Take It Back by Kia Abdullah
St Martin’s Press (December 8, 2020)
Legal Thriller/Domestic Thriller
From author Kia Abdullah, Take It Back is a harrowing and twisting courtroom thriller that keeps you guessing until the last page is turned.
Who is telling the truth?
Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest legal minds, shattered the expectations placed on her by her family and forged a brilliant legal career. But her decisions came at a high cost, and now, battling her own demons, she has exchanged her high profile career for a job at a sexual assault center, helping victims who need her the most. Victims like Jodie Wolfe.
When Jodie, a sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, accuses four boys in her class of an unthinkable crime, the community is torn apart. After all, these four teenage defendants are from hard-working immigrant families and they all have proven alibis. Even Jodie’s best friend doesn’t believe her.
But Zara does—and she is determined to fight for Jodie—to find the truth in the face of public outcry. And as issues of sex, race and social justice collide, the most explosive criminal trial of the year builds to a shocking conclusion.
“I just want to take it back.”
Take It Back is not an easy read. It is centered around four Muslim boys accused of raping a disfigured white girl. Then there is Zara, also a Muslim, who is helping the girl secure justice. The fact that she is a Muslim on the other side of the trial causes friction in her family and community. She also has a few personal demons that haunt her. Take It Back deals with a variety of emotions, from guilt, fear, regret, lies, vindication, sexism, social justice, and racism. There are several twists and I changed my mind multiple times during reading as to whether the boys raped her or if she made the story up. I liked that it’s a good captivating, suspenseful mystery that kept me guessing until the end. We see both sides of the arguments and how things happen during this type of trial. A powerful read on a difficult subject. The characters were complex, has a good plot, and the fact that I couldn’t predict the ending made me enjoy even more. This would make a great book club pick.
Reviewed by Comfy Chair Books/Lisa Reigel (December 7, 2020)
US ARC copy provided by St. Martin’s Publishing Group via Negalley
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kia Abdullah is an author and travel writer from London. She has contributed to The New York Times, The Guardian, BBC and Lonely Planet, and is the founding editor of outdoor travel blog Atlas & Boots, read by 250,000 people a month. Kia’s new novel, Take It Back, is out now (HQ/HarperCollins, March 2020).