July 31, 2011

Book Review: Forbidden

Title: Forbidden
Publisher: Simon Pulse (an imprint of Simon & Schuster Canada)
On-Sale Date: June 28, 2011
Length: 454 pages
Format: ARC paperback

This review contains mature content.

Before you read this review you need to know what incest is.  According to dictionary.com:
incest:  sexual intercourse between persons so closely related that they are forbidden by law to marry; also :  the crime of engaging in such sexual intercourse”.

I’m only discussing incest within the confines of Forbidden.  Any personal views on the subject are null and void.  I am only focusing on incest between these two fictional characters.  The opinions I have formed are only based on what I have read in Forbidden.

Lochan and Maya have always been there for each other.  Together they raise their younger brothers and sister.  Their mother is barely home.  Whatever money she hasn’t spent on alcohol goes to her five kids to pay the bills and buy groceries.
Their mother is spending less and less time at the house, and more time with her boyfriend leaving, everything to Lochan and Maya.
Having been born only thirteen months apart, Lochan and Maya have always been close.  They’re best friends and equals.
Only now they’re becoming closer than any siblings should be.
What happens when their relationship is wrong, but feels so natural?

Forbidden was first and foremost a book of love.
I never knew you could love someone so deeply.
This was not a book you would forget, and this story will remain a part of you.
The ache held your heart.  The sadness seeped into it.  This book would not let me go, nor did I want it to.

It was one of the most horribly depressing things I had ever read, but I did not regret having picked it up for one moment.  This was the best kind of pain.  I remain so completely grateful.  This was a beautiful, painful experience.

Love was equal to pain.

There was no possible fairytale ending for Lochan and Maya, but Tabitha ensured she gave them the best ending.  It was an ending that would be remembered.  It was horrible and devastating, and I expect to be haunted by it all for a long time.  The end was their final punishment.  They knew the world’s view on what they were doing, what they were feeling.
You could call it stupidity, but it was just desperate love.
Their love consumed them.
They loved each other in every way.  It killed them knowing the way they wanted to love each other was taboo in every way.

I constantly wanted to defend Lochan and Maya.  They were so fragile.
I wanted them to be able to keep their relationship, because it was what they needed.  They had always relied on each other  They had been through battles and deserved to keep what they wanted most.  It really seemed like they couldn’t live without one another.  They needed each other's presence nearby to survive.  They needed to be able to talk and touch (simply holding hands would do).
Their incestuous romantic relationship seemed to develop at a rapid pace, but sometimes the most powerful things do.  They had loved each other all their lives and for some reason that love, just changed to something different, unspeakable.

Forbidden did not condone incest or rape.  The reader simply explored these subjects through the character’s souls.

Normally, a couple so dependent on each other would be a sign that one or both characters was missing some strength or self respect or something. However, Lochan and Maya were bonded through a lifetime of only relying on each other.
Lochan and Maya lives’ were difficult to live.

This book was very upsetting.

Lochan had a paralyzing fear of all social situations.  Since he was in his senior year of high school the teachers had learned not to call on him.  He handed in written assignments in place of presentations, and spent breaks alone.  Lochan was practically incapable of having conversations with anyone outside his immediate family, unless the situation warranted it.  He was the school freak.  Unfortunately, even with those who stood by his side, it was immeasurably difficult to conquer his phobia.
You really wanted Lochan to be able to handle his fear.

The chapters alternated between Lochan and Mara’s perspectives.  It was important that the reader saw this story from both sides.  Forbidden wouldn’t have had as strong an impact, and the plot couldn’t have made as much sense, if the story was one sided.

The reader forged an immediate connection with the characters.  You saw the characters as individuals before they spiraled into an unbelievable romantic relationship.
It was forbidden, but it was hard to call it wrong when reading how they felt about each other.
You felt so much pity for them.  They were in so much pain, and their relationship was simply their outlet.  They clung together.  They were all each other had.  For years they counted on each other so completely, and cared for their siblings.  They didn’t know how to be without each other.

Everything was against them, except each other.

Their relationship always had a time limit.

All the characters that were created for the world of Forbidden fit into place, and were vital to the story.  The alcoholic mother was a dark cloud hanging over her children’s heads.  The younger siblings were only starting to get a sense that their family of five was not what society would have deemed normal.
Kit played a key role as the middle child.  He was volatile, and unsettled.  Like his older siblings, Kit had to grow up too quickly.  Everything took its tole.

I wished better for the Whitley children.

Once you were sucked into Forbidden it was very difficult to tear yourself away.
A million times you'd think it couldn't get worse, it couldn't get better, but it did, right until the end.

Premise: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

Disclosure: I received an advanced copy from the publisher. This did not influence my review in any way.

July 14, 2011

Love List (6)

This is going to be short and sweet.

