**Little note to those of you who are visiting this site for the first time: I feel like I should mention that this is so NOT my typical read. In fact its almost the antithesis of the kind of book I like and it took me many months to work up the emotional courage to read it… I pretty much ONLY read HEA (happily-ever-after) books and usually VERY swoony ones at that. Thats my rule. I need them in my life…. But for whatever reason, the synopisis of this book and other people’s reviews kind of grabbed at my heart and I’ve had this book in the back of my mind for a while now and finally worked up the courage to try it. So it’ll be the only one of its kind you’ll find on this blog…. the rest are all HEA romances.
5 stars *sob sob sob*
“How could something so wrong feel so right?”
This book reduced me to a inconsolable, uncontrollably sobbing, shaking, and wailing WRECK!! My heart is utterly SHATTERED !!!!!! Why? Why?? WHY????
I have no idea how to write anything that describes the depths to which my heart ACHES! Its like a physical pain. The ending of this book was “heart-shattering”. Pure, gut-wrenching, PAIN.
It takes the concept of a “forbidden love” to a whole new level. It does not have a HEA and the ending is guaranteed rip your heart to shreds.
The story is raw, emotional to an extreme, powerful, achingly painful, beautiful and devastatingly tragic.
I was beyond apprehensive about this story because, yes, this is a love story between a brother and sister (*cringe/gulp*, right?). It is only for the most open minded and non-judgmental readers. But I absolutely PROMISE you, after reading their story, you will be wishing they could have a happy ending.
With a self-centered, uncaring, and alcohlic mother and a father who abandoned their family years ago, siblings Lochan (17) and Maya (16) have always felt more like friends than siblings – being the defacto parents to their 3 younger siblings – 13-year-old Kit who is unhappy, self-destructive, and rebelling against life, mischevious little brother Tiffin, and sweet adorable baby sister Willa who is too young to understand the desperation all around her. Lochan and Maya work themselves into the ground trying desperately to hold together the broken pieces of their family for fear that social services will separate them if they learn of the absentee parents. The stress of their lives brings them closer and closer together to the point where they fall in love. They know its not right, they know its impossible, but they cannot deny that the feeling they have are so strong and feel so right.
The romance is slow building and comes as almost (dare I say it) a very subtle, natural, beautiful progression. Its about two people drawn together by their circumstances, who are as close as two people can be, who rely on each other, support each other, have been through hell together… The pain, lonliness, and desolation of their life pushes them together. Everything in their life is so overwhelming, but with each other they feel safe.
“… how to get across to the outside world that Lochan and I are siblings only through biological mishap? That we were never brother and sister in the real sense, but always partners, having to being up a real family as we grew up ourselves? How to explain that Lochan has never felt like a brother but like something far, far closer than that – a soul mate, a best friend, part of the very fiber of my being?”
The book is told in alternating POVs between Lochan and Maya. Their thoughts and perspectives made me question everything I was naturally feeling and forced me to think with my heart instead of with how I was naturally inclined to automatically feel about a sibling romance. It filled me with so many conflicting emotions. My natural reaction was to cringe at the storyline and scream ‘NO!”, but when you read and understand the emotion behind it, you can’t help but want to root for them as a couple.
The writing style is absolutely stunning. It conveys the stifling desolation and desperation of their life so vividly, you can feel with all your heart. It clouds the book, clings to the story and by extension, you as the reader are utterly wrapped up in their world.
This is a story that is going to stay with me for a long time. It’ll make you question right and wrong and think twice about preconceived prejudices.
In so many ways, their relationship didn’t feel weird or wrong. All the realtionship lines in this story were blurred anyways – friend and sibling, parents and child, authority figure and equal… When the situation isn’t a normal one, where are the lines drawn? As a reader, your natural, biological instincts are screaming at you to think of it as cringe-worthy, sick and both Lochan and Maya were realists about their feelings for each other. They knew how taboo it was and struggled long and hard with coming to terms with being able to accept the things they were feeling. Their torn anguish at dealing with what they were feeling but at the same time being true to themselves and not being able to deny the strength and reality of their feelings and passion for each other was heart-wrenching.
“I scrape the fingernails of one hand against the wall, violent sobs running in shock waves through my body, tears soaking my sleeve. “Help,” I find myself gasping, “I don’t understand what’s wrong with me!”
And like I said, they were realists about their situation. They knew they could never have kids and that wasn’t a problem – they just wanted to be together. And in another world, one where they were just Lochan and Maya and not also raising three younger siblings, they could very well have made it work. But the responsibilities of their family kept them from being able to put themselves first and ultimately was what led to the tragic ending.
With all your heart, you feel their desperation as they fight to hide something the whole world will judge them for.
“But its the whole world,” he says in an anguished whisper. “How – how can we make it against the whole world?”
There was just no way to doubt the heart-breaking depths of their love for each other.
“I think I’m going to die from happiness. I think I’m going to die from pain… At the end of the day, it’s about how much can you bear, how much can you endure.“
Their desperation just seeps into your soul as they fight against the cruelty of fate and the odds of the world. *sob*
Lochan was such a gorgeous character, inside and out. To have been able to hold it together for so long and to make the ultimate sacrifice for the people he loved… I can’t even write about this without tears coming to my eyes.
Everywhere they turned, there was another closed door. The ending just ripped me to emotional shreds. I’ll repeat, NOT a HEA. My heart won’t heal. The ending was un-fixable, irreversible, and horribly tragic.
The tragic ending didn’t come out of the blue. You could feel it building from the start. I even knew about the twist at the start before I began the book and thought I was fully prepared mentally for it, but it didn’t help one tiny bit and did nothing to shield my heart from the sheer, unbridled PAIN of the ending… around the 80% mark events started unfolding and my heart just sank. It felt like it stopped. I just read with my hand over my mouth, rocking back and forth going ‘please no, please no, please please &$%# no NO NO!!!” . It didn’t help that I was prepared, even writing this now and thinking about it, I’m starting to cry again.
It brought to light a lot of questions. Why is our society/world so obsessed with who loves who?? I can understand certain misgivings from a biological perspective. Yes, siblings should never be allowed to have biological children. THAT is wrong, from a scientific standpoint, not a judgmental one. Its damaging to the gene pool. But if two people love each other and just want to be together… who are we to judge? In a world where technology can make their relationship safe (i.e. vasectomy, tube tying..), why not let them be together? Who are we to judge who can and can’t be together. So long as they are not having kids, why shouldn’t they be allowed to have a relationship?
Their story shattered my heart. It was haunting, beautiful, agonizing and tragic. If you are ever feeling brave enough to try it out, I’d highly recommend it. But you have to be in the right mood…. *sniff* This isn’t a story that I’ll ever forget.