Take It Back
Take It Back is a gripping courtroom drama, perfect for fans of Apple Tree Yard, He Said/She Said and Anatomy of a Scandal.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?

Take It Back Details

TitleTake It Back
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 8th, 2019
PublisherHarperCollins Publishers
ISBN-139780008314675
Rating
GenreThriller, Mystery, Mystery Thriller, Crime, Fiction

Take It Back Review

  • Maureen
    January 1, 1970
    *4.5 stars*Jodie Wolfe is a white 16 year old girl with horrific facial deformities - she’s had a really difficult life, the constant taunting and bullying about her looks, not to mention an alcoholic mother who’s always concurred with other people’s perceptions of Jodie, basically that she’s ugly, and she’s happy to voice that opinion to Jodie on a daily basis. However when Jodie accuses four teenage boys from hard working immigrant families of rape, her life will take yet another turn for the *4.5 stars*Jodie Wolfe is a white 16 year old girl with horrific facial deformities - she’s had a really difficult life, the constant taunting and bullying about her looks, not to mention an alcoholic mother who’s always concurred with other people’s perceptions of Jodie, basically that she’s ugly, and she’s happy to voice that opinion to Jodie on a daily basis. However when Jodie accuses four teenage boys from hard working immigrant families of rape, her life will take yet another turn for the worse.What follows is the story of what really happened that June night, but we the readers are not privy to the truth until much later in the book, and believe me, you’ll be kept on tenterhooks before that truth is finally revealed.Former barrister turned rape counsellor Zara Kaleel, is enlisted to help Jodie through the trauma she has suffered, and also to prepare her for the upcoming court proceedings. Zara is a Muslim, (as are the accused boys), and as the case proceeds it will lead to her being called a traitor, (and much worse) in her own community, resulting in some very ugly and violent scenes. Because of her accusations, Jodie also becomes a target for the ever present internet trolls.The author takes us down a long and twisty road, never knowing who is telling the truth - I changed my mind on numerous occasions, but was still shocked by the reveal.This is much more than a courtroom drama, it’s about the divisions in society, the issues of race, religion and misogyny, and the author hasn’t shied away from any of these difficult topics.This is an immensely powerful, emotional and thought provoking read, - and extremely disturbing at times. It’s a case of who’s telling the truth, who’s lying, who did what, and who didn’t! Ultimately though, it’s one of the best ‘whodunnit’s that I’ve read ! Highly recommended.* Thank you to Netgalley and HQ for my ARC. I have given an honest unbiased review in exchange *
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  • jessica
    January 1, 1970
    i dont like telling people what to do, but this book comes out in less than two weeks and it needs to go on everyones TBR list N O W! holy crap. this is a shocking ride. it grabbed my attention right from the first page and never let go. what seems like a pretty open and shut case becomes a tangled mess of he said, she said. literally. i went from moments of believing the stories of both jodie and the boys accused, to not believing a single thing anyone said, to finally being shocked speechless. i dont like telling people what to do, but this book comes out in less than two weeks and it needs to go on everyones TBR list N O W! holy crap. this is a shocking ride. it grabbed my attention right from the first page and never let go. what seems like a pretty open and shut case becomes a tangled mess of he said, she said. literally. i went from moments of believing the stories of both jodie and the boys accused, to not believing a single thing anyone said, to finally being shocked speechless. my favourite part is the second half of the story - when the court room drama begins. i love watching court proceedings that are broadcasted for high profile cases and this feels like the reader is watching a living, breathing court case. i cant begin to describe how realistic this is, with so many relevant and hard hitting points on rape, women in male dominated work environments, race and religion, cultural gender roles, and violence. this is really well written and so applicable to many things that happen in todays society. a definite must read for investigatory crime enthusiasts. so go add this to your TBRs immediately - im watching you! :PPS. quick shout out to the author, the lovely kia abdullah. thank you so much for including me in this marketing campaign and sending me an ARC! you are honestly one of the sweetest human beings on the planet and it has been such a pleasure to read your book. i wish it (and you) nothing but the success and attention it deserves. cant wait to see what you write next!! ↠ 4.5 stars
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  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    Kia Abdullah writes a brilliant, powerful, moving and intelligent psychological thriller and courtroom drama that pushes all the buttons as it lays bare all the ugly divisions and prejudices in our contemporary world, including race, class, disabilities, religion, politicsl and culture. This was a deeply unsettling and uncomfortable hard hitting read, with such well executed storytelling that it felt all too real and authentic, and which could so easily be true. Jodie Wolfe is a white 16 year ol Kia Abdullah writes a brilliant, powerful, moving and intelligent psychological thriller and courtroom drama that pushes all the buttons as it lays bare all the ugly divisions and prejudices in our contemporary world, including race, class, disabilities, religion, politicsl and culture. This was a deeply unsettling and uncomfortable hard hitting read, with such well executed storytelling that it felt all too real and authentic, and which could so easily be true. Jodie Wolfe is a white 16 year old girl born with facial deformities, living on a London estate with her alcoholic mother that she cares for. She confides being raped at a warehouse by Amir Rabbani, Hassan Tanweer, Mohammed Ahmed and Farid Khan, 4 hard working Muslim Asian classmates, from immigrant families, to Zara Kaleel who works at a abused women's charity.The Muslim Zara had a short lived arranged marriage, left behind a glittering legal career and is estranged from her family. She believes Jodie, even though those close to Jodie do not, and is driven to fight for justice in the tense and explosive courtroom trial that follows, one which attracts such a huge media focus that raise community, political, social and religious tensions sky high. It is a case of he said/she said as the reader ping pongs from believing one side and then the other. The alarming community hostility directed at Zara is beyond belief, as indeed is the hate directed at Jodie. The Anglian Defense League exploit the tensions, directing their hatred against Muslims. This turns out to be such twisted tale with its surprising true revelations that come at the end.This is multilayered and complex storytelling with a compulsive and gripping narrative and skilful stellar characterisation. Jodie is a teenager, who feels all the normal teen hormonal urges with all her intense emotional feelings for a popular and gifted immigrant boy at school, and Zara is unafraid of being critical about her community. This is a thought provoking read with its portrayal of our disturbing times that I think will appeal to many readers. Many thanks to HarperCollins and HQ for an ARC.
