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Monday, January 3, 2011

Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Title: Forbidden
Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Series: None
Pages: 418 (Paperback)

Release Date: May 27th 2010
Published by: Definitions


Sixteen-year-old Maya and seventeen-year-old Lochan have never had the chance to be 'normal' teenagers. Having pulled together for years to take care of their younger siblings while their wayward, drunken mother leaves them to fend alone, they have become much more than brother and sister. And now, they have fallen in love. But this is a love that can never be allowed, a love that will have devastating consequences ...

How can something so wrong feel so right? 


Forbidden is that kind of book that will haunt you for days after reading it. It was so engrossing. There were times that I was so absorbed into the book that I felt like the characters were alive and what I was reading was happening around me; like I could feel the struggle, the sorrow, joy, agony, anger, hope that these characters were feeling. There were even times that I found myself asking if God was real and if so, why would he let such a horrible thing happen to these people. And then I would come to my senses and had to remind myself that this was just a book and I was merely a reader. Gosh, I was so floored! So totally, freakingly FLOORED!

Maya and Lochan’s love for each other was so strong, so real, so powerful and yet, so vulnerable and fragile. I’m a very open-minded person so what they had didn’t set me off one bit. I believe that when two people are truly in love, they must not be denied of one another’s feelings or be condemned regardless of who they are or what they stand in the society. It was painful enough to see Lochan struggle through his social phobia. The only people he can talk to were the members of his family. This was one flaw he wanted so badly to get rid off. The thought of his mother and brother, Kit, being ashamed of his situation was killing him. But no matter how much they resented him, he still loved them. There was nothing he wouldn’t sacrifice for his family. Lochan was the most selfless, forgiving, and understanding character I have ever met. That, combined with the stress that the responsibilities their alcoholic and childish mother left him didn’t make things any better. And those two, combined with the complicated feelings he had with his sister was too much to bear. The worse part was, their problem didn’t stop there. Once the Social Service finds out about their family situation, they will take the kids and break their family apart.

I think what made Lochan and Maya’s relationship less uncomfortable was the fact that they never treated each other as older brother/younger sister. They’ve always considered the other as an equal to the point where they could pass as a normal couple. They’ve always been the other’s strength on his/her most vulnerable moments. More so with Maya – she was the family’s moderator; comforting everyone and filling in whatever Lochan was incapable of.

It was so sad that their story started full of problems and still, it ended with more pain and suffering. I so badly wanted them to have the happy ending they deserved. But because of that, at the end of the book, you will learn to appreciate even more the very few happy moments they had.

Forbidden was such a powerful book that it would suck you into its bubble and have you trapped there up to the very last pages. The intense roller coaster ride of emotions that it would subject you to will leave you emotionally exhausted. By the time I reached the ending, I could no longer cry. I tried to detach myself from the book, no matter how much the thought of Lochan and Maya tried to penetrate my memory. Forbidden left me that sense of complete emptiness; it was as if reading the book was only a dream. All I could do was stare at the ceiling, the floor, and the walls, searching and pondering about nothing. I was afraid that if I let myself think about them, I’d bawl my eyes out again. It wasn’t easy because the moment bed time came, I was a weeping duck. It was an endless heartbreak.

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma was truly a great read. It gave me all kinds of heartaches. I cried my heart out for Kit, Maya, Lochan and the others. It was one of the most unforgettable, painful, moving and one of the most beautiful reads of 2010 for me. I hate books with this kind of effect on me, but Forbidden was so beautifully written. I recommend this book to older teens and adults who are open-minded. It will make you cry and smile and hope and cry and many other things. But gosh, it was so worth it!

About the Author:
I was born in London in 1975 to an English mother and a Japanese father, the eldest of five children. I went to the French Lycée in South Kensington and was a terrible pupil. I hated school and refused to work and did astonishingly badly in all subjects except English. I spent a lot of my time writing with my left-hand (I'm right handed) in an attempt to while away the hours. In secondary school I would sit at the back of the class and write stories, which I got away with because my teachers thought I was taking notes. Occasionally, when the boredom got too much, I would throw my friend's shoes out of the window. Being half Japanese, I was sent to Japanese Saturday school. In the term report the teacher commented that I would make more progress if I didn't always insist on sitting with my feet up on the desk. This still remains my favourite writing position, which is why I now have a reclining chair and a cordless keyboard.

