Thursday, June 20, 2013
"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." -Goodreads
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Page Count: 454
Would Appeal To: Fans of Stolen by Lucy Christopher, But I Love Him by Amanda Grace
"It's horrible, being ashamed of someone you care about; it eats away at you. And if you let it get to you, if you give up the fight and surrender, eventually that shame turns to hate."
"The first rays of dawn begin to touch the edge of the rooftops. I sit on my bed and watch the pale light dilute the inky blackness, a thin wash of color slowly diffusing the eastern sky. The air is chilled as it blows through the cracks in the window frame, and sparse flecks of rain spatter the pane as the birds begin to wake."
"...the fear that we will have no choice but to bury this night as if it never took place, a shameful secret to be filed away for the rest of our lives until, brittle with age, it crumbles to dust-- a faint, distant memory, like the powder of a moth's wings on a windowpane, the specter of something that perhaps never occurred, existing solely in our imagination. I cannot bear the thought of this being just one moment in time, over almost before it started, already retreating into the past. I must hold on to it with all my might."
"'I'll marry her, if that's what she wants. I mean, at the end of the day, what the hell does it matter who I end up with if it can't be you?'"
"Curled sandpaper leaves skim across the path, carried by a whisper of wind...High above us in an anemic sky, the white orb of the sun, like a giant spotlight, fixes the park with its hard wintry rays."
"And all at once I think: This whole time, my whole life, that harsh, stony path was leading up to this one point. I followed it blindly, stumbling along the way, scraped and weary, without any idea of where it was leading, without ever realizing that with every step I was approaching the light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel. And now that I've reached it, now that I'm here, I want to catch it in my hand, hold on to it forever to look back on-- the point at which my new life really began."
Words that sum up this book: Holy. Freaking. Wow.
This book grabbed me from the first page and never let me go.
Never in a million years would I have guessed I would be so completely immersed in Lochan and Maya's world. I was right there, in the grassy field, while little brother Tiffin kicked the soccer ball with his mates and begged to stay out past dark. Or when Kit turned his music up to drown out his loneliness. When even-tempered Willa clutched Maya's hand and yelled at her for not listening to her best friend dramas, kind of like their alcoholic mother.
The beauty of this book is it goes from one ordinary event to the next, but nothing is ever ordinary. In fact, I'd be amazed to find a reader who didn't connect with at least one of the characters on a powerful emotional level. Maya and Lochie, as the oldest, are responsible for taking care of their three younger siblings because their mother is often away with her boyfriend, sometimes not coming home for days at a time. They are the perfect tag-team, splitting dinner duty, homework time, cleaning the kitchen, and putting the kids to bed. Although their world was sad and they scraped money together just to pay the bills, the kids were happy, for the most part, together. And whether they were playing a game of British Bulldog or trying to keep dinner civilized, I fell head over heels for this family. Seemingly small plot points, like Willa missing after school, add tension and urgency to the pages. I worried with the oldest kids, smiled at their small victories, sympathized for their exhaustion. My new favorite book family: the Whiteleys, who overcome anything and everything with teamwork. Even Kit, who I hated in the beginning, became one of my favorite characters.
Poor Lochie. He's brilliant but petrified of speaking to anyone. This especially affects him at school because he can't give oral presentations. His heart races, he sweats, and he often has panic attacks. He is a completely different person around his siblings, including Maya. Since I knew the premise, I kept waiting for the event that would trigger crush-type feelings. And I get it. Most people would balk at the very notion that siblings could fall in love. But after all they've been through together-- mini-parents with lots of responsibility and no one else to turn to-- believing this could happen is not a stretch. A couple that must steal moments to keep their relationship a secret, they are sweet with each other, shy, and certainly soulmates.
Tensions run high when Maya and Lochie realize what could happen if their feelings for each other are discovered. They'd lose the children and go to prison. But their feelings are intense. The battle of whether to be together continues through a good part of the book. I absolutely shed tears for these characters. Their struggles were unusual but beautiful, shaping them into mature before their time young adults with an interesting view of the world. The alternate chapters of narration by Maya and Lochie tell the story in a great way. It would have been hard as a reader to only see one perspective, especially because the reader would have to guess or judge whether feelings were mutual. Lochie absolutely worships the ground Maya walks on. Maya finally feels understood. Neither is being taken advantage of, even though Lochan is the oldest and the outside world might see it that way.
I salute author Tabitha Suzuma for tackling some intense and controversial issues. Before you dismiss the topic as taboo, try this book. The flow of the writing is brilliant, and I was sad to part with the book for any length of time. A-Ma-Zing story and gorgeous prose. Check out Suzuma's website when you finish. You'll find that she was depressed growing up and those feelings helped her write her novels today, all of which deal with some sort of disorder. I'm so glad she put her thoughts to paper. This story will stick with me for years to come.