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  • Nadia
    January 1, 1970
    ⭐ Published today! ⭐Wow! This book surprised me in the best possible way! The subdued cover and the unassuming title had me fooled and it was only thanks to the glowing reviews that I picked this up. Set in the present day London, this is a brilliant court room drama about a rape trial that becomes much more and turns into a trial about race.Jodie is a 16 year old girl with a face deformity and is used to being ridiculed by others. She has a crush on Amir, one of the most popular boys at school ⭐ Published today! ⭐Wow! This book surprised me in the best possible way! The subdued cover and the unassuming title had me fooled and it was only thanks to the glowing reviews that I picked this up. Set in the present day London, this is a brilliant court room drama about a rape trial that becomes much more and turns into a trial about race.Jodie is a 16 year old girl with a face deformity and is used to being ridiculed by others. She has a crush on Amir, one of the most popular boys at school and so when Amir approaches her and suggests going to an abandoned warehouse, Jodie is happy to go with him. Amir's friends Hassan, Mo and Farid are also at the warehouse and start making fun of Amir for hanging out with Jodie. The series of events that follow are described differently by Jodie and by the 4 Muslim boys. At the heart of the story is Zara Kaleel, Jodie's rape counsellor who is Muslim herself. Zara is a former barrister who refuses to succumb to old tradition and be an obedient Muslim wife. Zara wants justice for Jodie despite the disapproval of her family and local community. "Oppression spreads when women like you tell their daughters to marry a certain man, or wear a certain dress, or work a certain job. It happens when women like you tell us - gently and with all the love in the word - not to peek above the parapet, instead to stay at home, to be quiet, to be kind, to be good." Take It Back was not a light read by any means. It explores a number of issues in the modern society giving its readers some food for thought, while having us guessing who is telling the truth until the very last page.4.5 starsMany thanks to HQ for my review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Louise Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    Jodie is a sixteen year old white girl with facial deformities who has been neglected all her life by her alcoholic mother. She accuses four Muslim boys of raping her. But who is telling the truth?This is much more that your usual courtroom drama. It deals with religion, class status, gender and prejudice against race. Zara is a rape counsellor who is dealing with her own issues. Zara believes Jodie and she will fight for her. When the case gets to court, the media's involvement aa stirs up prej Jodie is a sixteen year old white girl with facial deformities who has been neglected all her life by her alcoholic mother. She accuses four Muslim boys of raping her. But who is telling the truth?This is much more that your usual courtroom drama. It deals with religion, class status, gender and prejudice against race. Zara is a rape counsellor who is dealing with her own issues. Zara believes Jodie and she will fight for her. When the case gets to court, the media's involvement aa stirs up prejudice and racism on both sides. It's quite a hard book to read due to its difficult content but it was also honest, believable and current. A heartbreaking story that unfortunately far too many are scared to tell.I would like to thank NetGalley, HQ and the author Kia Abdullah for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Whispering Stories
    January 1, 1970
    Book Reviewed on www.whisperingstories.comJodie Wolfe is a sixteen-year-old white girl with facial deformities, who has had a hard life. She lives in a council flat with her alcoholic mother who blames her for ruining her life with her looks. She is also constantly bullied and the family has next to no money.Jodie is surprised when attending a house party that the most popular and sexiest boy in her school, Amir Rabbani, wants to make out with her. He leads her away from the party and to a nearb Book Reviewed on www.whisperingstories.comJodie Wolfe is a sixteen-year-old white girl with facial deformities, who has had a hard life. She lives in a council flat with her alcoholic mother who blames her for ruining her life with her looks. She is also constantly bullied and the family has next to no money.Jodie is surprised when attending a house party that the most popular and sexiest boy in her school, Amir Rabbani, wants to make out with her. He leads her away from the party and to a nearby disused building.When they arrive three of his friends turn up. What happens next is one girl’s word against four young lads words. Jodie accuses three of the boy’s of rape but the boys stories all collaborate and they swear that they never touched Jodie.With rape councillor Zara Kaleel, once a promising young lawyer on her side Jodie prepares to go to court but with doubt creeping in both directions this is going to a huge case, one that has already been leaked to the media and they are having a field day with it, especially when they realise that three Asian lads from immigrant families might just have raped a white girl.All I can say is OMG this book is so amazing. This is how you capture your audience and keep them entertained throughout. The story is explosive and hard to swallow at times, especially when the media get wind of the case and blow everything up for clickbait or to sell more papers.Jodie is a young girl who has