4 (63,669 ratings by Goodreads)
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She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed.
He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future.
And now they have fallen in love.

But . . .
They are brother and sister.

Forbidden will take you on an extraordinary emotional journey. Passionate and shocking, this is a book you will remember long after you have put it down.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 432 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 27mm | 298g
  • Definitions
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • None
  • 1862308160
  • 9781862308169
  • 46,231

Review Text

A harrowingly tragic story . . . Suzuma's writing is compelling and its quality beyond question but there will be many (and not just those in the "young adult" category) who will be genuinely shocked by what they are reading here
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Review quote

A complex novel that succeeds in exploring the controversial subject of sibling incest without sensation . . . A chilling, powerfully written tale with lasting effects for both teenage and adult readers -- Jake Hope * The Bookseller * It is sensitively written (with one quite graphic sex scene), and alternating chapters from the protagonists' point of view lets the reader get inside their heads. Recommended for very mature readers * Inis * The reader is immediately involved -- Lesley Martin * School Library Association * A harrowingly tragic story . . . Suzuma's writing is compelling and its quality beyond question but there will be many (and not just those in the "young adult" category) who will be genuinely shocked by what they are reading here -- Robert Dunbar * The Irish Times * The novel's surprises continue to the very end -- Hazel Rochman * Booklist USA *
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About Tabitha Suzuma

Tabitha Suzuma was born in 1975 and lives in London. She has always loved writing and would regularly get into trouble at the French Lycee for writing stories instead of listening in class. She used to work as a primary school teacher and now divides her time between writing and tutoring. Her first novel, A Note of Madness, was published to great critical acclaim.
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Rating details

63,669 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 43% (27,280)
4 30% (18,949)
3 16% (10,414)
2 7% (4,364)
1 4% (2,662)

