I appreciate that the author tackles head on complicated issues within complicated issues. In the second installment of the Zara Kaleel series, a high school student is raped by another student after both had been drinking at a party. Issues of masculinity, sexual identity, cultural expectations, secrets & lies permeate this entire book until we reach a seriously dramatic ending that I did not see coming!!
Kia Abdullah is one of those authors that I really need to be in a certain mood to read to get the full impact. And that is by no means a bad thing, they are just not light, fun reads. Her stories are heavy, emotional, suspenseful and always timely. The story begins with Kamran, a Pakistani boy from a very strict wealthy London family with traditional values. Kamran attends an all-male boarding school and after a night of partying he is raped by a schoolmate. He turns to crisis counselor Zara Kaleel from Take It Back (another excellent book by this author) for guidance. Does he press charges? What will he tell his family who have such high hopes for him? He is of Pakistani/Asian descent and a Muslim so there is prejudice. So many hot-button issues and a gut-wrenching storyline kept me whipping through the pages. As always, this author never lets me down. I can't wait to read whatever is next!
Thank you to #NetGalley, Kia Abdullah and Harper 360, HQ for this ARC.
KIA ABDULLAH writes very compelling and complex stories. They often involve very delicate subjects. These subjects sometimes involve racism and abuse. The stories she writes always have well developed plot lines and characters she writes are always complex. There's never a dry spot in a book of hers.
In TRUTH BE TOLD it deals with the very sensitive subject of rape with a young male victim. It also addresses I'll say the mindset of the perpetrator and the situation he finds himself in.
I found this like all her books to be very emotionally charged as well as suspenseful. KIA ABDULLAH is one of those authors that I've found that does not disappoint.
Thank you to NETGALLEY and HARPER 360/HQ for this ARC!
Kamran Hadid & his brother Adam attend Hampton school, an elite all-boys boarding school in London. They come from a wealthy family, and Kamran has a place at Oxford next year. They live a life of privilege, and it seems as if nothing can touch them. But after a night of revelry leads to a drunken encounter, everything in Kamran's life is being questioned. 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…
I love this author's books. I have to say this one wasn't my favorite, but it was still really good. It started out with a slow burn, and at times I felt it was a bit slow and tedious with the court proceedings, but as her books always do, there was a nice twist at the end. This would make a good book club selection, thanks to the controversial subject matter. This hot topic book is perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult
Thank you NetGalley for this advanced reader copy, for my free and voluntary review. This book is utterly amazing. I was engulfed with emotion throughout the entire story because it was so well written, I felt like a part of it all. So well written and an amazing story with a surprise twist at the end. Highly recommend and bravo to this author!
I had no idea this was a sequel to a previous book and this wonderful author was new for me. I selected it because I’m obsessed with legal drama. I was unprepared for the sensitive subject of the plot and it may contain triggers for some readers. None of the usual clichés are applicable when the subject is so emotionally wrenching. It’s not appropriate to say it was enjoyable. I didn’t race through the pages, had to stop and start when it was tough going. The characters portray familiar traits, beliefs and reactions that hauntingly resembled co-workers, friends and family I’ve interacted with. The parents, students, faculty, victims and attorneys are well constructed, some likable, others less so, all interesting. What a cuttingly raw, emotionally devastating, portrayal of a skewed society. This book's theme addresses such an important issue – when does no mean no? The setting in London gave a glimpse into their procedures and I found it interesting how the legal system there differs from here in the US. The outcome of the story didn’t surprise me, which didn’t lessen my appreciation for the magnificent writing. With unwavering conviction and one hundred percent certainty I know exactly what my choices would be under the circumstances in this case. You’ll need to read for yourself and decide where you stand.
A digital advance reader copy of “Truth Be Told” by Kia Abdullah, HarperCollins Publishers, was provided by NetGalley. These are all my own honest personal thoughts and opinions given voluntarily without compensation.
Kia Abdullah is the master of heart-wrenching legal dramas with shocking twists, and Truth Be Told does not disappoint. Kamran is a Pakistani student who has a bright future ahead of him. After a night of partying, he wakes up to find his classmate in his bed and what follows is unquestionably a sexual assault. But where do we draw the line with consent or lack thereof? And is this viewed differently because both the accused and the accuser are male? Zara Kaleel takes on Kamran's case and is determined to help him cope with the aftermath of the attack as well as the tough love that his father has to offer.
This is a brutally honest and propulsive look at race, class and sexuality. The ending will leave you absolutely stunned and the story will stay with you long after the last page.
Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC of Truth Be Told in exchange for an unbiased review.
Harrowing. Heartbreaking. Infuriating.
Just a few words to sum up this reading experience.
An elite boys school. A night of drinking and revelry that leads to an accusation of rape.
Two male students - one claims they never gave consent, the other claims the other never said no.
Does NOT saying no mean the same thing as saying yes?