had a rough ride. Imagine being the laughing stock of your school, being so poor you can barely eat and having a mother (no father or siblings) that blames you for her life being a mess and is mainly found either drinking or passed out. Her mother also doesn’t believe a work Jodie says and won’t help her with the trial, neither will those she thought were her friends.The four young lads – Amir Rabbani, Hassan Tanweer, Mohammed Ahmed and Farid Khan – three who have been accused of rape, one who was present but didn’t touch Jodie, are all from hard-working immigrant families. They are well respected in their community and their friends and families don’t believe any of them could be capable of rape.Councillor Zara loves her job. she is sometimes reckless, emotionally cut-off from her family and any potential partners and relies heavily on prescription drugs to get her through the day, and sometimes to give her a high. Zara herself didn’t have it easy growing up and after being in an arranged marriage and then getting divorced she became an outsider to her family a disappointment, she is determined that no-one else feels like that, ever.The book deals with all three sides but told in the third person. You are given both sides of what happened regarding the rape and watch it play out. There were things that Jodie did that I questioned and the same with the lads and their families. There are a lot of layers to the book which you have to peel back the further you get into the story. It is one of those books that you really want to get to the end to find out the truth but you don’t as you don’t want the book to finish.The plot will play with your emotions. I don’t mean that it will make you upset but in that, you will feel anger for Jodie at the life she’s led and what has happened to her. Furious with the news outlets who see the court case as a means to sell their papers and they don’t give a damn about anyone’s feelings. Pity for Zara at what she has been through but empathy for the life she created for herself. As I said, it is emotional and also draining at times but it is well worth your time.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    I don't usually go for those 'if you like..., then you'll love...' type recommendations, but seriously, if you like Jodi Picoult, this is a book for you. Kia Abdullah mirrors Picoult's winning formula with flair: a he said/she said crime, a contentious issue developed though multiple points of view, and absolutely no sense of the 'truth' until right at the end.Cleverly done, with complex characters and a well-developed plot, the book has all the hallmarks of a summer blockbuster. But it's more t I don't usually go for those 'if you like..., then you'll love...' type recommendations, but seriously, if you like Jodi Picoult, this is a book for you. Kia Abdullah mirrors Picoult's winning formula with flair: a he said/she said crime, a contentious issue developed though multiple points of view, and absolutely no sense of the 'truth' until right at the end.Cleverly done, with complex characters and a well-developed plot, the book has all the hallmarks of a summer blockbuster. But it's more than that too. In addressing the kind of issues at the heart of contemporary social, political, religious, and cultural divisions, the author offers up enough sharp commentary to leave you bleeding. It's horrifyingly plausible, the kind of story that makes you question yourself as much as the characters. Who do I believe and why? And what does that say about me....? It can be an uncomfortable experience, but all the more compelling for it.ARC via Netgalley
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    I don’t usually read courtroom dramas, but I am, so I glad I did. Kia Abdullah’s Take it Back is an Amazing, powerful, controversial court room drama, that everyone will be taking about once it has been released.16-year-old Jodie Wolfe is a white girl with facial deformities. She is bullied at school and taunted everywhere she goes. She lives on a rundown London estate with her Alcoholic mother who neglects her. Zara Kaleel is an ex-barrister, now working for a sexual referral centre where Jodie I don’t usually read courtroom dramas, but I am, so I glad I did. Kia Abdullah’s Take it Back is an Amazing, powerful, controversial court room drama, that everyone will be taking about once it has been released.16-year-old Jodie Wolfe is a white girl with facial deformities. She is bullied at school and taunted everywhere she goes. She lives on a rundown London estate with her Alcoholic mother who neglects her. Zara Kaleel is an ex-barrister, now working for a sexual referral centre where Jodie goes to and confesses that she has been raped by 4 Muslim boys that go to her school. Four boys that come from immigrant families. She needs to share her story. By doing this, Jodie doesn’t realise what the consequences of her actions are. Her mother and her best friend don’t believe her as the four boys claim their innocence the case goes to court. Wow what can I say about this book. This is such a powerful and controversial story about Race, culture, class and race. The author keeps you captivated throughout. I thought it was cleverly written. I didn’t know where to turn. First you feel sorry for Jodie but some things she said, but then you here from the four boys you think differently. It was a case of he said, she said, and you wondered who was telling the truth. And the ending didn’t see that coming. Not going to say anymore you will have to buy it yourself and read it once it’s released. I highly recommend. Thank you NetGalley and HQ for a copy of this amazing book.
