Summary and book reviews of Take It Back by Kia Abdullah

Take It Back

by Kia Abdullah

Take It Back by Kia Abdullah X
Take It Back by Kia Abdullah
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  • Published:
    Dec 2020, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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About this Book

Book Summary

From author Kia Abdullah, Take It Back is a harrowing and twisting courtroom thriller that keeps you guessing until the last page is turned.

One victim.
Four accused.
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.

CHAPTER ONE

She watched her reflection in the empty glass bottle as the truth crept in with the wine in her veins. It curled around her stomach and squeezed tight, whispering words that paused before they stung, like a paper cut cutting deep: colorless at first and then vibrant with blood. You are such a fucking cliché, it whispered—an accusation, a statement, a fact. The words stung because Zara Kaleel's self-image was built on the singular belief that she was different. She was different from the two tribes of women that haunted her youth. She was not a docile housewife, fingers yellowed by turmeric like the quiet heroines of the second-gen literature she hated so much. Nor was she a rebel, using her sexuality to subvert her culture. And yet here she was, lying in freshly stained sheets, skin gleaming with sweat and regret.

Luka's post-coital pillow talk echoed in her ear: It's always the religious ones. She smiled a mirthless smile. The alcohol, the pills, the unholy ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The trial at the center of the novel is exceptionally well-written, quite captivating and the book's highlight. Abdullah skillfully shifts perspective on who is the guilty party; one minute we believe Jodie, the next, her supposed attackers. We aren't sure of the truth until the last page, and the tension the author creates keeps the narrative moving quickly. Less convincing are the sections that concern Zara's personal struggles. Given the serious subject matter, I wouldn't necessarily call Take It Back a light read, but it's definitely an engrossing one in spite of its flaws...continued

Full Review (528 words).

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(Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Media Reviews

The Telegraph (UK)
A thought-provoking and sparklingly intelligent novel, with the welcome bonus of an unguessable ending.

The Guardian (UK)
A superb legal thriller that fairly crackles with tension.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[A] riveting, thought-provoking legal thriller....In the courtroom, shifting testimony and constant new revelations reveal the humanity—good and bad—of all participants. Readers may find themselves believing one side, then the other, up until the shocking ending. Abdullah is definitely a writer to watch.

Booklist (starred review)
Abdullah has done an exemplary job of character development and is especially good at ratcheting up suspense as the trial proceeds.

Author Blurb Lisa Hall, author of Between You and Me
Intense, shocking and so real you can literally feel its heartbeat.

Reader Reviews

Elizabeth@Silver'sReviews

Elizabeth@Silver'sReviews - powerful and thoughtful
Who can you believe? Four boys accused of rape and put on trial and stories that don’t match Jodie's the victim. Jodie has a facial deformity that even her mother can’t face and continually brings it up as the reason they live in poverty. Her ...   Read More

ELIZABETH @Silver's Reviews

ELIZABETH @ SILVER'S REVIEWS - TENSE, BUT WELL WRITTEN
Who can you believe? Four boys accused of rape and put on trial, and stories that don’t match Jodie's the victim. Jodie has a facial deformity that even her mother can’t face and continually brings it up as the reason they live in poverty. Her ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

DNA Profiling

Chemist looking at DNA profile In Kia Abdullah's courtroom drama Take It Back, the prosecution relies on a forensic technique called DNA profiling. Also known as genetic fingerprinting, the process can be used to match bodily material found at a crime scene to a suspect, to identify a person's relatives, to determine one's risk of some genetic diseases and to identify dead bodies.

DNA — shorthand for deoxyribonucleic acid — is genetic material embedded in an organism's cells. It has been compared to a cookbook of recipes; it holds the instructions for making all the proteins in a being's body. 99.9% of a human's DNA is identical to every other person's, but the other 0.1% is unique. It's this tiny fraction of the genetic sequence that's used in DNA ...

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