I’d like to extend my thanks to Lucy Richardson, for asking me to join this Blog tour – HQ Stories publish some amazing books and Take It Back is just one of them – Kia Abdullah has written a superb book that will make everyone that reads it
A thrilling, brave and explosive novel, perfect for fans of Anatomy of a Scandal and He Said/She Said.
Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest young legal minds, shattered the expectations placed on her by her family and forged a glittering career at the Bar. All before hanging up her barrister’s wig to help the victims who needed her most. Victims like Jodie Wolfe.
Jodie’s own best friend doesn’t even believe her claims that their classmates carried out such a crime. But Zara does. And Zara isdetermined to fight for her.
Jodie and Zara become the
Kia Abdullah is an author and travel writer from London.
Kia has written for The Guardian, The New York Times, BBC and Lonely Planet, and is the founding editor of outdoor travel blog Atlas & Boots, read by 250,000 people a month.
Born in Tower Hamlets in east London, Kia was raised in a family of eight children. As the most stubborn of six daughters, she constantly found herself in trouble for making choices that clashed with her parents’, a habit they came to accept when she became their first and only child to graduate from university.
In 2006, Kia wrote and published her first novel, Life, Love and Assimilation (Adlibbed), which she now describes as an “angry, cathartic, messy diatribe of a novel”. The book’s candid look at the trials and tribulations of living between cultures strongly resonated with her generation of British-Asians, but also drew controversy for its portrayal of drug abuse in Tower Hamlets.
In 2009, Kia published her second novel, Child’s Play (Revenge Ink), a dark psychological thriller with more sex and violence than one would expect from a nice girl with a name like Abdullah. Surprisingly, her sophomore effort was embraced by those in her community. It seemed that they, just like her parents, had come to accept this young writer with her troublesome impulses.
Kia went on to join global publisher Penguin Random House where she helped grow digital readership at Rough Guides to over a million users per month. Today, she lives in the Yorkshire Dales town of Richmond and spends her time writing, hiking, mentoring pupils from Tower Hamlets and visiting exotic locations for Atlas & Boots.
Kia loves to travel, hates to cook and periodically highlights that, in actual fact, she is one of nine children (one passed away a few days after birth), making her Seven of Nine… which is cool but only if you’re a Star Trek fan… which she is. But please don’t hold it against her.
I’m not sure having read Kia’s bio how much of Zara Kaleel our main protagonist is based on Kia – clearly from a big family, favored by her Dad, the only child to go through university, and obviously has faced feelings of oppression, just like Zara.
Zara is an authentic and endearing, yet complex character. She doesn’t want to let herself go, even to those close to her she chooses to remain a closed book emotionally, never letting her guard down. She’s highly educated, risen to the top of her game, an acclaimed barrister. Only to leave, by choice to work at a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), with low pay, but it’s not the money that attracted Zara, she has the need to do good, to do the right thing, and in this case – its seen as the wrong thing.
Zara’s next client – sixteen-year-old Jodie Wolfe – a white, disabled girl, alleges to have been raped by four Muslim boys, that she knows from school. No one believes Jodie, not her best friend, or even her own Mum. Zara believes her and because Zara is Muslim, shes shunned by ‘the community’ for being a traitor to her upbringing. A hate campaign is waged against both Jodie, the defendants – Amir, Mohammed, Farid and Hassan and Zara, whites against Muslims and Muslims against Zara – they say that she an embarrassment to her family, to herself, they invade her privacy. The court case escalates to melting point in the media then it gets nasty, near riotous events outside the court and for Zara and Jodie’s safety and they have to go into safe houses.
I found this book to be not only thought-provoking, in the way it makes you think how would you react, how you would feel in this position, how we read only one side of the story in the paper and make judgments before hearing all the facts. How people can shun their own family, because they don’t think the same or have the same beliefs, how something that was never a problem before, can suddenly create a huge divide, from 1 moment of wrongdoing, by someone else.
I was engrossed by Take It Back, it stayed with me days after reading it, and kept me thinking about it. What was Zara’s next step, I doubt she would have just done nothing because that wasn’t in her character, she was on the side of fighting for what’s right. Kia has created a great character in Zara, a warrior for justice and in doing so she’s written a superb and yet worryingly realistic book, this could so easily happen. Such a strong and compelling storyline – Kia Abdullah has just made herself even hotter property.
Its been compared to Anatomy of a Scandal and it truly is in the same league, an
To but Take it Back – click the link https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Kia-Abdullah/Take-It-Back/23109606
@KiaAbdullah @bookbellereads @HQstories #TakeItBack