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  • The Book Review Café
    January 1, 1970
    Take It Back by Kia Abdullah is a modern day story that explores some pretty tough but current themes, sexual assault, racial tensions, prejudice, and poverty. Some readers may give this book a wide berth because of the subjects mentioned, personally I would ask you to think again, its one of those books that offers so much more, it’s a book that’s thought provoking, a relevant if not disturbing tale of our times. This is one of those books that would make the perfect book club read, it explores Take It Back by Kia Abdullah is a modern day story that explores some pretty tough but current themes, sexual assault, racial tensions, prejudice, and poverty. Some readers may give this book a wide berth because of the subjects mentioned, personally I would ask you to think again, its one of those books that offers so much more, it’s a book that’s thought provoking, a relevant if not disturbing tale of our times. This is one of those books that would make the perfect book club read, it explores current and relevant topics that will make for lively, thought-provoking discussions.Sixteen-year-old Jodie Wolfe enters a sexual referral centre, wanting to share her story, she reveals an appalling tale to lawyer Zara Kaleel, a horrific crime has been committed and Jodie firmly points the finger at four Muslim boys. This sets the scene for an explosive courtroom thriller, where no one could foresee the far-reaching consequences for Jodie, Zara, four teenage boys, their families and the local Muslim community. It’s very much a case of ‘she said’ versus ‘they said’ but whose to be believed? Jodie a young girl who is bullied and tormented for her facial deformities, dragged up by an alcoholic mother? Or the four teenage boys, handsome, popular and from decent hardworking families? The odds aren’t stacked in Jodie’s favour that’s for sure! Jodie Wolfe couldn’t foresee her case would develop into a high profile one, steeped in controversy, where everyone has an opinion, and sides are taken. Kia Abdullah ensures the reader is kept captivated, with a cast of unreliable characters, it’s nigh on impossible to know who to believe. Truth and lies become blurred, the opinions of professionals, the evidence from witnesses, I found my thoughts constantly changing throughout the court scenes, making for a tense and unpredictable read. Characters are such an essential part of a well-told story, and the author has created some exceptional ones, Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest young legal minds appears strong and determined but look under the flawless, public front and you will find a woman burdened with guilt at not being the perfect ‘Muslim girl’ that her family want her to be. Then you have Jodie who will pull at your heartstrings, dragged up by a mother who resents her, bullied and ridiculed by her peers for being disfigured, her story is desperately sad and yet very credible. There are other characters that will make your blood boil, or rouse sympathy but one thing I can guarantee you, you will question each one’s variation of the truth! The author keeps the reader on tenterhooks almost to the very last page, there were many surprises hidden within the pages that were unexpected but added to the over all tension. I have seen reviews that compare Zara Kaleel‘s writing to that of best seller Jodi Picoult, in many ways I would have to agree, the format feels the same, but I think the author has created her own style, the court scenes felt far more tense and hard-hitting, and I found the characters to be more relatable, the plot to be far from predictable. Take It Back is a touching and powerful novel that makes for a disquieting read but it’s one I would highly recommend to those who appreciate a count drama, with a challenging storyline. All my reviews can be found at http://thebookreviewcafe.com
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  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    Taut, Gritty, Compelling and DarkJodie has facial deformities and has struggled all her life to, well do anything and to be accepted for who she is...She has accused 4 Muslim boys of gang raping herZara, a Muslim herself and ex top lawyer now defender of victims of sexual crime takes the case onShe knows EXACTLY what she is taking on, how her community will react and how difficult it will be, a Muslim against 4 Muslims...what she isn’t expecting is what actually happens..Based around the court c Taut, Gritty, Compelling and DarkJodie has facial deformities and has struggled all her life to, well do anything and to be accepted for who she is...She has accused 4 Muslim boys of gang raping herZara, a Muslim herself and ex top lawyer now defender of victims of sexual crime takes the case onShe knows EXACTLY what she is taking on, how her community will react and how difficult it will be, a Muslim against 4 Muslims...what she isn’t expecting is what actually happens..Based around the court case and questioning of both sides ( although a lot of the book isn’t just the court case ) the story leads towards the verdict and I felt it was real, I invested in the story, the defence and prosecution and came to my conclusion!!Zara is brilliant but at times unlikeable in her role and the samecan be said for everyone in the book!You will topsy turvy your virrs throughout!The ending was a shock, the then next ending was even more of a shockThe writing is very real to life, no punches pulled here, no niceties observed and the subject matter is difficult at times to read but unavoidableYou will feel like your are enveloped in this case and the unseen jurorA fascinating, uncomfortable at times but brilliantly written book that asks as much as tells and will stay with you!!10/105 Stars
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  • Bookread2day
    January 1, 1970
    This story is quite heartbreaking specially at the beginning and is honestly, literally a page turner. I couldn't put it down. I do very highly recommend Take it Back to all crime fans. Author Kia Abdullah is a fantastic writer, the idea for this novel is absolutely brilliant, I don't think I've read a book with a twist in so good. I'm keeping a close look out for future books by Kia Abdullah. I will admit I don't like watching any TV court drama series, but do like reading court room drama book This story is quite heartbreaking specially at the beginning and is honestly, literally a page turner. I couldn't put it down. I do very highly recommend Take it Back to all crime fans. Author Kia Abdullah is a fantastic writer, the idea for this novel is absolutely brilliant, I don't think I've read a book with a twist in so good. I'm keeping a close look out for future books by Kia Abdullah. I will admit I don't like watching any TV court drama series, but do like reading court room drama books. I've read Anatomy of a Scandal, He said/She Said and Apple Tree Yard which this book is just as equally as good as these three. Take it Back is a fictional court room drama story, about Jodie and Nina who are best of friends. Nina is busy dancing with some guy. Amir Rabbani want Jodie to go to a secret place with him. On the night of Thursday 27th June, Jodie makes a statement to police that four Muslim boys, Amir Rabbani, Hassan Tanweer, Mohammed Ahmed, and Farid Khan had raped her. She didn't tell her friend Nina what had happened because for one particular reason Jodie didn't think Nina would believe her. The court case is going to prove that Jodie Wolfe was raped. But during this court case, someone is lying, but who and more importantly why? A lot happens throughout Take it Back & I have left out a lot of important little details about this page turning court drama book, I have left out as I don't want to do a spoiler.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    Powerful and moving. Full review to follow nearer publication.