Our customer reviews

Disgusting... Shocking... Disturbing... Unnatural... people might label a book about incest, a book like FORBIDDEN. I would have done the same, if I hadn't read it myself. I expected the worst and got the best and heartfelt book I could imagine when thinking of books that deal with taboo topics like incest. This book IS shocking, but in an intense and good way. Being different... In FORBIDDEN we meet the Whitley family, consiting of the children Lochan, Maya, Kit, Tiffin and Willa. Lochan is the troubled, but brilliant big brother, Maya, the brave and strong older sister. Abandoned by their mother they care for their siblings Kit, gang member, always angry and aggressive, Tiffin, the hyperactive and Willa, the youngest and most in need of care and affection. Every single character highly contributes to this novel's uniqueness. What shouldn't be said: "I love you" When I first read the summary of FORBIDDEN I imagined the two protagonists wouldn't know each other. I thought of their first meeting, them falling in love only to discover that they are brother and sister. I was shocked when I realised that they knew about being brother and sister when they fell in love! But their love is so not about being rebellious or provocative, it's all about the circumstances their love develops in. They both care for three siblings and a constantly drunk mother (I could strangle that woman! A monther abandoning their family made me sad and so angry.How can a mother be that careless about her beautiful children?) so they are kind of forced into threir role as parents- mother and father, husband and wife- lovers. Maya and Lochan give each other the feelings of affection und support that are constantly missing in their lives. Something wrong feels so right... I am always a fan of love stories and reading romantic and steamy scenes. But I shouldn't be a fan of brother and sister falling in love, right? They are supposed to stay away from each other and I couldn't help but hope for them to get together, for their love to have a chance, a future. The whole time I knew I shouldn't cheer on their love, I shouldn't want them to touch, kiss or be together, but I DID. If you decide to read FORBIDDEN you have to expect many love and sexual interactions. Suzuma gives us a lot of delicate details without degrading their love or turning their feelings into something disgusting or dirty. Their feelings are natural and therefore they deserve to be written about in detail. Again I craved for more, although I shouldn't! "You can close your eyes to the things you do not want to see,but you cannot close your heart to the things you do not want to feel."~Anonymous Every tiny detail makes this novel perfect, what really touched me and connected me even further with the story was its initial quote. The dual point of view, alternating between Lochan and Maya is the best Suzuma could have applied to tell their love story. Their voices are so unique and touching, fitting perfectly together to tell one of the most tragic love stories of all time. This story is supported by a rich, complex and vivid language that adjusts to each situation like a chameleon, always highlighting each scene's highest potential. Suzuma has a talent for catching a mood and describing an atmosphere. Her language and writing is the rope that's tying you to the swaying boat of FORBIDDEN's story during a storm of emotions and impressions. Tabitha Suzuma shows there's much more behind a term like incest, such labels created by society. There are humans, individuals with feelings like love, passion, shame and fear. What I consider brave is that Suzuma also included a part of herself, of her past in the story of FORBIDDEN and so made it an even more personal and touching read. In an interview with Absolute Vanilla Suzuma tells us that Lochan and Maya's abusive and destructive mother was "in part [influenced] by [her] late father, who was physically absusive towards [her] when [she] was a child and rarely showed affection." A constant named fear... Fear is a constant in FORBIDDEN, the individual fear of social interaction, the shared of being discovered and the overall fear of being rejected as social outcast. The fear of interacting with or meeting new people has always been a part of Lochan. But as much his life is ruled by the fear of being confronted by society, I see that he makes a confronting move himself. By starting the illegal relationship with his sister he only increases the potential of being involved in social conflicts. So his love with Maya might be his only way to get in contact with society. And the character that appeared so troubled and afraid might be stronger than anybody thought. Beside the incestuous relationship between Lochan and Maya, we have to face other domestic problems and conflicts. Be prepared for various social and individual issues since this novel is highly about the difficulties of being a part of a family or society. "These violent delights have violent ends." ~Shakespeare Now that I finished FORBIDDEN( after two sleepless nights, crowded with thoughts) I will miss the characters so much. I know that words are not enough to desccribe what deep impact FORBIDDEN had on me and my feelings towards certain topics and opinions. Tabitha Suzuma made me realise that nobody should be judged by their feelings. I couldn't stand the end, it killed me and made me sob badly. I cried a lot in the end, because this novel touched me so deeply it made my heart ache and left my thoughts constantly spiraling around this utterly sad love story. It's a tragedy! FORBIDDEN twisted my insides, wrenched them out only to dry my steady flowing tears with them! I never thought I'd like a story about incest, a taboo topic, that much. And I am in love with it, although I shouldn't! Of course I can understand that some readers don't want to read a story about incest, but I think it's really important to take the FORBIDDEN adventure and learn that feelings do not always equal society's expectations and that there is more than labels like right or wrong to loving a person. I highly encourage everyone to give Tabitha Suzuma's fantastic work a chance! THE VERDICT One of the best books I've read so far! The setting, shockingly realistic characters and the glue-like atmosphere held me in a tight grip and didn't release me till the last page was turned. I never expected to be that touched. FORBIDDEN might not be an easy novel, but it should definitely find a reader in you!show more
by MissPageTurner
