Category Archives: Diversify your reading Summer challenge
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format/pages: Hardcover 464 pages
Format read/Source: eGalley from Simon & Schuster GalleyGrab, read June 24 2011
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
Forbidden is a brave, powerful and complex book about a taboo topic. The story had me breathlessly on edge, completely consumed in the heart-wrenching tale. This book is a story of taboo love between siblings that develops due to their extremely difficult family circumstances. The author writes the story in such a raw, emotional and believable way that I could not help but be sympathetic to the ill-fated couple’s plight. That the story can elicit such a response with this subject matter is quite an achievement for this author.
Seventeen-year-old Lochan has always been close with his sister Maya, who is thirteen months his junior. They have three younger siblings that they have the responsibility of looking after, since their father abandoned the family and their alcoholic mother is seldom around. Their lives are high-stress as they balance high school with running a household and looking after their siblings. Lochan and Maya have always relied on each other and shared the burden that they are saddled with at home. They grow closer as they take on the roles of parents to their siblings, and soon a romantic type of love develops, though they know it can’t last.
I knew a little bit about the story going into it so was prepared for the taboo subject matter. And of course a similar relationship is explored in the infamous Flowers in the Attic. As I was reading, I was filled with dread waiting for the inevitable other shoe to drop in this unorthodox love story. The story alternates points of view between Lochan and Maya, and we get to know the characters well and the complex feelings they have for each other.
The sibling’s chaotic family life is vividly painted. The younger siblings are their own personalities with their own heartbreaking struggles. Their family dynamic is fascinating to watch as we see them hanging on the edge. It’s incredible that five kids can hold it together alone for so long under the radar. Their mother is a train wreck and it is sad to see the gratitude the older siblings have for her for simply taking the kids out for a few hours once in a while. The family relationship is one of the most compelling aspects of the book. The characters are well written and their emotions hit you straight in the heart.
The tension runs high throughout the book as Lochan and Maya struggle with the intense feelings they have for each other. Their desperate relationship is heartbreaking to watch, as you know it can’t end well. They seem to be meant for each other, which makes it so hard to see their longing and struggle. It definitely made me think about love and relationships in general.
Forbidden is one gripping and emotional tearjerker that I won’t soon forget. It’s beautifully well written with a bold and passionate story.
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The Diversity in YA Fiction site is hosting a Diversify Your Summer Reading Challenge that is open to US librarians, bloggers and readers. If you have always wanted to incorporate more diversity in your reading then this is the challenge for you! There will be an opportunity to win some wonderful books at the end of the summer after you complete the challenge.
Read any diverse YA or MG book that you like. For the challenge, a diverse book is defined as: (1) main characters or major secondary characters (e.g., a love interest or best friend kind of character) who are of color or are LGBT or (2) written by a person of color or LGBT author. If you need some suggestions, check out their suggested lists: monthly lists of new books, and these book lists at Black Teens Read.
Library participants: Librarians are invited to incorporate diverse middle grade and young adult novels into your summer reading programs, whether it’s as a book display, a book club event, or a book list you’ve created to share with your patrons. Please take photos or shoot video of your display or event and share them with Diversity in YA!
Readers and Book Bloggers: Readers and book bloggers are invited to read diverse MG and YA books throughout the summer (you choose the books!) and write an essay (at least 500 words) about your experience. You can post it on your website, Blogger, LiveJournal, Tumblr, or on Facebook; your post should be publicly readable.
Judging: Authors Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo (Diversity in YA Fiction founders) will select one grand prize winner in each category, and that winner will receive a giant collection of fabulous MG and YA books. In addition, their favorite blog posts may be posted on http://www.diversityinya.com later this year.
The deadline for all entries is September 1, 2011.
These are the books I have lined up to read over the summer:
Stay With Me by Paul Griffin
Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff
Ruined by Paula Morris
The Benny Imura series by Jonathan Maberry
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma (currently reading this one)
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
There are tons of titles to choose from. I’m excited to start reading some of these amazing books!
If you have any questions about the challenge please visit the challenge host site at Diversity in YA Fiction. Have a great summer of reading!