  • Christina McDonald
    January 1, 1970
    Magnificent, gripping and fiercely intelligent, Take It Back is simply stunning. I literally took a day off work, put away my laptop and turned everything off just so I could finish it. There was never a point where I guessed the truth, and every chapter that sped by had me flipping my opinion as to what I believed.This book addresses the kind of social issues we all hear about every day, laying bare ugly divisions in politics, religion, culture, class and race. The premise is horrifyingly plaus Magnificent, gripping and fiercely intelligent, Take It Back is simply stunning. I literally took a day off work, put away my laptop and turned everything off just so I could finish it. There was never a point where I guessed the truth, and every chapter that sped by had me flipping my opinion as to what I believed.This book addresses the kind of social issues we all hear about every day, laying bare ugly divisions in politics, religion, culture, class and race. The premise is horrifyingly plausible: a white teenage girl with facial deformities accuses four Muslim boys from hard-working immigrant families of rape. But all of the boys have corroborating stories. So who is lying?Take It Back is perfect for those who love crime thrillers or legal thrillers, but also hits that sweet spot addressing highly relevant contemporary issues. It’s an enthralling story that will keep readers not only gripped, but asking themselves uncomfortable questions about society and the role they play in it. I highly recommend!Thank you to the publisher for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Samm
    January 1, 1970
    Take It Back isn’t a bad book it just feels a bit pointless. I’m not left with any strong feelings of love or hate...perhaps annoyance that such a good plot idea could be executed so poorly. A lot of this book is strong islamophobia, I don’t think this was the authors intention but there isn’t a single nice word about Muslims in this book. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Also Zara is a complete Mary-Sue of a character, she’s supposed to come across as strong and empowered but I thought s Take It Back isn’t a bad book it just feels a bit pointless. I’m not left with any strong feelings of love or hate...perhaps annoyance that such a good plot idea could be executed so poorly. A lot of this book is strong islamophobia, I don’t think this was the authors intention but there isn’t a single nice word about Muslims in this book. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Also Zara is a complete Mary-Sue of a character, she’s supposed to come across as strong and empowered but I thought she was irritating and got away with far too much.As I said this isn’t a bad book but after writing my review and seeing how I wasn’t able to mention anything positive....well just maybe it is.
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  • Andi
    January 1, 1970
    Wow!This book is full on, right in the middle of the action, all the way through there's no let up.I thought the author wrote this brilliantly, after I had read part of it through #pigeonhole I found myself thinking about it during the day.It had emotions running riot all the way through it.I found myself feeling saddened by the content many times but it was good to see it from other's perspective.I will be looking out for more by this author.
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  • Priya Shrinath
    January 1, 1970
    Full review @ https://wp.me/pajm6f-pDWhen 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 Full review @ https://wp.me/pajm6f-pDWhen 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!
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    Take It Back by Kia Abdullah is a fast paced contemporary crime thriller that will consume and horrify. Kia Abdullah is a fantastic author grabbing the reader’s attention from the start. She writes in such a powerful way that the storyline feels realistic and totally believable.Set in multicultural London there are tensions within the local population which escalate during the trial. Hatred rises to the surface as revenge is sought.Part of the novel is set in a courtroom. Here there is the quest Take It Back by Kia Abdullah is a fast paced contemporary crime thriller that will consume and horrify. Kia Abdullah is a fantastic author grabbing the reader’s attention from the start. She writes in such a powerful way that the storyline feels realistic and totally believable.Set in multicultural London there are tensions within the local population which escalate during the trial. Hatred rises to the surface as revenge is sought.Part of the novel is set in a courtroom. Here there is the question of trust. Who is telling the truth? Who is lying? How will the jury decide?The press prowl around like a pack of hyenas, refusing to take no for an answer.A committed female lawyer fights for the underdog, risking losing her family and respect as well as angering her religious community. She is a likable character who has her own demons to fight.Take It Back was a hard hitting novel. It was not a pleasant read but it was a powerful one and excellently written. I read it in just one sitting clinging on to the end – and wow what an ending it was! No way did I spot that one coming. It would make a fabulous BBC drama.I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.A word of caution: Take It Back was a novel with adult themes and language that some readers may not like. If you read to escape or are easily offended by content, then this is not the novel for you.
