It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a meme created at Book Journey to catalogue everything read in the past week, what you’re working on now, and what you hope to get to in the coming week.

The Past Week

Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Lovesick by Jake Coburn

What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones

 Reading Now

Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian

 The Week Ahead

A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

Cinder by Marissa Meyer


Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

It’s safe to say that many people will not be comfortable reading this book. Yet I’m glad that young adult literature has been strengthened in recent years to the point where at least some readers are expanding their comfort zones to explore areas that are outside of the box, even if they do not encroach on issues quite as taboo as that in Forbidden.

From those readers who decided to take the plunge into potential intellectual discomfort,

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

I’ve read overwhelmingly positive reviews of this book, at least in the sense of its emotional resonance. Because of these reviews, I was also prepared for the heartbreak that Forbidden promised, and perhaps wasn’t as invested in the story for that reason. The shield I erected at the start of the novel certainly helped to dampen the inevitable pain, but I attribute my lack of tears (in contrast to the general consensus of outright sobbing) to Suzuma’s characterization of Maya. I was never really able to buy Lochan and Maya’s connection as one born of premature responsibility, respect, and sincerity because Maya continually came across as immature and naive. In order to garner the understanding necessary to ensnare readers’ sympathy despite their natural aversion to the taboo subject matter at hand, Suzuma needed to build a solid foundation for Lochan and Maya’s feelings to rest on, and it’s her failure to do so that left me dry-eyed at the end.

In contrast, I could more easily believe the evolution of Lochan’s emotions, perhaps somewhat perversely since it would seem that he, as the self-proclaimed primary caretaker and eldest of the household, would seem to emerge as the character for whom we would expect Maya’s feelings to develop. Yet the interplay between Lochan’s extreme social anxiety, the stressful burden of raising his siblings, and his confusion regarding his feelings for Maya seemed to me a more understandable environment for such feelings to develop (if in fact that environment exists at all) than Maya’s comparably uncomplicated mentality. I would have liked for Suzuma to focus more heavily on Lochan’s psychological issues and perhaps probe into the overlap of his conditions, which could easily have been accomplished by cutting out half of the unnecessary descriptions of the siblings. While the secondary characters might have provided a critical backdrop, the extent of their inclusion in the story seemed somewhat tedious to me and did nothing to propel the plot nor elucidate what was occurring in either protagonist’s mind.

Forbidden could have been an interesting study of the effects of environment on psychology if focused more heavily on Lochan, yet I feel that Suzuma missed the mark with overly-prolific and repetitious passages in which Maya and Lochan circle back to the same problems while lamenting their situation. While the ethical considerations raised by this book will no doubt make for interesting discussion, Suzuma failed to enthrall me as she has so many others.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish that allows us to list our top ten answers to a different question each week.

This week’s theme is: Top Ten Books That Broke Your Heart A Little

1. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

This book ruined me for all other books for a month. I couldn’t contemplate even attempting to immerse myself in a new novel after having experienced Henry and Clare’s heartbreaking love story.

2. Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning

Had I not started this series after all five books were complete and available in stores, the last chapter of this book would have been my undoing.

3. The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

Shortly after the start of this second book in Gen’s story, he experiences something that is unexpected and tragic. I applaud Turner for taking a chance, yet my heart ached for Gen’s loss.

4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I won’t begin to summarize why this book broke my heart, for anyone who is a Green fan is aware of the beautiful agony that this story creates.

5. Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

This first book in Frost’s fantastic paranormal series broke new ground in more ways than one, not the least of which was her willingness to end the book on an unconventionally ambiguous note.

6. Aftermath by Ann Aguirre

Throughout the Sirantha Jax series, Aguirre has portrayed a protagonist who has grown exponentially as she has struggled to cope with one tragedy after another. Aguirre accomplishes a rare feat in writing Sirantha’s development, for her progress never comes across as contrived, which makes her struggles all the more heartwrending.

7. The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

Tom Mackee’s story is uncomfortable yet poignant as he reluctantly sheds an exterior hardened by five years of uncertainty and loss. Even as we witness Tom’s slow reemergence into the lives of his family and friends, we know that some things might be beyond repair, but that doesn’t prevent us from hoping for a happy resolution.

8. A Separate Peace by John Knowles

I doubt I will ever recover from the shock ending of this novel, though the experience of reading it will remain with me forever.

And perhaps it’s a bit unorthodox, but even though I’ve yet to read the next two books, I’ve no doubt they would be on this list had I read them already, so I’m including them.

9. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

While I’m excited to read this title based on the fabulous reviews I’ve read, I have no doubt that my heart will be aching by book’s end.

10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I have been putting off reading this book for too long, though I’m sure my tears will be unbearable.