Posts Tagged ‘Tabitha Suzuma’


Tabitha Suzuma
hurtAt seventeen, Mathéo Walsh appears to have it all. He is a champion diver and a hot prospect for the upcoming Olympics. He is a heartthrob, a straight A student and lives in one of the wealthiest areas of London. He has great friends and is the envy of many around him. And most importantly of all, he is deeply in love with his girlfriend, Lola. He has always been a stable, well-adjusted guy . . .
Until one weekend. A weekend he cannot seem to remember. All he knows is that he has come back a changed person. One who no longer knows how to have fun, no longer wants to spend time with his friends, no longer enjoys diving. Something terrible happened that weekend – something violent and bloody and twisted. He no longer knows who he is. He no longer trusts himself around people: he only wants to hurt, wound and destroy. Slowly, he begins to piece back the buried, fragmented memories, and finds himself staring at the reflection of a monster.
Tormented, Mathéo suddenly finds himself faced with the most devastating choice of his life. Keep his secret, and put those closest to him in terrible danger. Or confess, and lose Lola forever . . .

Having read Tabitha’s previous book, Forbidden, I thought that I knew what I was letting myself in for when I picked up Hurt – a beautifully written, compelling and emotive, character driven story, with a thread of taboo- and I was absolutely right.

Like Matheo awaking from the oblivion of sleep and finding himself at the epicenter of violence and destruction, I was immediately thrown in to a disorientating and disturbing scene with no explanation.

The flashbacks to the lightness, playfulness and beauty of pre-amnesia Matheo’s contrast so potently with the angry and bewildered young man struggling to fit in to his own life, that I felt overwhelmed by a sense of wrongness and sadness.

Matheo’s hurt was so clearly palpable, I just wanted to wrap him up in a huge hug and protect him from the world. At one point I had to stop reading as I was unable to see the text through my tears. I even had to take a few days break from the book mid way through, to read something else, because I couldn’t face the emotions that would be unleashed with the return of Matheo’s memory.
In Forbidden the use of first person, dual narrative was very important to my acceptance of the story. Therefore I found myself paying particular notice of the perspective Suzuma employed in Hurt.

For me Hurt, a third person narrative, entirely from Matheo’s perspective, was a doubled edged sword. On the one hand, this book devastated me enough with the description of how Matheo was feeling and what he was thinking, that I know a first person narrative would have been harder to experience, perhaps too hard. On the other, although I loved the secondary characters and felt sad for how Matheo’s experience affected them, I only did so because of Matheo’s love and concern for them in their roles of friend, girlfriend and brother and not because I had gotten to know them in their own right, which a more omnipotent third person perspective would have allowed.

Suzuma has this amazing talent for creating breathtakingly beautiful love in impossible and taboo situations that live with you long after you turn the last page. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be automatically pre-ordering whatever she decides to write next.

Verdict: The title is a warning- Don’t expect to finish a Tabitha Suzuma book the same person you were when you started it.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Random House Children’s
Publication Date: September 2013
Format: Hardback
Pages: 400
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Tabitha Suzuma

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.

I was initially reluctant to pick up this book. The blurb clearly states that this is a love story between a brother and sister. The numerous 5* ratings however, persuaded me to put aside any queasiness and give the book a chance. I am so glad I did.

I consumed this book in one sitting finishing in the early hours of the morning. I surprisingly found myself gripped within the first few chapters, fighting conflicting emotions alongside the protagonists and rooting for it to somehow work out for the couple. It’s not that I forgot that they were sibling (the author ensures this), more that the relationship never felt like a “normal” sibling relationship, long before the relationship becomes physical it is clear that they are more to each other than brother and sister.

The dual first person narrative allows you to witness the developing relationship from both Lochan and Maya’s perspectives. You experience how hard they both fight their attraction and that the relationship is equally sided with no coercion from either party.

This book left me emotionally drained and questioning my strongly held values. However, I am so glad that I’ve read it. I think that it will be a story I reflect on for a very long time. In addition to exploring consensual incest the book sensitively touches on the issue of neglect, alcoholism and mental health.

Verdict: If you are in two minds about picking up this book I hope that this 5* rating encourages you to give it a chance.
Parental note: Although classified as YA (13+), due to the subject matter and content I personally wouldn’t recommend this book to a young(age/maturity) teen reader.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Definitions
Publication Date: May 2010
Format: Paperback
Pages: 432
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance,
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: N/A
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