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Read an Excerpt
I gaze at the small, crisp, burned-out black husks scattered across the chipped white paint of the windowsills. It is hard to believe that they were ever alive. I wonder what it would be like to be shut up in this airless glass box, slowly baked for two long months by the relentless sun, able to see the outdoors—the wind shaking the green trees right there in front of you—hurling yourself again and again at the invisible wall that seals you off from everything that is real and alive and necessary, until eventually you succumb: scorched, exhausted, overwhelmed by the impossibility of the... see more
Reading Group Guide
By Tabitha Suzuma
About the Book
Lochan and Maya live with an alcoholic mother and three younger siblings. When their mother moves out and takes up primary residence with her boyfriend, Lochan and Maya are left to raise their younger siblings alone. Lochan, the eldest, is an exceptional student with high expectations but experiences social anxiety, which prevents him from making friends. Aware of her brother’s anxiety, Maya is protective and rushes to his side when he has anxiety attacks. Lochan, however, is the strong one at home. Fearing social services could intervene and separate them, Lochan and Maya cover for their mother’s absence. As the two deal with the stress and fear of raising three younger siblings and keeping their mother’s absence secret, they are drawn closer and closer together and realize the love they feel for each other bars social acceptance and is illegal.
We all must one day assume responsibility for our own lives; however, often we confront situations in which we must take on someone else’s responsibility. Discuss a time in which you had to take on a task or role unexpectedly that someone else was unable to handle. How did you manage the situation? What feelings did the added responsibility evoke and why? What would you do differently? What would you do the same?
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Behind the Book
FORBIDDEN, the author's note
Author's Note: Why I Chose to Write a Book About Incest
By Tabitha Suzuma
It wasn't an easy decision. When I first decided to take the plunge and write a love story between a brother and sister, I was, quite frankly, terrified. My first concern was that it would be dismissed out of hand as an unsuitable subject for teenagers. My second, that it would have to be so heavily censored that the physical side of the relationship would be glossed over,