I first became aware of 2019’s Take It Back by Kia Abdullah when an ARC became available for me to read recently. There were a lot of great reviews online, so I thought I’d give it a chance.
The main character in the novel is Zara Kaleel, a former high-priced London barrister who now works for a non-profit that supports victims of rape and sexual assault.
She is assigned to a case of a 16-year-old Jodie, a white girl with with facial deformities, who is neglected by an alcoholic mother. Jodie is accusing four male Muslim classmates of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin of raping her.
As Zara dives deeper into what happened, she can’t seem to get a straight answer out of anyone, including Jodie. She is also harassed by the Muslim community of which she and her disapproving parents belong to, as well.
What seems like a classic story of she said / he said, becomes so much more with these additional layers of racial and religious tensions.
Take It Back is a well-written tense and harrowing mystery that culminates in an explosive criminal trial. It’s not an easy read though, as the rape description and treatment of the victim could be triggering. I had to take a couple of breaks during reading because of that.
I’m giving Take It Back by Kia Abdullah 4 stars out of 5.
Disclaimer: I received an advance e-book copy for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not compensated in any other way. My opinion is honest, and as always, my own.
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