My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Genre: Young Adult Fiction (older young adults, please!)
Form: Book – ARC Book
Synopsis: Lochan and Maya have always been close. Even when they were toddlers they created their own special language, much like twins are known to do, and did everything together. Having been abandoned by their father a few years back, and as good as abandoned by their alcoholic mother, Lochan and Maya have taken over the responsibility of raising their three younger siblings. These responsibilities, their friendship and the way that they know each other and understand each other in ways that no one else can or ever will be able to has resulted in a love that goes far beyond the love of a brother and a sister.
Review: This book is extremely difficult for me to review – well, not review, but to rate. I think my 4 star rating is being a bit generous, because while this book is written extremely well, the topic- matter is not one I care to revisit any time in the near future. But then maybe my rating is perfect because, it doesn’t matter if I like the topic or not, it was still a good book. The characters are so real, you can’t help love the lot of them. They are genuine, and despite my misgivings with the entire thing, in the end Lochan and Maya they are just acting on what the feel. Take out the brother/sister relationship and make them from two families who are dueling enemies, and instead of Lochan and Maya, you’ve got Romeo and Juliet.
I was captivated by this story. I picked up the book the day it came in the mail, and I did NOT want to put it down because I had to know…what next? The romance in the novel was just as good as any normal novel would be, but then you mentally had to take a step back and say, “Wait…they are BROTHER AND SISTER….this is just wrong.” And even they knew it.
Lochan was a bit messed up. He had extreme social anxiety that had gone unnoticed and untreated for far too long. The only people he was able to deal with without having a bit of a panic attack were his family. He loved his brothers and sisters, and was willing to do whatever it took to make sure they were healthy, taken care of, and even loved – especially loved. He had a very mean temper though, that was also going unchecked – and was leading to some very destructive tendencies. But with the world resting on your shoulders, and terrible secrets to keep, who wouldn’t buckle under that kind of pressure? But given all the ways that he is really not right in the head, you can’t help but love Lochan and to forgive him for all of his faults. It is his passion for his family, I believe, that leads him to love Maya the way he does in the first place, not to mention his inability to really communicate beyond the walls of his house.
It’s Maya I was really disgusted with. Sure she was only sixteen, and a teenager herself. She also has this connection to Lochan to combat with, but she is without the social anxiety obstacle. Instead of thinking logically or even having a conscious it seems, the way that Lochan attempts to, she did more justifying and encouraging. She was the one who took that first step and the one who laid on the pressure throughout the entire book. She would not address the wrongness of the issue, she just went with what she felt and declared that it was perfectly normal. While Lochan was torturing himself with his actions, the consequences for himself and the entire family, she was lying to herself and in turn to Lochan, who – from what I could tell – was not mentally able to withstand. Maybe I’m being hard on Maya, but then she does end up having to live with her own consequences as well.
As a whole, the book, the kids, the life; I am extremely sympathetic. Of their parental combination, I had one half. My father is an alcoholic who in the end “abandoned” my brother and I, to pursue his addictions. I can understand the burden and stress of taking care of your siblings, because I experienced it firsthand. So, reading about all of the kids trials and fears, and even just calling for mom to tuck them it at night – it’s so sad, but it’s the truth of how so many teens/kids survive.
LOVED IT: I love Lochan’s name. I wish I’d thought of it..;) Okay, really, the writing of this book was excellent. I really hope to read more by Tabitha Suzuma in the future, because I love how she was able to immediately capture my attention and thrust me into the world she created.
HATED IT: The premises. I spent most of the book hoping that they ended up NOT being siblings somehow or another, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that even if they weren’t, they were raised as siblings, and it would probably seem just as wrong.
SONG GOING PLAYING THROUGH MY HEAD: There isn’t going to be a perfect song for this book. But, “A Beautiful Mess” by Jason Mraz may work…