Title: Truth Be Told
Author: Kia Abdullah
Publication Date: 3rd September 2020
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Kamran Hadid feels invincible. He attends Hampton school, an elite all-boys boarding school in London, he comes from a wealthy family, and he has a place at Oxford next year. The world is at his feet. And then a night of revelry leads to a drunken encounter and he must ask himself a horrific question.
With the help of assault counsellor, Zara Kaleel, Kamran reports the incident in the hopes that will be the end of it. But it’s only the beginning…
So, I read Kia Abdullah’s previous book Take it Back and was very impressed so I was really looking forward to reading her latest. I actually thought Truth Be Told was even better which is high praise. As with Take it Back, the story features assault counsellor Zara Kaleel dealing with a new complex and controversial case concerning young adult, Kamran Hadid who attends a prestigious boarding school and finds himself in a very difficult situation after a drunken evening.
I read Truth Be Told really fast, it’s one of those books that sucks you in and makes it very difficult to do anything else until you finish. I loved the way Abdullah writes and the plot was just as addictive and compelling in this book as it was in the previous. She manages to deal with very thorny and taboo subjects in a measured and intelligent manner. Kamran and his family are incredibly compelling and I felt invested in his story extremely quickly. There are no easy answers in Truth Be Told, it pinpoints the difficulties of the murkiness of sexual assault cases and the failings in the justice system that often cause even more trauma to the victim. The one thing that really stood out for me in both Take it Back and Truth Be Told is how both managed to properly shake me with the ending. I think it is very difficult to genuinely surprise readers in this genre but Abdullah has now managed to do it so skilfully twice now.
The only thing I wasn’t totally sure of in Take it Back is whether I really liked Zara as a character but I have to say she really got under my skin in Truth Be Told and I feel like I got to know her a bit better. Now, I can’t wait for another engaging and emotional look into the cases she deals with! The nature of the subject matter in Truth Be Told means it is a tough read at times but it is an incredibly worthwhile one. Well written, intense, relevant and heartbreaking – I would highly recommend this book.
I received an e-arc of the book through Netgalley. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.