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  • Karen Whittard
    January 1, 1970
    This thing isnt usually my cup of tea. But do you know what I actually loved this book. I am a massive fan of all things true crime of Netflix and I think that’s why I liked this book. Because everything wasn’t quite what you thought it was. When you thought that you knew what was going on you were thrown a curve ball and you would have to try and piece it together again. The writing style of this book and he pacing is all really good and I will be looking out for more books by this author in th This thing isnt usually my cup of tea. But do you know what I actually loved this book. I am a massive fan of all things true crime of Netflix and I think that’s why I liked this book. Because everything wasn’t quite what you thought it was. When you thought that you knew what was going on you were thrown a curve ball and you would have to try and piece it together again. The writing style of this book and he pacing is all really good and I will be looking out for more books by this author in the future.
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  • Bella Jones
    January 1, 1970
    One of my favourite books of 2019! Essentially a legal drama, but also so much more than that. Rich and multi-layered Take it Back holds up a mirror to British society exposing the divisions and prejudices which can ignite violent hatred between communities of different cultures. Wholly compulsive, occasionally uncomfortable, this is a compelling story which stays with the reader long after the novel’s conclusion.The main plot concerns itself with Jodie’s allegation of gang rape. Jodie, a white One of my favourite books of 2019! Essentially a legal drama, but also so much more than that. Rich and multi-layered Take it Back holds up a mirror to British society exposing the divisions and prejudices which can ignite violent hatred between communities of different cultures. Wholly compulsive, occasionally uncomfortable, this is a compelling story which stays with the reader long after the novel’s conclusion.The main plot concerns itself with Jodie’s allegation of gang rape. Jodie, a white girl with severe facial deformities, living on an estate with her neglectful, alcoholic mother, versus four Asian Muslim boys with hard working immigrant parents. The story begins with Jodie making her allegation to Zara and then progresses through the court case. The reader learns of the events from different time points and perspectives; which makes it thrillingly compulsive. Who does the reader believe? And, crucially, why? As the case progresses, different factions clash violently as they link the case to race and religion. This caused me to reflect on my own prejudices, as a white woman, the daughter of immigrant lapsed-Catholic parents, living in multi-cultural London. The multi-perspective narrative is also effective as a symbol of the case itself. There should have been one voice: that of victim Jodie and then of each of the defendants; but there were many voices beyond the courtroom that claim the narrative for their own agendas because the case came to represent more than rape.Inextricably linked, is the subplot of Zara’s own story. As a Muslim woman born in Britain, Zara has already defied traditional expectations by embarking on a legal career. Now she is prosecuting four Asian boys who are accused of a heinous crime by a white girl from an underprivileged background. This causes friction in her family and aggressive hostility in their Asian community. Abdullah presents the challenge of unifying the conflicting forces of tradition versus progression experienced by Muslim women growing up in Britain, with astute effectiveness. The I enjoyed the characters which are well developed and believable, the plot twists made for unputdownable reading and leave the reader questioning not only the characters but the reader’s own perspective and perhaps even prejudice.One point I questioned personally, relates to the “Anglican Defence League”. Understandably, names of organisations e.g. newspapers, far-right groups etc. were changed in the novel. The group depicted as the “Anglican Defence League” I took to be a thinly veiled portrayal of the English Defence League, an Islamaphobic, English nationalist, far-right social movement. The name “Anglican” refers to the Anglican church (a.k.a. Church of England), which whilst a western Christian tradition, does not feature prejudice towards non-western culture in its doctrine. Had the word “Anglian” (meaning English) been used instead, this would have made it a non-denominational far-right organisation. The difference is simultaneously small (just one letter “c”) and significant, as it (I felt perhaps unfairly) ascribed extremist characteristics to one denomination. This may well be the author’s intention. I accept extremist organisations comprised of people with (predominantly) English Christian backgrounds do exist in Britain. For me, however, the ascription of this extremist group to a single denomination did not sit comfortably. I found myself wondering why this made me uncomfortable? My understanding is informed by the belief that Christianity like Islam (whilst both have a history of factions persecuting ‘non-believers’) both have love at the heart of their doctrine. Love is many things including tolerance of other faiths. I am not religious, but I am white European from a lapsed Christian (Roman Catholic) background, so perhaps the fact that I picked up on this, reflects my own prejudice. Or perhaps my perspective is naive or simplistic. It certainly gave me pause and any book which makes a reader reflect on their own attitudes and perceptions towards such important issues, is a worthwhile read!
