BOOK REVIEW: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

How can something so wrong feel so right?

My synopsis: This is a story of inevitables. Abandoned by their father and neglected by their drunkard mother, seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya had no choice but to act as the parental figures to their three younger siblings. They were never just a brother and a sister to one another – they were best friends, they were soul mates. Having found no connection with other people as what they shared with each other, inevitably they become lovers. In order to protect their family, Lochan and Maya kept their relationship secret and satisfied themselves with stolen clandestine moments – until the inevitable happened leading to a chilling, heartbreaking, and unforgettable ending. 

Published in 2010

Genre: YA Contemporary, YA Romance

Themes: incest, social anxiety, family, forbidden love, boundaries, societal conventions, passion, desire, responsibility, rebellion, morality, peer pressure, parenting


I discovered this book through one of the blogs I follow here on WordPress (let me know in the comments if I follow you and you posted about this book in the past week or so…) I always like to read books with controversial topics and this one definitely fits the bill.

Admittedly I had to take a day off after reading this book – I was desperate for a lighthearted movie / book. This book left such an impression on me – a mixture of feelings, emotions, questions. And I just know for sure that this will be one of the most unforgettable books I will ever read. Still now, as I am writing this, my heart feels heavy.

And just to make it clear – I am an only child. There is no Freudian analysis that will explain why I feel so much for this book, why I read it in the first place. When I picked up this book, I picked it up like any other fictional book I’ve read – I let myself be engrossed in the world that I forget about the rules outside, the black and whites, the grays, my ideas of what’s right and what’s wrong. I forget all that – for me, all the rules are in the book. And contemporaries are difficult to read in that way, because inherently, they have the same set of rules!

I guess what I’m trying to say is, this book brought up a lot of questions on morality – and now I’m left feeling confused. What is acceptable? Why are other relationships that are potentially more hurtful to other people more acceptable than those that aren’t? Considering the history of the human race, why are things that are inherently more natural considered natural? 

Tell me I’m not alone on this. Tell me you are left questioning certain things after you’ve read a particular type of book. Tell me it’s not wrong I’m feeling.

I guess just tell me… something.

Sorry for the rambling – I just needed to take that out of my system.


Forbidden Love is an unforgettable, thought-provoking, daring, and highly realistic pyschological novel. For a novel categorized as YA, it tackles several adult themes and topics. It’s not a book that anyone can just pick up and then forget – it leaves an impression unlike any other. It’s a novel that will pull your mind and heart out, bidden or unbidden.

I wish that I can 100% say I’m glad I picked it up – the prose is excellent, the characters are so real, the plot so convincing – but no, I can’t. I just can’t. Because it isn’t a book you pick up to escape, it’s a book you pick up to delve deeper. And at the end, I delved deeper than I wanted, and a part of me got left behind. It messes with your head, and when you realize it, it’s too late to stop.

..once you take that first step, the next is a whole lot easier.

The story is told in dual perspectives: 1) Lochan who is socially anxious, painfully in love, and achingly dutiful 2) Maya who is strong, seemingly carefree, naive, and supportive. Although both characters are extremely realistic, the narrative is built too strongly towards Lochan –  his character’s depiction is painfully vivid that even Maya’s strong character is left whitewashed.

At what point do you give up – decide enough is enough? There is only one answer really. Never.

As for what happened in the end… it couldn’t have happened any other way. You can’t be deluded enough to expect a happy ending.

As a novel in itself, Forbidden Love is perfectly executed.

I’m not brave enough to recommend this to anyone. But I know someone is out there, and maybe that someone is reading this, who is brave enough, broad-minded enough, and willing enough to pick up this book.

Well, if you stayed through all that rambling, thank you so much! It was probably the hardest review I’ve had to write – but I’m glad I could share it with you.

Do you have any specific thoughts on Forbidden Love?

Has a book ever left such an impression on you, you sort of had a love-hate relationship with the book?

Sincerely Peachy (1)







8 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

  1. I read this book some months ago and I still haven’t been able to write a review about it. I really want to, so I will soon haha. But I totally agree with you, I think I can’t possibly explain it better. I’ve seen so many reviews calling it hmm gross? haha. but for me it was a bit different, I didn’t feel at all like the author was trying to promote incest The plot itself, what they had to go through, the way they were raised, I believe, definitely affected the way I saw this book. and don’t worry about questioning at the end how do we know who is right and who isn’t?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oohh I probably saw it on your wrap up or something! And thank you.. makes me feel better. Yeah, I think people were easily judging it without thinking deeply about it. I mean the main topic is incest, but I think the question is not whether incest in itself is acceptable, but whether we accept the “norms” because we ourselves determined they’re right or because other people tend to believe they’re right.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This book was quite controversial a couple years back, but I saw a few people who read it say, just like you, that it makes you think a lot about what is right and wrong and, specially, why it’s right or wrong. It left me really curious to read it for myself. And I hope to get to it someday. I really enjoyed your review, it was very honest and open about your feelings. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic review! I

    I think I’ve had this book for about 2-3 years. I discovered it through Instagram and I was very curious about it. Well… I still am curious, but after reading your review, I think I’m going to keep it in my TBR pile for a long while. I just can’t handle anything heavy right now. I’m already trying to fight stress at work and some other stuff, but kudos to you for actually finishing it. If I’ve started a book and I’m not in the mood for it, I would just set it aside for a while.

    Seems like an amazing book though!

    Liked by 1 person

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