Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Length: 432 pages
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.
Let me begin this review by saying that my review of this book is in no way affected by the taboo subject it discusses- I went into this book with a fairly open mind, and was willing to give it a chance to speak, especially considering the hype that it has received among readers. It didn’t live up to my expectations- in fact, it fell quite short. Although this book isn’t on my TBR for the Bout of Books Read-a-Thon, I decided to read it on a whim after finding a pdf version of it and remembering all the praise that it had received from some of my favorite BookTubers. I went into this read expecting that, although the book is about incest, the romance and love that they had for each other would be so heartbreakingly beautiful that it would make me forget about the fact that they were siblings.
It did no such thing.
Packaging: 4/5 Stars. Although I don’t actually have a physical copy of the book, I do like the cover art. It intrigued me from the moment I saw it, which is what a book should do. The quote on the cover is also much less cheesy than the original quote that they had had on the cover, which was “How can something so wrong feel so right?”
Writing Style: 2/5 Stars. The writing was definitely not my style. This book switched narratives every chapter, with the intent being that we could hear both of the characters’ individual voices. Unfortunately, that’s where this book failed. I was hardly able to distinguish the difference between Maya and Lochan’s voices. The author didn’t give them unique voices, and it all just sounded the same. This book would have been one best told in third person. The dialogue was also incredibly cheesy at times- the author was simply laying it on too thick for it to be believable.
Characters: 2/5 Stars. This was probably my least favorite part of the book, second to the writing style. The characters were way too unbelievable. Lochan is apparently gorgeous and brilliant, but in the book, he’s mocked by his mother for never being able to maintain friendships and for never bringing home a girlfriend. His attitude also irritated me. I understood how difficult his circumstances were, but he was extremely selfish and self pitying in the way he handled things. And in general, he annoyed me incredibly. Maya was a breath of fresh air compared to him, but even she was not as well written as a character should be- she struck me as a tool in helping Lochan rebuild himself from his depressed state. She also got extremely irritating, and the combination of both characters overcame me with the urge to slam my head against my desk.
Plot: 1.5/5 Stars. Honestly, this book just failed to make me feel empathy for Lochan and Maya. The buildup to when their relationship finally begins isn’t a very good one. This book had overwhelming angst. Angst is fine, but angst in a book with practically no plot line is practically unbearable. I feel like the book would have been much better if 100 pages of it had been shaved off- it wouldn’t even negatively affect the plot. In the end, when the tragic deed that Lochan performed finally commences, I didn’t feel anything, except for maybe a wince at how explicitly this book goes into the setup. I couldn’t feel sympathy for Lochan or Maya because I never knew them. The author failed at the two most important things that an author should achieve: creating a story that leaves you feeling incomplete until you finish it, and creating characters that we know by the end of it.
Overall: 1.5/5 Stars. This just wasn’t an enjoyable read, and I can’t find myself recommending it.