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  • Karen Barber
    January 1, 1970
    A compelling read, and I’m grateful to NetGalley for allowing me the chance to read this prior to publication.When we first meet Jodie Wolfe, she’s walking into a Rape Crisis centre asking for help. At sixteen, and with extreme facial deformities, Jodie has become accustomed to abuse. As she relays her experience, the reader cannot help but feel sympathy for her. Her physical appearance is not the issue here, but when she starts to blame herself for what happened because she thought someone was A compelling read, and I’m grateful to NetGalley for allowing me the chance to read this prior to publication.When we first meet Jodie Wolfe, she’s walking into a Rape Crisis centre asking for help. At sixteen, and with extreme facial deformities, Jodie has become accustomed to abuse. As she relays her experience, the reader cannot help but feel sympathy for her. Her physical appearance is not the issue here, but when she starts to blame herself for what happened because she thought someone was physically interested in her you can’t help but wince.The details of her attack by four of her classmates are - understandably - difficult to read. The courage someone in her position shows cannot be underestimated. The way this story is told focuses most of our attention on ex-barrister, Zara, who is determined to support this young girl because she believes her. We follow Zara as she supports Jodie in preparing to go to trial, and the inevitable fallout this causes as the boys Jodie accuses are ‘good Muslim boys’, well-respected in their community, and Zara’s involvement is quickly seen as evidence of her turning against her faith.The nature of the case means so much depends on the reliability of witnesses. Four against one. No matter how strong the case seems to be, these are hard odds to beat. Our narrative swiftly turns to the trial and the various attempts to undermine credibility of witnesses. We also deal with growing unrest in the community, and some awful behaviours as so many people try to appropriate events to suit their own ends.It’s crucial that you go into this not knowing where this is going. Nothing is what it seems. We get to learn the truth, but talk about a Pyrrhic victory. Few come out of this story well, but it’s a must-read in my opinion.
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  • Sue Plant
    January 1, 1970
    would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this gripping courtroom dramaa young girl is raped, she suffers from hideous deformities like the elephant man4 young men are accused of raping her all deny this, they are all young men from muslim familiesthe girl is white and english and comes from a single parent family...this book hits all the marks but it is so well written it makes for a gripping read as you follow the drama during the court case and the aftermath of all t would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this gripping courtroom dramaa young girl is raped, she suffers from hideous deformities like the elephant man4 young men are accused of raping her all deny this, they are all young men from muslim familiesthe girl is white and english and comes from a single parent family...this book hits all the marks but it is so well written it makes for a gripping read as you follow the drama during the court case and the aftermath of all that comes with it....oh my word could not put this book down and that ending...wow
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  • Mistress #darklings
    January 1, 1970
    The subject of this book is very “on trend “. It is relevant and relatable to the world on the whole at the moment. It deals with things like race, power and legal procedures. These topics, as we all know, have a tendency to be explosive at the best of times. What this book has on offer is definitely NOT, the best of times. The author is frank and brutal in their approach to it all, which is fantastic for the reader as you are pulled into the novel and end up having your emotions put through the The subject of this book is very “on trend “. It is relevant and relatable to the world on the whole at the moment. It deals with things like race, power and legal procedures. These topics, as we all know, have a tendency to be explosive at the best of times. What this book has on offer is definitely NOT, the best of times. The author is frank and brutal in their approach to it all, which is fantastic for the reader as you are pulled into the novel and end up having your emotions put through the wringer as you hear each characters point of view. One of them guaranteed to get your back up and make your blood boil, whereas others will have your heart breaking, a lump in your throat and tears streaming. I’ll definitely be recommending this to everyone. To sum it up and to be completely honest.....It’s bloody brilliant! (Excuse my language but seriously....I stand by it). Definitely, pick this up!Thank you to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for my arc. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.
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  • Honestmamreader
    January 1, 1970
    "The Victim: A sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, neglected by an alcoholic mother. Who accuses the boys of something unthinkable.The Defendants: Four handsome teenage boys from hardworking immigrant families. All with corroborating stories.Whose side would you take?"                        ✨✨✨✨✨✨✨This story is hard-hitting in its subject matter of rape, but the sensitive issue is handled well.It also deals with issues of prejudice towards race, gender, religion and class status. The "The Victim: A sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, neglected by an alcoholic mother. Who accuses the boys of something unthinkable.The Defendants: Four handsome teenage boys from hardworking immigrant families. All with corroborating stories.Whose side would you take?"                        ✨✨✨✨✨✨✨This story is hard-hitting in its subject matter of rape, but the sensitive issue is handled well.It also deals with issues of prejudice towards race, gender, religion and class status. There were some elements of this story telling I found hard to read. However, it was a good eye-opener to what is actually going on in the world around us. And sometimes it's not pretty 😯 "You want life in neat and predictable boxes when it’s actually a river of shit."Zara, the rape counsellor in this story is a strong female character. She is also dealing with her own issues in life. The same goes for Jodie. Her life hasn't been a bed of roses 🌹 a facial deformity, her father walking out on her, an alcoholic mother, poverty and now she has been allegedly raped."Women aren’t born warriors; we learn to fight because we have to."As the reader we don't know the truth. It definitely is a tale of 'he says/she says' but who is telling the truth? I honestly changed my mind a few times during the course of the story 🤔 I would recommend this book to those who like a mystery to solve and are able to handle some controversial issues. Prepare yourself for a journey of emotions though. It's a story that stays with you long after you've closed the book 😊"You will always care what people think of you – that’s just the way of the world – but you can decide how you act in return. You can choose to be cruel like them to make yourself feel tall, or you can treat others with kindness to balance out the shortfall...There will be moments in your life when you must decide in an instant." @kiaabdullahThank you to @netgalley and @harpercollinsuk for my advanced reading copy in return for an honest review 😊Publication date is August 8th (make a note in your calendars to get this book 👍🏻) #takeitback #kiaabdullah #bookreview #honestmamreaderreview #bookstagram #ilovebooks #reading📖 #reviewbook
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  • peggy
    January 1, 1970
    A taught and gripping court room drama. Powerful, shocking and heartbraking and definitely not what I was expecting. This read is so much more. Personally I have run the gamit of all my emotions. Oh and did I mention the massive twist at the end. A FANTASTIC READ, a new author and this read will stay with me long after I have finished the last page. Do I need to say anymore? An easy five stars and so Highly Recommended. I would like to thank the author, Random House UK and Netgalley for the ARC A taught and gripping court room drama. Powerful, shocking and heartbraking and definitely not what I was expecting. This read is so much more. Personally I have run the gamit of all my emotions. Oh and did I mention the massive twist at the end. A FANTASTIC READ, a new author and this read will stay with me long after I have finished the last page. Do I need to say anymore? An easy five stars and so Highly Recommended. I would like to thank the author, Random House UK and Netgalley for the ARC in return for giving an honest review.
