the stark reality that sometimes, things don’t go your way and you just have to make the most of what you’re given. It is where you feel both the need to curl up and cry and wait for death, but also wipe your tear-stained face and be strong, because the love you just read about was as real as anything you’ve ever felt.
So, overall, I loved the book. I soon realized that some of my friends would probably refuse to read this book–complete with my regret of what they’d miss out. But I love the book. It was gentle, tugging at my heart until I trusted it enough to actually give my heart to it, then squeezed it, slapped it, poked it with little pins and sharp razor blades, then handed it back to me telling me that that’s how my heart should look like, and I accepted it all. I wiped my tears and accepted my heart back.
Because, really, what else can I do?