Synopsis: 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. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.
Review: I’m going to say outright that I feel a little odd giving a book about incest of all topics such a high rating, BUT… it really was that good a story, it deserves it.
For a topic that is so utterly taboo and so socially repelled, this story really didn’t gross me out nearly as much as I expected it would. In actual fact the overall story was really quite sad and moving… it was emotional.
Lochan and Maya are brother and sister. Their dad left them and they are left with an alcoholic neglectful mother who is far more interested in spending 99% of her time with her boyfriend and occasionally gives the kids some money to get by. Lochan and Maya essentially play mum and dad to Willa, Kit and Tiffin, their younger siblings who rely on them to cook, clean, get them to and from school etc. So by all means Maya and Lochan aren’t a typical brother/sister unit, but rather peers. They are also best friends.
Lochan has no friends at school due to an overwelming social anxiety which prevents him from speaking to others, and so gradually he turns to his sister Maya who becomes his rock, and helps to keep him strong when he feels like he can’t cope with the pressures of looking after everyone, money, school and everything else.
Without the guidance of parents, without anyone else to turn to, Maya and Lochan eventually become more. They fall in love. Yes it gets sexual – but I have to admit I wasn’t really thinking about the whole brother/sister thing at that time, and that is purely because Tabitha Suzuma writes in such a beautiful and emotional way that you are so wrapped up in their tragic situation. You feel their pain, you experience what their whole family has been subjected to, and you understand how they feel. And so when it happens, it’s not about it being gross. Whilst I might not understand an attraction as they describe it, I can empathise with them.
Such a fantastic story.. gripping from the start right through to the end. I am not going to say anything about the end, but I would truly encourage anyone to read this book. Those of you who are thinking you don’t want to read it because of the incest thing I am talking to you. Give this a try, I promise it’s not one of those books published for shock value. This is a very real, very sad story and I finished it really caring about this family.
Rating: 4 out of 5