Book Review: Forbidden Friends by Ann- Marie Conway

“She’s the sort of person who puts a brave face on even when she feels like crying.”

― Anne-Marie Conway, Forbidden Friends

A new relationship, a horrific tragedy, and a long-buried deceit are the subjects of this remarkable tale from the author of Butterfly Summer.

Synopsis from Goodreads

When Lizzie and Bee meet on holiday, it feels as if they were always meant to be friends. Escaping their parents and exploring, everything seems perfect in the hot summer sun. As the two girls grow closer however, strange questions rise to the surface… Is Lizzie an only child? Why has Bee’s dad disappeared? And why, as the holiday comes to an end, are the two girls forbidden from seeing each other again? Could one dark secret from the past hold the answer? Could one fateful night keep Lizzie and Bee apart…for ever?

My reaction to this novel...

Since it isn't too long, I merely chose to read this after seeing it on my shelf. I just finished reading it a little over a week ago, and I'm not sure how to feel about it. A pair of girls' perspectives are used to write the book. It wasn't horrible, but I didn't particularly appreciate it because it was intended for adolescents as the target audience was 13 years old. Additionally, perhaps because it was written with teenagers in mind, it was rather lighthearted and gave the impression that individuals can change and recover fast, which struck me as odd considering the nature of the tale and occurrence described in the book.

The author's tone sounds positive, and she utilized simple language. Her storytelling style is one that I truly appreciate. The teen in me could genuinely appreciate it and take pleasure in every aspect of it, but there are many instances when it is so grating that I can't tolerate it. In the story's flow, for instance, the author maintained the secret until around halfway through the narrative, which was excessively sluggish. It seems like the author is unsure on whether or which chapter to include the big reveal, and as a result, every page becomes monotonous. In order to explain what's occurring, I firmly believed that the secret had to be shocking. Yet it isn't. It was surprising, but not in the way I expected, but because of how she presented the twist, as if it were no big issue, which is why it failed to capture my attention and was highly ineffectual. I truly hope she made that turn of events surprising enough to save the narrative.

The treatment Lizzie received from her father following the tragedy is another element of the novel that I considered to be so superficial. Because of how the father responded, I honestly believed she was involved or at fault. It wasn't overprotective, but I think he needs to consult a psychiatrist, and after that big disclosure and of how effortlessly he turned for the better, it was unbelievable. And, with just a simple confrontation, he was able to let go of all his drama after ten years. Who exactly is he kidding here?

The turmoil surrounding Bee's mother is another thing that bothers me. It was an exaggeration. Why was it the only time she reacted that way after ten years had passed? How about the last nine years? Was it only after the tenth year after the tragedy that she became like that? How irrational and overbearing! That pink letter should not have been included either; it was inappropriate for the plot. It happens in a very uncomfortable and annoying way. It seems to imply that Bee is the one who is responsible for the tragedy, which makes me wonder why Bee and her mother need to travel to Spain. The plot of the narrative is so absurd that I find it impossible to imagine it in any other way.

Overall, I find the tale to be tedious; I'm not sure if young adults would find it appealing, but for me, the plot shifts abruptly, as if the author first takes her time with it before suddenly wanting to get to the end because she doesn't want the story either. She must strike a balance in order to give the narrative a satisfying beginning and conclusion since there is no reasonableness in it. I regret to say that I will not suggest it to other adult bookreaders like me.

My Overall Rating: ⭐✨(1.5/5)

Where to buy this book...


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