Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Amount of Pages: 454
Release Date: June 28, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Geared Towards: Teens
Summary: With an alcoholic mother and a deserting father, Lochan and Maya have always been more like parents than an actual brother and sister to their three younger siblings. They care for them, they cook for them, they do everything for them that a parent would do, all in hopes that social services will not come and tear up their family anymore than it already has been.
But when their lives start weighing down on them, Lochan and Maya start relying on each other more and more and begin to realize how their feelings for each other have changed. They have never truly felt like siblings, instead they've always felt like equals, best friends. Their stress and also their mutual understanding of what they are going through brings them closer together. But their closeness causes them to tread into a dangerous territory, a place that no sibiling is allowed to go, a love that goes beyond a family bond.
They both know that their love is wrong, that it should never continue. But why does something so wrong just feel so right?
Wdebo's Review: Incest is truly a difficult topic to read and also write about, but Suzuma has handled this topic wonderfully. The story itself is incredibly well written, from the creation of the characters themselves to the interactions between everyone, especially the connection between Lochan and Maya.
The story is written from both the point of view of Lochan and Maya. However, instead of just having it be a way to look at one part of the story from two points of view, it was, instead, written as a continuation of the story, just from a different voice. This works so much better than the former, mostly because there are no awkward pauses in the story for the next character to tell their side of the same part. There was no repition, which helped move the writing along. Also, this bouncing between the two narrators helped the reader understand each character's feelings, seeing each characters' growth of love for the other, the timid steps towards their eventual relationship.
The organization of the story is another plus. Instead of just jumping into the romantic relationship between the two, the first half of the novel was more of a background of the family life. Which allowed the reader to begin to empathize with their situation. The beginning of the relationship, though the writing was a bit shaky, came very suddenly and the story seemed to change speeds, from slow (in the beginning) to a fast-paced love story and it seeemd to gain momentum until the heart pounding last like 50 pages. I thought the conclusion came too fast though, it should have been drawn out a bit more just to balance out with the lengths of the previous parts of the story but it was still well done. The ending came as a total shock, which is a very refreshing change from the usual cliche, cookie-cutter endings one usually finds when one reads YA.
The actual writing was very well done, very polished. However the only true complaint I have about it is that the beginning seemed to be trying too hard. As in, there were too many "big" words thrown randomly into the mix as if it was just trying to sound intellectual, but it just did not flow well. As the story progressed, this writing style smoothed out and it became much easier to read after that small bump in the novel.
I really enjoyed all of the characters, there was something distinct about all of them that allowed me to grow attached to them. I especially loved Willa, she was just so sweet and innocent and a great contrast to the dark, heart-wrenching feeling of the novel. I nearly started crying when I read the ending, which just goes to show how much the characters had grown on me.
Cafe Cover Chat: I like the cover, it is simple but conveys the true feelings of the story. (B+)
All in all, a haunting love story that is sure to follow you well after the last page.