Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.
I saw this book circulating on a few blogs a while ago and I knew I had to read it. It sounded dark, twisted, heartbreaking and controversial– definitely something I would be interested in! This book deals with the extremely taboo subject of incest. This book took an issue that I consider to be very black and white, and made it all murky and gray. Let me be clear: while I was definitely disturbed by the subject matter, the author handled Maya and Lochan’s relationship with such sensitivity and thoroughness that I understood how they got there. I didn’t agree with it, but the wrongness of their relationship didn’t make it any less heartbreaking. We grow to care about two very broken people, and watch as their relationship develops, knowing it can’t lead anywhere good.
Being together, we harm nobody; being apart, we extinguish ourselves.
The book is told through alternating points of view so we intimately get to know Lochan and Maya. They grew up in a broken home with an absent, emotionally abusive alcoholic mother. Not only do Lochan and Maya have to be totally independent, but they also have to care for their three younger siblings. This strange family structure forces Lochan and Maya to act as parental figures as they work together to raise their family.
While I felt for Lochan, he was an extremely difficult character to read about. Between his inability to talk to anyone (other than family) without having a panic attack and his sore below his lip from constant chewing and rubbing, I could feel the tension and anxiety coming off of the pages. Poor Lochan, he really struggled in this story. All he wanted to do was care for his family but his body and his mind were often against him. Lochan’s inability to socialize caused him to be ostracized and he was extremely lonely- the only person he cared about was his sister, Maya. She was really the only person he could be himself around. There were a few other disturbing aspects to Lochan’s character, such as his tendency to violent outbursts, that honestly made me uncomfortable to read about. Lochan is clearly a disturbed character but I couldn’t help but feel for him.
Maya has similar struggles, but seems to cope better than Lochan in some respects. She also has to play the role of mother to her three younger siblings and sometimes the only thing holding her together is Lochan’s support. Lochan is her partner in every way and he eventually becomes something more, despite how wrong both of them know it is to pursue a relationship. And that’s the thing that was so hard about this book- they knew it was wrong. They were disturbed and didn’t understand why they felt the way they did. And the sexual tension in this book was crazy, as disturbing as it may have been.
This book gave me the feels. I was angry with their mother, I was disturbed by Lochan and Maya’s relationship but I grew attached to them and also wanted them to be happy. I was frustrated and confused by Lochan’s character, and I was heartbroken by the ending. This book will take you for an emotional ride! This was certainly a heavy book to read, but I didn’t bawl my eyes out like I have in the past with other books (I’m looking at you, Colleen Hoover). However, it was absolutely heart-wrenching and I definitely needed a light book after finishing it. I highly recommend this book if you want to be challenged in your current way of thinking and if you want to see a well-thought out story on a very taboo subject.
Have you read Forbidden? What did you think?