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  • Rona
    January 1, 1970
    This book took me by surprise - in a very good way. It is excellent, so excellent I'm finding it hard to know where to start. It's not your usual courtroom drama, it's so much more - think Appletree Yard meets The Hate U Give and you'll be getting close. There is so much powerful drama packed into this story, it grips you from the start and invests you in the lives of all the characters, not just Jodie and the four muslim boys accused of her rape, but Zara, the muslim rape counsellor, who has ma This book took me by surprise - in a very good way. It is excellent, so excellent I'm finding it hard to know where to start. It's not your usual courtroom drama, it's so much more - think Appletree Yard meets The Hate U Give and you'll be getting close. There is so much powerful drama packed into this story, it grips you from the start and invests you in the lives of all the characters, not just Jodie and the four muslim boys accused of her rape, but Zara, the muslim rape counsellor, who has made choices which clash with the traditions of her culture.Not only is this is a story for our multicultural times, it also highlights the misogyny of the judicial system that makes it so traumatic for rape victims to come forward when the justice system is all about winning, rather than the truth. It talks about the people who are marginalised by disfigurement and poverty and the inbuilt prejudices of our cultures and up-bringing. And it illustrates the toxicity of social media, where anyone can say anything.There is so much more to say, but honestly, you really have to experience this story for yourselves. It will stay with me for a long time because, for me, it spoke the truth.
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  • Erika
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley and HQ for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Zara is a former barrister turned rape counselor. She becomes an advocate for Jodie, a 16 year old girl with facial deformities who claims she was raped by 4 boys from her school. Jodie is white, Zara and the boys are Muslim. The case goes to trial and Zara faces a backlash from family, friends and strangers for siding with the white girl.3.5 stars. This was a good book, but maybe just not really my thing. I agre Thanks to Netgalley and HQ for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Zara is a former barrister turned rape counselor. She becomes an advocate for Jodie, a 16 year old girl with facial deformities who claims she was raped by 4 boys from her school. Jodie is white, Zara and the boys are Muslim. The case goes to trial and Zara faces a backlash from family, friends and strangers for siding with the white girl.3.5 stars. This was a good book, but maybe just not really my thing. I agree with another reviewer who compared it to a Jodi Picoult. It was more on the relationships and the race relations than the actual mystery. I did go back and forth on who was telling the truth, Jodie or the boys, but I still thought the mystery/courtroom portion was less of the focus than the drama of the situation various characters were in.
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  • Sally Boocock
    January 1, 1970
    A powerful, gripping drama with many heartstopping moments. Incredibly moving yet heartbreakingly horrifying. Keeps your attention until the very last page.
  • Kat
    January 1, 1970
    Thought provoking, captivating, heartbreakingly sad at times are just some words to describe this wonderful book. If you are expecting to read just a courtroom drama then think again because this story has got so much more to give it deals with some pretty tough subjects and does it exceptionally well. A sixteen year old white girl with a facial deformity accuses four muslim boys of raping her but who is lying and who is telling the truth. So what we have here is the start of a high profile tria Thought provoking, captivating, heartbreakingly sad at times are just some words to describe this wonderful book. If you are expecting to read just a courtroom drama then think again because this story has got so much more to give it deals with some pretty tough subjects and does it exceptionally well. A sixteen year old white girl with a facial deformity accuses four muslim boys of raping her but who is lying and who is telling the truth. So what we have here is the start of a high profile trial bringing to the fore some very difficult topics dealing with both race and social class and when news of the trial explodes into the media all hell breaks loose.I really think this is going to be a book that is going to get plenty of fabulous feedback, the writing is superb, the storyline compelling and told with so much compassion with a conclusion that I really didn’t see coming it’s a big thank you to Kia Abdullah for an amazing 5 star read that I just loved.My thanks also to NetGalley and HQ for giving me the chance to read the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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  • Charlotte Taylor
    January 1, 1970
    Blown away by this immensely powerful, sad and gripping thriller. No spoilers, but the nuanced yet captivating exploration of race and class issues and compellingly drawn characters are sure to win readers’ hearts. I’m certain that Take It Back is going to get rave reviews and catapult the author onto the bestseller lists. Can’t wait to see this book fly!
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  • Brianna Benton
    January 1, 1970
    A gripping tale of he said, she said. I never knew what was going to happen, even up to the end.
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