Purple Prose + symbolism

Books You Can’t Stop Thinking About: Part One

Last summer, I bought the YA novel Forbidden, mostly out of curiosity, but then didn’t have the guts to read it:

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.

First, there was the Ewwww factor, which made me wonder why I bought the book in the first place. Second, based on the full blurb, I knew there wasn’t going to be a happily-ever-after ending, and those are the ones I prefer.

But last week I decided to finally read the book, and ended up loving it. The problem is I couldn’t stop thinking about it once I was finished. I started to wonder, when I wasn’t sobbing, what made it one of my favorite books, and how could I write such a brilliant story, too. A story that left me an emotional wreck long after I finished reading it. So, I analyzed it with the hopes of applying what I learned to future projects.

Characters You Ache For

This book is told from both the point of view of Lochan and Maya. They are the oldest of five children (the youngest is only five years old). Their father left to be with another woman when Lochan was twelve years old. Their mother turned to alcohol and slowly started to distance herself from their lives. And at one point in the book, she is no longer living with the children. So right away, you empathize with the characters due to the strong backstory.

In addition to raising their siblings, Lochan and Maya do everything possible to ensure social services don’t find out about their situation. If it’s discovered their mother has abandoned them, then their family will be torn apart. This powerful backstory explains why Lochan and Maya never felt like they were siblings, and it provides the motivation behind what happens in the climax. Like the two characters, you don’t see them as sibling, but rather two individuals who fell in love.

Great Writing

But the void yawns open like a cavern inside my chest. I feel so damn lonely all the time. Even though I’m surrounded by pupils, there is this invisible screen between us, and behind the glass wall I am screaming—screaming in my own silence, screaming to be noticed, to be befriended, to be liked.(Lochan’s pov)

The writing in Forbidden is beautiful and the emotion intense. Lochan is extremely shy, to the point that he has anxiety attacks when called on in class. This means he’s treated like the class weirdo. You feel his pain, which makes you want to keep reading.

The writing also helps the reader feel Maya’s and Lochan’s pain as they struggle with their love for each other when they know it’s wrong, and when they make sacrifices to keep their family together, while most of their peers are out having fun and being normal teens. And you feel their pain when their secret is discovered. The writing is rich with symbolism and imagery but is true to who they are as individuals. It’s compelling and makes for a great page turner—even when you’re afraid to turn the next page.

Do you strive to write a book that makes people think about it long after they’ve finished reading it? Have you analyzed a book to see how the author achieved this goal?

Part Two of the post will be go up Wednesday. And then you'll see why the book affected me.

analyzing stories, book, characterization, edgy YA, emotion, favorite, hope, imagery, love, love story, Novel, and more:

Books You Can’t Stop Thinking About: Part One + symbolism