I have had this book sitting on my bookshelf for well over a year. I am drawn to taboo/controversial books that deal with forbidden love stories, but I knew that this one was going to be quite different from the other books that I’ve read in this genre. The topic of a brother and sister romance is definitely not something that I have read before – they’re not step-siblings, the characters in Forbidden are blood relatives.
The author has taken a taboo subject (incest), and has written a beautiful, sensitive, heartfelt story about a love that is as honest and as real as any love story out there. The chapters in the book alternate from the brother’s perspective to the sister’s. This gives the reader an insight into what is actually going on in their thoughts and their minds.
Lochan and Maya Whitely are only thirteen months apart in age. They grew up being more like best friends than siblings. They were forced to grow up faster than most children. Their father left them, remarried, and began a new family. Their mother was an alcoholic who was more interested in recapturing her youth than being a responsible parent. This put the all of the responsibility of raising their three other siblings on Lochan and Maya. Their schedule consisted of taking care of the kids, taking care of the house, making meals, attending high school, and doing homework. They essentially played the roles of mother and father to their brothers and sister.
When they finally confessed their growing romantic feelings for each other, they both knew that it was wrong. They knew that society would condemn them for loving each other. But despite knowing that their love was wrong, it felt so right. They felt like soul mates who were destined to be together. Lochan and Maya knew that they would have to hide their feelings for one another until they were adults, the children were grown, and they could move away. But of course they had difficulty stifling their emotions and need for one another.
I’m not going to get into all of the details of the story. Tabitha Suzuma has done a fantastic job of writing this story and creating characters that you immediately care about. It was impossible not to feel for their situation. Sure, the idea of incest is cringe-worthy, but the way she described the relationship between Lochan and Maya, she almost made is seem perfectly natural. I wasn’t sure how a love story like this would end, but I can honestly say that I didn’t expect it to all turn out the way that it did. This is an emotional, heartbreaking, and devastating love story.