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Book Review – Take It Back ~ Kia Abdullah

‘Take It Back’ by Kia Abdullah

Genre: Thriller/ Suspense

Published: August 8th 2019 by HQ, HarperCollins UK

Swathi’s Rating: 4/5

Hey guys,

Today I am sharing my thoughts on Kia Abdullah’s famous debut psychological thriller ‘Take It Back’ which is so powerful and magniloquent as promised. Read along the blurb and my thoughts below. Happy reading!! xx


The Victim: A sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, neglected by an alcoholic mother. Who accuses four boys of something unthinkable.

The Defendants: Four handsome teenage boys from hardworking immigrant families. All with corroborating stories.

Someone is lying.

Former barrister Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest young legal minds, takes up Jodie Wolfe’s case; she believes her, even if those closest to Jodie do not.

Jodie and Zara become the centre of the most explosive criminal trial of the year, in which ugly divisions within British society are exposed. As everything around Zara begins to unravel she becomes even more determined to get Jodie the justice she’s looking for. But at what price?


Swathi’s Thoughts:

When a young girl with facial deformities reaches out to former barrister turned caseworker Zara Kaleel and narrates her worst nightmare, Zara knows she’s telling the truth and would do anything to bring justice to the poor girl. But the society and politics won’t let it go easily without a fight that would drag every bit of her reputation into public attention and threaten to destroy her forever!
Zara Kaleel is an interesting character with her Barrister fame. She is bold and beautiful and represents young woman from her community to the world she walks in. An instant pity and sympathy arises in her heart on the first sight of Jodie, who regardless of her deformities is a strong willed girl for her age. As she narrates her horrible rape experience by the boys of her school, Zara is mortified and immediately decides to fight against them. Very soon, Zara’s image as a muslim barrister is reflected back as disgrace to the Muslim community as she supports a white girl against 4 muslim immigrant boys from hardworking families.

We also get to know more about Zara’s strained relationship with her family post her failed one-week long marriage. She struggles to keep up with her fling but fails miserably. Jodie on the other hand gets no support from her alcoholic mother nor her quirky lying BFF from school.

Finally when the trial happens, it’s a nationwide drama as journalists and reporters try to get as close as possible to the characters involved. Kia Abdullah brilliantly plots a powerful subject in the most eloquent way possible. So many messages including class divisions, race, disabilities, rape and disgrace of women, politics are discussed in the book in the honest and brutal manner that affects the society we live in. It’s a case of he said/she said, as the reader is manipulated to believe the third person PoV until the truth comes out by itself.

Very thought provoking and uplifting, this book just blew my mind. It has promised a courtroom drama (which I was very much looking forward to!) but very much resembles a fast paced crime thriller instead! With short and crisp chapters that fly in a jet speed, the readers are easily hooked to Kia’s writing. Honest and brutal, Kia brings out the hard truth in the modern world with such elegance!

Very much recommended to those who love courtroom dramas and thrillers that reflect the society. A strong female lead is what I expected from the book and totally loved Zara Kaleel throughout!
Take a look at what my fellow bloggers have to say!

Meet the Author:

Kia Abdullah is an author and travel writer from London. Her new novel Take It Back is out now (HQ/HarperCollins, Aug 2019).

Kia has contributed to The New York TimesThe GuardianBBC and Lonely Planet, and is the founding editor of outdoor travel blog Atlas & Boots, read by 250,000 people a month.

Pre-order: Take It Back
Newsletter: Girl, Interrupting
Twitter: @kiaabdullah

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