Take It Back – Kia Abdullah

 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?

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, Aug 2019).

My Review:

If you are looking for a light easy read then this is not for you, however if you are looking for a highly emotive, explosive, thought-provoking, topical and powerful book then I would 100% recommend Take It Back.

Jodie Wolfe is a sixteen year old white girl living with her alcoholic mother in a council flat.  Born with severe facial deformities Jodie has spent most of her life hiding away and being bullied.  When she attends a local party with her best friend Nina she is subjected to a horrific, violent gang rape by a group of 4 well respected, popular boys, who also happen to be Muslim.

Consumed by shame and hurt Jodie reports this crime to the police and is then thrown into the public arena and at the mercy of the press and social media as no-one can believe these 4 boys could commit such a crime especially to a deformed white girl.

Zara Kaleel is assigned to Jodie’s case.  She was a top high-flying barrister who walked away from a lucrative career in the City and became an independent councillor at a sexual assault centre.  Battling her own demons and being ostracised from her own Muslim family Zara finds herself in the centre of this controversial and very public case.

You can cut the racial tension with a knife throughout this book and it makes for some really uncomfortable moments.  With themes of violence, bullying, domestic abuse, rape, drug addiction and religion Take It Back is powerful and compelling, emotional and moving, thought-provoking and anger inducing.  With an ending that made me want to cry, this is a book that will haunt me for years to come.

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