This is what I love and have been thankful for this past month:

My dad.
Harry Potter.
The fact that I grew up in the Harry Potter generation.
Being glued to the computer screen for 3 hours watching the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
JK Rowling.
A Very Potter Musical.
A Very Potter Musical Soundtrack.
"Goin' Back To Hogwarts".
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma.
Really good fanfiction.
Knowing there are books and films to go back to when you're missing Harry Potter.


July 5, 2011

Early Book Review: Forever

Title: Forever
Publisher: Scholastic Press (an imprint of Scholastic Inc.)
On-Sale Date: July 12, 2011
Length: 390 pages
Format: ARC paperback

At the end of the previous book we are left with an emotional pause in the story.  Now Grace is a wolf and Sam is waiting for her to return.  We don’t know if Sam is really cured, but we know he’ll be blamed for Grace’s sudden disappearance.  The only reason Grace lived to a third book was because of Cole.  He might be a self destructive pain, but he is also a genius.
In Forever, Cole must figure out what makes him and Sam and Grace and all the others turn into wolves.  He needs to figure out how to make them grow their human skins again, and he needs to figure it all out under a time crunch, because Tom Culpepper will not rest until the wolves of Mercy Falls have been annihilated.
Sam, Grace, Cole, and Isabel face their most dangerous dilemna yet.  They’ll need each other to survive it all if they can stop arguing, long enough.

This was a book of waiting.
Waiting for Grace.  Waiting for spring.  Waiting for Sam and Grace to be SamandGrace.  Waiting for a cure.  Waiting for answers.

Waiting for the waiting to be over.

I fell for these characters all over again, because these were characters I already loved.  These were characters I already cared about.  I wanted nothing more than for SamandGrace to sustain and conquer every obstacle.  I wanted Cole to have a breakthrough, and I wanted him to be okay.  I wanted Isabelle not to be angry anymore.
I wanted death and extermination to not be a possibility.

Every character had a similarity.  They all had a musicality about them.  They were written powerfully, and had the ability to say the most with the least.

Sam was heartbreaking in Forever.  There was so much pain and sadness written into his character.  He encountered things that he couldn’t overcome within the confines of Forever.  Things that would stay with him, and help shape him.  It was unbelievable to imagine even a fictional character carrying all that sorrow.
But even damaged, Sam could not break.

Cole was amusing.  A self destructive amusing, but we wouldn't want him any other way.
At the end of Linger, we were lead to believe that Cole would play a key role in Forever.  He was the genius wrapped in the body of a ruined rock star.  Cole was someone who came to Mercy Falls to get lost, but ironically, he found a purpose.  He believed he was already too far gone to be helped, but in helping the wolves, he found that he could live with himself again.

I read these words with wider eyes.   Emotion blead through the lines of this installment.

Everything was unexpected, and everything was predictable.
There were parts you could have foretold.  And there were pieces that you could not have seen coming.  It was the obvious that broke you.

Forever was where all the pain and all the hardships were collected in one final story.  The characters that lived past and lived through Forever would find happiness and solace in each other.

There was one tiny miracle that readers would be grateful and thankful for.  But I questioned why.

Near the end you’d picture the perfect fantasy of what you wanted to happen.  And you realized that you couldn’t make these characters live happily ever after.  Forever was filled with reality when the foundation was made of make-believe.  In reality.  Not every character.  Gets a happy ending.

There were times where the characters switched roles.  The logical became emotional.
Except for Cole.  He was forever a logical voice even though his methods were entirely unorthodox.

Time was a ticking bomb.  Time was always an issue.  But when characters found happiness time stood still.  Time didn’t matter for those fleeting moments.

Many times it seemed like none of these characters ever got a break, but you could not have gone through what they had and have everything fall perfectly into place.  Sometimes these characters had to hold onto what was most important and let the rest go.

Finishing Forever, I felt numb.  Then numbness gave way to sadness.  Sad that it ended.  Sad for the things that happened.  Sad for things that didn’t.  Sad that you never got a concrete answer.  Sad that you wouldn’t know.

It was sad for so many reasons, and it made me sad for so many more.  You’d think the ending was simple, but it wasn’t.  You knew the characters deserved to be happy, but there was so much against them.  There was so much lost and not enough time.  Not enough answers or explanations.

Beginning Forever you could picture the direction the plot could take, but this book could not be contained to only one path.  There were too many characters for everything to slide into place.  It would have been impossible for each of them to get everything they wanted.
These characters were written raw and emotional.  Their feelings were laid out for the reader.

Every story has to end but this ending felt so abrupt.  After living with these characters for years, and after the events of Forever there should have been more closure.  I’m left with a feeling of longing.
It could be quite possible that this was the author’s intention, because I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this novel.  I haven’t let go of the story yet.

There were so many questions.  Not all were answered.
We’re left with the unknown.

I wish it didn’t

Forever was truly an emotional read and only left you questioning.

Premise: 5/5
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Disclosure: I received an advanced copy when I attended Book Expo America in NYC this year. This did not influence my review in any way.