Thanks to their neglectful alcoholic mother, Maya and Lochan are more than just siblings, but best friends. Together, they raise their three younger siblings and try get by as best as they can, with only occasional appearances from mum. As they weather their brother's rebellion and the stress of taking care of three young children, pay bills, and dodge social services, they find that their feelings for each other go beyond just love, but to need and lust. Maya and Lochan know that what they feel for each other is something that no one else will understand, but yet they are determined to stay together, no matter what life throws their way, no matter what the consequences.
Forbidden is an extremely well written novel; the tension, the feelings, and the drama are all perfectly described and compelling. Suzuma manages to suck the reader so completely into the romantic tension between Lochan and Maya that you almost forget that they are siblings, and you almost want them to find a way to stay together forever. The story alternates between Maya and Lochan's perspectives, allowing the reader to really get into their heads and discover the motivations behind their feelings for each other, but also revealing the stress and loneliness they feel at their mother's abandonment. Their mother's character is fairly despicable on her own, though most of the time the reader only finds out about her actions secondhand through Lochan's recollections. The ending of Forbidden is jarring, tragic, but a little unbelievable in some aspects (for instance, the children are able to completely cover up their mother's shortcomings). Nonetheless, Forbidden is a raw, frank, and uncensored look at the lives of these teens, and it becomes apparent that the real tragedy of this story isn't the incest, but the fact that Maya and Lochan never received the help they desperately needed.