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 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. First of all: If you just read that description and was put off by the whole brother and sister romance thing, please keep reading. It truly is an amazing book, written in a way that makes you unsure of why incest is such a taboo subject. Of course, there's the fact that you have a big chance of having disabled children, but I personally think that you should be allowed to love whoever you want to love, and be in a relationship with them as long as the other person wants it too. Enough of my opinion on all that stuff, let's talk about the book! Forbidden is told in alternating perspectives from Lochan and Maya. Sometimes it was hard to remember whose perspective I was reading, and I found myself flipping back to the first page of the chapter to remind myself. I like my characters to be written realistically and interesting, and all of the characters in this book were like that. I loved the little siblings-Kit, Tiffin, and Willa-and of course, the two main characters. Their mother was awful. Not badly written, but she was just... a terrible person. I liked the way Lochan thought about Maya. Not in a Oh I Love You Let's Be Together Forever And Stuff kind of way. He always knew that it was 'wrong' what they were doing and feeling. He was my favourite character, because he was the most developed one in the book. He has extreme social anxiety: he can't talk to anyone except for the people in his family, and he has severe flaws, which makes him more realistic and likeable. I didn't like Maya as much. She was kind of the 'typical' teen girl, and she doesn't feel conflicted about falling in love with her brother very much, not enough at least. The writing was beautiful, very detailed and poetic. At first it kind of annoyed me because it was a little overdetailed, but after a while I got used to it. There was maybe one thing I disliked about this book: the cheesy lines. Maya keeps calling Lochan 'my love', which is just... Just, no. And "Together, we're strong". Who actually says that?! Okay, moving on. Overall, Forbidden was really dark, heartbreaking, and just... really good. The plot was super original. One last thing. There are a lot of things going on in this book. It deals with child abuse and incest, and there is a sex scene in it that's pretty graphic. If you're not mature enough to deal with the sexy times, don't read it. Blog post: more
by Lauren Hoeve
Breathtaking. I have seriously trouble saying something about this book because it was simply ... magnificent. It certainly is not an easy subject matter - incest is something most people don't talk about. (Well, I didn't either). Maya and Lochan live an extremely hard life. Their mother pretty much became an alcoholic when their father left when Lochan was 12. Since then, the two - as the oldest - took care of the three younger children, Kit (14 when the novel takes place), Tiffin (8) and Willa (5). They make sure they do their homework, have enough to eat and don't miss dental appointments, and so on. But mostly, Maya and Lochan make sure that social services does not notice that their mother is hardly ever home. The novel is stunning. If you can wrap your head around the situation, I think it was to be expected that Maya and Lochan would fall in love. They have been the parental figures in the lives of their younger siblings for four years. And they depend on each other so much, everything else maybe would have been even weirder. One thing I really like about this book: Nothing is bound to happen. For example, if the father hadn't left the family, the mother wouldn't have become an alcoholic, thus Maya and Lochan would not have been forced in parental roles. And those "if" situations make life real. Imagine you met your boyfriend/girlfriend in spring and because you wanted to spend so much time with him/her, you ended up not studying and failing a test. Then later in summer, you two have a fight which makes you late to your history class and you get a late slip, which in turn "forces" your parents to ground you. Now, if you hadn't met your boyfriend/girlfriend you wouldn't have failed the test and wouldn't have been late. Or if you had avoided the fight, you wouldn't be grounded. You get the idea. But back to the novel. I had no problem with the incest. It wasn't even that for me. They love if each other so much it hurts me physically, mostly because their situation is so f-ed up that they could never ever be together. The pain of having to stay away, not even being able to kiss in public must be unbearable. There is so much heart and pain and love and despair in this novel, I couldn't sleep after finishing it (although the unspeakable ending may be a reason, too). I kept thinking and turning the idea around in my head. How cursed can two people be? So desperately in love and so close. Yet, not allowed to be in love and thus so much space between them. I could talk for ages about this book. As soon as I have money again I'm going to buy it. It is most certainly the best contemporary novel I have ever read. Ever. In my whole life. So if you think you can adapt to the incest part of it all - and believe me, you should! - you need to buy it. It's an order!show more
by Jill Barrakling
This book has got to be one of my fave books i have read! I loved it! This book is totally different form any other book i know and have read. Forbidden has a few sex scenes and can get a bit dirty, but beside that, Forbidden is a must. This book is powerful, amzing, and strangely more
by Jessica
Lochan and Maya are brother and sister. Their three younger siblings depend on them ever since their dad left them and their mother no longer cares for them. With the pressure of this enormous responsibility, Maya and Lochan turn to each other. They find solace and comfort, but they find so much more than that. They find love. Not just sibling love, but real emotional, physical love. How can they love each other when the rest of the world sees their actions as disgusting and vile? FORBIDDEN deals with an incredibly controversial subject, and readers should be warned. Lochan and Maya are brother and sister, but they love each other in the way that any normal couple would. The first half of the book doesn't even touch the subject; it sets the scene with depictions of a family falling apart and a set of siblings doing all they can to hold it together. The second half delves into their incestuous relationship and the torrent of emotions and consequences that come along with it. Though this type of relationship is looked down upon by society, I couldn't help but hope that Maya and Lochan would work out. Their love was deeper than any other I've encountered and it was truly real because of everything they had suffered through together. It was hard to accept the fact that they were related, but also easy at the same time. Their relationship, as you can imagine, pushed boundaries to their breaking points. The emotional side balanced with the physical side. The thoughts of each character were drawn out and talked about comprehensively. They were real people with honest emotions. This is one of those books that will rip apart your heart and make you question everything you've ever believed in. By the novel's end I was in tears. The story was shocking and difficult at times, but it was worth it. FORBIDDEN is a stunning read that shouldn't be missed. I highly recommend it. **Please note: FORBIDDEN includes a disclaimer that the story isn't suitable for younger readers. *Gold Star Award Winner!show more
by TeensReadToo
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