Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Guest Review: High School Pick: Forbidden

By Tabitha Suzuma
Simon & Schuster
464 pages

Blogger's note: Guest reviewer career educator Leslie Rush submitted this review to the blog. Leslie is a bff and avid ya reader and reviewer. This is her fourth guest review on this blog. Here is her review of this compelling and dangerous read:

The truth of this book is in the opening quote: “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.”

There’s plenty in Lochan and Maya’s lives that no one wants to see. They, along with younger siblings, have been abandoned by their father and are virtually abandoned by their Mum—an alcoholic who never wanted kids to begin with, who has set her sights on a new boyfriend, and comes home drunk (when she comes home at all) to throw up, sleep it off, and change into another sleazy outfit.

Maya and Lochan serve as parents to the three younger sibs—the dreamy, sweet Willa, the goofy Tiffen, and the rebellious Kit. They handle dinner, homework, groceries, discipline, and drag money out of their Mum to pay the bills. They have learned to cope like any two "normal" parents who work all day and come home to kids and chaos.

Above all, it is imperative that no one ever know about their situation. All of the children dread being noticed by Social Services, but Lochan feels it the deepest. He is practically mute outside the family home, having acute anxiety attacks when called upon in school. The kids have zero outside support. When one of Lochan’s teachers attempts to probe a little deeper, she is rebuffed by the terrified Lochan.

The love Maya and Lochan feel for each other takes a twisted turn as they each are pursued by others. Maya’s friends all have a crush on her brother, and there’s a dreamy prospect asking Maya out, as well. Faced with Kit’s growing rebelliousness and the growing needs of the younger ones, Maya and Lochan find their only stress relief with each other.

Accidental contact leads to revulsion, battling with the desperate need to be loved. Each step into their descent is more torturous, as they fight until they are overwhelmed, defeated by their own love. It ends in sorrow, as Lochan does the only thing that can save their family.

I did not want to read this book. But I’m really glad I did. Suzuma has painted a picture that is compelling, horrifying and compassionate. Lochan is a character readers will never forget.

Recommended for very mature readers, 16 and up. Strong sexual content, mature themes.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this novel from the publisher. I/we did not receive monetary compensation for this review. Leslie Rush is a bff and ya reviewer. Her reviews can be found at A Book and a Hug.

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