#forbiddenbookclub post #4 chapters 16-20
She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But... they are brother and sister.
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
I am participating in the above book club over the next couple of weeks, and along with that I thought I would post my own thoughts to my blog as well: what this will mean for you is that these particular posts will be including spoiler content. If you do not want to be spoiled regarding details of this particular book I suggest that you do not read them. I will be doing a final overall review spoiler free as soon as the book club has finished reading. For those who are interested in spoilers feel free to read along with the group or comment!
The book is told from both Lochan and Maya's perspective by rotating chapters. Lochan is 17, very introverted and smart. His father has left the family and moved to Australia. His mother has drowned herself in alcohol and a new boyfriend. As Maya is 16 and the situation that they have come to live in, have grown very close. You can tell this mostly through Maya and the way she is able to emotionally read Lochan and how he's feeling and how he will react. They have been best friends since birth and as they are so close in age, grew up together. Kit is the next oldest at 13 and because of the almost poverty level of living they are in has decided to be the rebel and it almost seems that he is jealous or resentful of the fact that Lochan has taken over the "father" duties of the household.
The house is described as being very small. The cupboards barren of food and really messy. But they have done their best to separate small places for at least the older children to have a place they can escape to and call their own. The little siblings overall so far, besides making the usual messes that children make while eating and playing seem really well behaved. They are at this point unaware of what is really going on around them and just worried about being entertained and fed. Although they do notice and pay special attention to when their mother is home and how the older kids react to their mother when she is home.
There seems to be a constant gloomy-ness and stressful tension building here. Lochan has taken on the stress of trying to keep all the siblings together (instead of taken by the state and put into foster or state care) He is also trying to deal with school deeming him as unsocial and they are worried about him and that his inability to socialize in public may cause problems with him graduating and going to college.
The questions that have come to me so far is how does Lochan think he's going to pay for college? Will he let the stress of his family and his social inabilities stop him from leaving the house? Maya seems to be the one that thinks more outside the box, while Lochan is focused internally on himself and the carefully laid out steps of his day. He is a very emotional person and prone to anxiety attacks. Maya is like the protector stepping in when she sees he is not reacting to something well or the goalie trying to block the shots before something gets worse that breaks him completely.
The mother is portrayed as a complete selfish bitch. She spends her paycheck on herself to "treat herself" She spends most of her nights out with her new boyfriend, coming home drunk and so loud that Lochan can hear them through the walls. She seems like she's constantly hung-over and when they argue (which is inevitable in this living situation) she pushes all the right buttons to make Lochan feel like he's the one that is in the wrong and could do better for himself and the family.
Final Thoughts: The writing is fantastic. So far I have felt a better connection emotionally with Lochan. But it seems that most of the story is going to focus on him as the older brother trying to gain some kind feeling of normalcy, in a way that he's just looking for a way to be able to breathe and relax with less stress. So far there is very little time in his day that he even gets to have time to himself without the worry of everything. And when he gets home not only does he have to make sure the younger siblings are ok, but the outbursts from Kit are not helping. Maya so far has her head on her shoulders but she also seems to take less of the responsibilities on as she has been able to make and maintain some friends and also from the little we know so far seems to be involved in some school activities which Lochan does nothing to release his tension with outside activities.
We can see a lot of the tension building up here, especially between Lochan and Kit. I felt these chapters 6&7 are still a major focus on Lochan and his feelings, how he's feeling what he is going through. Even in Maya's chapters we learn more about Lochan than we do about her. Until we hit the powerful dancing scene in the next chapter in which Maya and Lochan have found themselves alone in the house and Maya has asked Lochan to loosen up and relax a little by dancing with her. Of course the sweatiness and the energy and relaxation brings Lochan to have some "Pressure in his trousers" that may have not been a direct quote, but you get the idea. He of course becomes embarrassed, pushes her away and takes some time away from her over the next couple of days to try to think about what's going on and just put some space between the two. Well later in Maya's next chapter we see that she has a very good idea of what she is doing emotionally to Lochan. The idea intrigues her, but instead of being embarrassed about it she wants to push the relationship more by trying to make Lochan jealous. She is showing us a side of her that clearly suggests she is going to be the main instigator in the relationship and push Lochan past his fears and get him to act on his feelings. Although at this point we have not seen anything to uncomfortable between the two of them besides the dancing scene, but things are definitely building up slowly here.
There is an overall awkward and uncomfortable feeling you get as your reading. I have not felt so many emotions while reading a book in awhile.
There are not so many scenes in this portion of the reading that involves the mother, she's only in one bit of one chapter when Maya gets her to take the other kids out of the house so she can be alone with Lochan. It seems that most of what Maya is doing is thought out and planned. She is the one pushing Lochan, by flirting and comforting him. She already knows that he is starting to feel uncomfortable but wears barely-there nightgowns and keeps going into his room to talk. And now she's trying to get a reaction out of him by causing him to become jealous. She knows what she's doing. It was nice to see a little more about her, in previous chapters that were told from her perspective we only learned more about Lochan through her eyes, but now her personality is starting to come out more in the writing.
At this point in the book and at this time I have had several different emotions. I am loving the writing in this book, I think it has an incredible message that some people want to hear. But this book is not for all of us and although I am going to continue reading the book at this time I feel it has reached a very uncomfortable place for me to talk about here on the blog. So I am going to skip going into details for this blog post at this time because after reading some of my fellow bookclubers comments on the Readingteen.net readalong posts, some have made me feel very uncomfortable and I feel like I have to defend my opinion which I am not going to take a political stance on this issue today. This part of the story requires some very deep reflection time and I find I'm learning more about myself by reading it. What my beliefs are and what my religious stance is on the subject matter at hand.
There is a lot of going back and forth in these chapters. Deciding if they should try and be together or not, then how physical are they ok being with each other. This time it's Lochan who as the panic attack and Willa's making Maya feel guilty that she's not paying as much attention to her as she used to, that brings them closer together.
This time the make-out scene is not as descriptive as they have been, the chapter ends when it starts to get really serious and it's left up to the readers imagination until Lochan fills us in a little bit with what happened during the night they spent in Maya's bed.
This section had my heart breaking for them. At this point we have experienced a lot of bad things with them. But now the mother has just stopped coming home and only giving them money when they show up on her boyfriends' doorstep demanding it or that they are going to move in with them at her boyfriends house. You can tell the mother is incredibly embarrassed that they even exist and her boyfriend already has a family of his own. I find that I can understand why they have led to this kind of relationship with each other, it just breaks my heart to know that it was an incredibly stressful and hard one to have to HAVE chosen. I still think that they had other options that were not fully explored that was not illegal, but they decided not to explore those thoroughly. So now we are in for the long haul!
Willa has her shoulder dislocated in an accident and they have to describe to the child care services at the hospital what happened. This adds to the stress of the situation, and their grades are starting to reflect the stress that they are going through at home. Oh and now the younger brother Tillan is starting to act out as well, more like Kit has been.
I have to say that I appreciate more the sex scenes are left more to my imagination that written out is great details. I think that mature readers will understand what they are doing without all that detail, but I am very particular about how sex scenes are handled in Teen books in general. Even for mature readers, I am all for letting my own imagination fill in the gaps instead of reading the details. And if you are not a more mature reader/older teen I would hope that your not reading this book at all, it was not written for younger teens.