Wow! This novel just blew me away. It had me so conflicted from start to finish. I was a mess of emotions and I didn't know what to think, how to feel, and I questioned myself and my views constantly. It took guts and a courage I applaud to write a novel like this. The plot is a sensitive one and not for close-minded readers for the subject matter is very taboo. I'm talking incest.
The subject matter is one that would be ridiculed and most people would be disgusted at it but within this story, I couldn't feel disgust but only overwhelming sadness. The main characters and POVs are brother and sister Lochan and Maya Whitely.
They are in the crappiest situation ever. Forced to grow up before their time, Lochan and Maya shoulder all the responsibilities of a parent for their three younger siblings. Their father has walked out on them and their mother is a drunken waitress who can't seem to grow up and be the parent her children so desperately needs. The first half of the novel deals with the constant struggle and strain that the two oldest siblings have to juggle while going to school and trying to keep up. Lochan is probably the most stressed of the two but barrels on anyway because he knows there is no one else.
Lochan is a seventeen year old boy who is a social outcast but brilliant young man, who has to be the adult of the family. He takes care of his younger brothers and sisters. Shopping for them, paying bills and taking them to and from school all while doing these things for himself. His sixteen year old sister Maya is the only one who it seems truly understands him while his pubescent brother Kit constantly makes derisive comments and causes problems and he has to care for the little ones who miss their mother and don't really understand what's going on. They try hard to make things work so that Social Services aren't called and their family unit broken up.
Somewhere along the way Lochan starts feeling less than brotherly attraction for his sister and he isn't alone in his taboo feelings. She realizes that she is in love with her brother. Yes! Her Brother!!
I fought with myself reading this book wondering how she could feel this way and as I read along, because I refused to give up just because the story-line was unconventional, I just couldn't put it down until I was through.
They were physical with each other but didn't go to the point of true physical intimacy till the near end of the story. Needless to say the end of the novel had me blubbering like a baby as I reflected on the sacrifices these teenagers made for their family, their unconventional need for each other and their inability to not feel the way they felt about each other. It was heart-wrenching the decision Lochan made that had me crying like a baby. No matter how taboo the subject matter of the story, I just couldn't dwell on that. It didn't feel wrong after reading the entire story and formulating how they got to that place. I felt raw after reading this story.
This is an incredible novel. If you think you're open-minded enough, have a read!