Today, I will be sharing my review of Truth Be Told by Kia Abdullah with you all.
ARE YOU READY TO START THIS CONVERSATION?
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…
*TRIGGER WARNINGS – Rape, Intimidation, Bullying, Violence, Mentally abusive parent*
I read Take It Back by Kia Abdullah in 2019, and it was one of my favourite books of the year. I loved it so much that I went out and bought myself a hardback copy, despite having already read an ARC copy from NetGalley. So when I heard about Truth Be Told, I couldn’t wait to read it, to find out how Zara’s story continues, and to see what she would be up against in this book.
Kia Abdullah has such a talent for pulling at your emotions, and making you feel every little detail of her stories. She makes the cases in her books feel so real, and this is probably helped by the fact that her writing is so relevant to the problems that are happening in today’s world.
Truth Be Told is an incredibly powerful story. At times it was a little difficult to read, but in a way that really shows what a truly talented writer Kia Abdullah is.
I felt so sorry for Kamran, and couldn’t even begin to imagine what he must have been feeling, or what he was going through. It is something that no-one should ever have to experience, but unfortunately it happens way too often. With the added pressure of his parents, Kamran’s life seems to be in tatters. Parents often believe that they are doing what is best for their child, when in reality, their actions are causing far more damage than they could ever realise, and this is certainly one of those cases. Kamran’s dad really believes that he is helping, but actually, his “parenting” techniques are crossing the line in to mental abuse, and making Kamran’s problems far worse.
The story really highlights the importance of consent, and how consent works. If someone doesn’t say no, that doesn’t mean they have consented, and if you take a person not saying no as a yes, it can have devastating effects on not only their life, but yours too. Unfortunately, not everyone sees consent this way, and that is another issue that is highlighted within the story.
This was something that Finn didn’t understand. He didn’t realise that what he had done was wrong, until it was too late, and he was facing the consequences. He took it that because Kamran didn’t say no, it had meant that he had wanted it, but that was very far from the truth, and Finn had to accept the punishment for what he had done. He didn’t mean to inflict any harm on Kamran, and genuinely seemed to feel guilty for what he had done, but that in no way made up for that fact that it had happened.
Zara is such a brilliant character, and I have loved reading her stories. In both Take It Back, and Truth Be Told, there are so many hurdles that she has to overcome in her cases, but she faces them head on and stands her ground, despite the fact that she has lots of personal problems to juggle with too. We learn a little more about Zara’s personal problems in Truth Be Told, and it makes her character so much more real, and you really sympathise with her. I really hope that we get more books that include Zara, because I am desperate to delve further in to her personal struggles.
THE PLOT TWIST ENDING! I could never have seen that coming, and it made the story so much more heartbreaking. I think this really tied the entire book up, and was very cleverly written. It shows that speaking up is very important, and can often be the difference between a very awkward, uncomfortable conversation, and a life damaging experience. It also highlights the importance of male mental health. We need to stop making men feel like they have to be strong, and hide their emotions, and we need to let them know that if they need help, no-one will consider them any less of a man for speaking up about it. Male mental health needs a lot more attention.
I didn’t think that Kia Abdullah could top Take It Back, but I personally think that she has done just that with Truth Be Told. This is one of those stories that will stick with you for a long time after you have finished it, and I can guarantee that you won’t stop thinking about it. I can’t wait to see what Kia Abdullah has to offer us in the future, because she may have just become one of my favourite authors.
A huge thank you to NetGalley, and HQ, for providing me with an ARC copy, in exchange for an honest review.
I give Truth Be Told a 5 star rating!
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