I rated Forbidden 3/5 stars - I liked it... but I didn't love it... And I understand the hype that I've seen/heard but I can't think of anyone that I would particularly recommend this to. One word to summarize my experience with Forbidden
I have to give Tabitha Suzuma props - I have never, ever
read a book like this before... Granted, most YA has nothing to do with biological siblings engaging in a consensual romantic and sexual relationship, so, yeah...
The characters? I could take them or leave them. They were all (in their own stereotypical ways) ORDINARY. The Whitley mother (did she even have a first name??) was as all alcoholic and neglectful fictional parents are - obnoxious, pathetic and absent. Forgettable. I could not connect with Maya, at all. She was incredibly willing and compliant, despite the fact that she was engaging in a romantic/sexual relationship with her brother. Perhaps I need to give Maya's chapters another read, but I never saw an inner turmoil or struggle to come to terms with her feelings towards her brother. She is the Bella Swan of incestuous relationships.
Lochan was the only redeeming part of the cast. While I was not able to relate to him, I was able to understand him (I feel weird even typing that...). He knew that he should feel repulsed by his actions, and that what he and Maya were doing was incredibly taboo. Every single painful step of the way was angst ridden, doubted, and filled with self-loathing. And honestly? I bought that. Yeah, it was a bit annoying at times... but at least Lochan seemed to understand the severity of the situation that he and Maya were putting themselves in.
I found the pacing of the story to be compelling - it kept me involved. Suzuma was able to reel me right back in as soon as I was about to shut the book and walk away. The Whitely's world was easy for me to imagine and put myself into. I found myself rooting for them, while simultaneously cringing... which I assume, was one of Suzuma's motives.
I read one Goodread user's review and in it, he/she (can't remember who, sorry) said that, despite his/her's personal opinion and feelings about this book, Suzuma had accomplished something important with the story. Yeah, I get that. Human emotions, interactions and relationships are complicated. I could very easily see this book being included in a gender/sexuality lit class.
So, yeah... I don't really know what to say. Who should read this book? Hm. Anyone who is not faint of heart - there is sexual content, and incestuous sexual content at that. There is language. Adult themes. Fun (-_-) stuff. If you are looking for a feel good, light, fun, summer romance... Please, run away. Right now.
However, if you are interested in heavy and dark themes? Sure. Complicated stories about extremely complicated relationships? This takes the crown.