Author: Eve Bunting
Publication: December 1st 2015 by Clarion Books
Summary from Goodreads:
In early-nineteenth century Scotland, sixteen-year-old Josie, an orphan, is sent to live with an aunt and uncle on the rocky, stormy northwest coast. Everything and everyone in her new surroundings, including her relatives, is sinister, threatening, and mysterious. She’s told that Eli, the young man she’s attracted to, is forbidden to her, but not why. Spirited, curious, and determined, Josie sets out to learn the village’s secrets and discovers evil, fueled by heartless greed, as well as a ghostly presence eager for revenge. An author’s note gives the historical inspiration for this story.
I’m honestly not sure what I want to say about this book… I mean, it wasn’t good nor was it bad. See my problem here? I think it was trying too hard to be the Young Adult Outlander meets Twilight sort of thing. Forbidden had a very interesting premise and an amazing world to work with – but the romance fell short and I could see every twist and turn coming from a mile away.
Josie, a young girl, is on her way to live with her aunt and uncle after losing both of her parents in a wave of Influenza. Her new home and guardians are anything but welcoming, and it takes all of Josie’s self-control to remain the young lady she was raised to be when all she wants to do is lash out. The worst part? Her new family even tell her to her face that the only reason they took her in was for the money. On top of all that, the people of the town are strange in ways that confound both Josie and the reader.
Forbidden is a mystery, but I think it is a mystery that tries too hard and relies on the silly details to get its point across. While the story is focused and quirky, it feels far more centered on certain events rather than emotional responses and character development. It seemed as though there was a lot of telling rather than showing. Then add in the fact that the story was rushed, over hyped, and sort of anticlimactic – and, well, you’re just left feeling like ‘meh’.
In my opinion, the best part of this story is the setting. It was the only thing that actually felt genuine. This was the one place where I could feel as though I was a part of the story, otherwise I just felt detached and like I was watching the whole thing through a television rather than living it like I normally do when reading.
The romance didn’t help either. Forbidden is so short and rushed that I would have been extremely surprised if it felt genuine, which it didn’t. This book is more dedicated to the plot than anything else, like I already said, and it really took away from the emotional journey this book should have been. I wanted to like it, I wanted to love the story as much as I loved the cover – but it fell woefully short.
Overall, Forbidden is a fast, easy read that you shouldn’t go into with any expectations. It is neither deep nor swoon worthy, in fact, it is quite boring if you’re looking for something driven by the needs of the characters. You won’t see me promoting this book any time soon.