When I was fourteen, I just stopped going to school - much to my teachers' relief and my parents' anguish. I got a job as an assistant dance teacher and also worked at a centre for children with Cerebral Palsy, which was great fun. I grudgingly did a few GCSEs by correspondence course and only turned up to some of the exams. I wanted to be an actress. My mother eventually tricked me into doing A levels (I thought I was signing up for a fun evening class). My fervent wish was not to go to university. I ended up going to university many times (the first time was at 17, the last time was at 29). I graduated in French Literature from King’s College London. I did French at uni because I thought it would be easy (I spoke French because of the Lycée). It wasn't. Two weeks before my finals, I still hadn't worked out where the university library was...

After university, I taught English as a Foreign Language, worked in IT, was a freelance translator... I finally decided to become a school teacher and did a PGCE in 2000. Between 2001 and 2003 I worked as a Year 1 teacher at Long Close School in Berkshire. Having been a 'school refuser' there was a bit of irony there. But I found that I loved teaching and I was lucky enough to have the best kids in the world in my class. While I was teaching full-time, I wrote A Note of Madness (and didn't get much sleep). In 2004 I left classroom teaching and began to divide my time between writing and peripatetic teaching: giving private English tuition and also teaching at the lovely Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith. This gave me time to write From Where I Stand (a psychological thriller), followed by Without Looking Back (about a family on the run), followed by A Voice in the Distance (a sequel to A Note of Madness) and my most recent novel, Forbidden , which was by far the most controversial and difficult book I have ever written. I am currently working on my sixth novel, about euthanasia.

My own influences are wide-ranging. As a child, my favourite author was Joan Aiken. As a teenager, I particularly enjoyed reading books by K.M. Peyton, S.E. Hinton and Lois Duncan. These days my favourite books are : An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison, The Pursuit of Happiness by Douglas Kennedy, Prozac Nation and More, Now, Again by Elizabeth Wurtzel, We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, The Hours by Michael Cunningham and The Disappearing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell. My favourite teen fiction books are: I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon, Say Goodnight, Gracie by Julie Reece Deaver and Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy. I love classical music, especially Rachmaninov and Mozart. My favourite films are The Hours and Amadeus.

Visit the Author: Goodreads / Website / Facebook 

Mithee <3



Anonymous said...

Thank you for a great post. You convinced me :). I've just popped over to Amazon and bought the Kindle version :)

Elodie said...

Thanks for this great review !!! I like the cover of this book even if it's quite simple !! I'm a new follower !! Thanks for entering my giveaway =)
Happy reading Lynossa ;)

Elodie said...

Sorry I had not seen that this was the blog of three persons !! Thanks for this review Mithee !! I'm your latest follower =)

germaine.dulac said...

I'd heard about Forbidden and how controversial it was, but I've also read some great reviews (including yours!) that have been very positive. I'm not usually into books that make me cry, but I hear such good things about Suzuma's writing that I think this is definitely one to check out!

StefanieEmmy said...

Great review! I read this book back in October and couldn't put it down. My feelings concerning the relationsship between Maya and Lochan were (and are) very controversial - during reading I always hoped they would somehow find a way to be together although at the same time I knew there simply IS no way. you summed that up quite well :)

Michelle Flick said...

I'm not sure about the book but your review itself was enthralling and i felt for you for feeling for them! Great review...I may not have picked this up without this review!

Vicky said...

I read this book not so long ago and loved it! Great review, you described exactly what I felt while reading it!

Judy said...

This is a new author to me. The book really looks like I would enjoy it. Thanks, I will check it out!!


Bella said...

Wow - you have had a dramatic life so far! So much you have accomplished!

Good review -- I love books that pull me in and affect me so deeply. I'll check this one out. :)



TrueOrFalse said...

Hmm... this is certainly an interesting topic. And I think it was courageous of the author to tackle it. It's the kind of book I normally wouldn't pick up but your review has put it on my to-read list. Thanks!

Truth Be Told Blog said...

You wrote a great review. It sounds like an interesting book but I'll have to read a couple more reviews before I fully decide. Thanks for the info :)

H said...

Great review!I cannot believe it's being released in June this year even though I think it has already been released in England. I just bought a used copy :)

Unknown said...

New author! Thanks for this post definetly goiung to read this book now and put it on my TBR pile... thanks! :)

Elisquared said...

This review was so heartfelt and powerful that I was blown away. I've wanted to read this book as soon as I heard about it, but I was so torn. Was it really something I could handle. With your review I know that it will be an intense read, but well worth it, so thank you!


Lisa said...

Great review!! I've just received this from Net Galley and am so excited to read it! I've been hearing great things from everyone :)

Nikita said...

Thank you for the great review! It sounds interesting and I want to read it. :) And the cover is nice too. :)

Nikita -- bookworm.nikita@gmail.com

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