Victim shaming and toxic masculinity are explored in depth. Kia Abdullah does not shy away from making her readers think which is why her books are always so compelling. My mind spun this way and that way to try to figure what actually transpired between the boys. Of course, Abdullah, being the exceptional storyteller she is, is not just satisfied with a simple guilty or not guilty verdict. Oh no. When the truth comes out it's like a punch to the gut. I was completely stunned by the last chapter of this book.
Impeccably written, shocking, and simmering with social commentary this book was a momentous success. 5 stars!
Thank you to NetGalley and Harper 360 for my complimentary copy.
No sophomore slump here! I was hesitant to read this one after my issues with the first book in the series. (It is hard to read a series when you dislike the central character.) Zara has matured a bit and while still not perfect, she is much more relatable. The story of Kamran, a young elite Muslim boy, his rape, and the events following is a tough read. I liked that the people around Zara gave other thoughts to consider in the situation and emphasizing that things aren't always clear-cut. I hated Kamran's father and his toxic masculinity. He was so despicable that I found myself physically cringing whenever he entered the scene. Because of the subject matter, you know going in that there will be sadness and heart break, but I still wasn't prepared for the subsequent events. I finished the book with a heavy heart. This is a good read but not one for a vacation.
Actual rating: 3.5 out of 5
This is the second book in the Zara Kaleel series. Even though I did read the first book in the series, this can be read as a stand-alone.
Kamran Hadid comes from a wealthy family and he and his younger brother attend an elite all-boys boarding school. He has everything planned out in his life. But that all changed after a night of partying.
Truth Be Told is an intense, powerful, emotional book. Great writing and believable characters. You can feel all the emotions that Kamran is struggling with. Unfortunately, I thought the pace of the story was a little slow and it dragged on. The ending made up for it.
Kia Abdullah never ever disappoints. She is the queen of twists. Such a fantastic story, characters I loved to read about and fabulous writing. Kept me on the edge of my seat. I'll devour anything she writes!
Thank you Netgalley and Harper 360 for the copy of Truth Be Told by Kia Abdullah. This is the second Zala Kaleel book and I hope there will be more. The story was compelling and thought provoking. The characters were well drawn and three-dimensional. Kamran was so believable I couldn’t stop reading because I had to find out what was going to happen to him. While the courtroom scenes were memorable, what came before and after made this book unforgettable. You don’t have to read Take it Back first, but I recommend you do for the insight into Zara and her past.
Not bad but a little "ripped from the headlines". I didn't realize it was second in a series, I guess maybe the attack Zara mentions is in that book? She refers to it a lot even though I didn't think it added much to the story. I couldn't figure out how or why she stays close to her friends or family, they were uniformly pretty unpleasant.
Truth Be Told is a powerful family drama unfurling with a potent velocity to the dramatic end. I read it in one big gulp, not wanting to leave the story and the dynamic characters with their intertwining situations. While this book deals with very difficult topics (male rape, drug addiction and cultural prejudices), it is an insightful and informative view of the struggles faced when dealing with those real-life issues.
Thanks to NetGalley and Harper 360 for the opportunity to read this exceptional ARC.
Kamran Hadid is a 17 year old attending an all-boys boarding school. After a night of heavy drinking, he has an intimate encounter with another student, one he’s not certain he consented to. When he awakens the next morning, Kamran struggles with the event of the prior event, and with the help of a crisis counselor, he reports the incident to the police. Truth Be Told is a powerful, no-holds-barred story that flips he said/she said on its head, and tackles the issues of consent, homophobia and racism head-on. Besides his own inner doubts, Kamran also has to navigate a difficult family ethos, his classmates, social media and a criminal trial in this captivating book, that’s only slowed down by the backstory of the counselor, which seemed to sap momentum throughout and didn’t really add to the plot. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Zara the Barriater returns in an explosive, intriguing and original thriller. A rape at a highly prestigious joys academy is the scene of the novel. Deftly written with a masterful hand. I raced to finish it. Highly recommend..
Crazy!!! In all the best ways. I thoroughly enjoyed every single thing page and didn’t want it to end. I loved this!
Wow, Kia Abdullah can WRITE. She is officially an auto-buy author for me. Her ability to tackle difficult topics from all angles, and in such a direct way, is unparalleled.
This is the second book in a series, and I would strongly advise Take It Back prior to reading this one, as there are spoilers from book 1 in this book. In this story, Kamran Hadid, a Muslim student at the elite Hampton School in London has been sexually assaulted by another student, Finn Anderson, after a drunken night. The question of "what is consent?" is at the heart of this story, and Abdullah does not hold back, making this story far more complicated than just "yes" vs "no." This book gives the reader so much to think about, and the end truly shocked me. I can't wait for more from this author!
Yet another great read by Kia Abdulla! This was filled with tons of tension and emotion! Loved the characters and flipped pages long into the night!
Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book!
Kia Abdullah is officially now my favorite author. I don’t say that lightly because there are some REALLY great authors out there. Truth Be Told, like its predecessor Take it Back, kept me gripped from the beginning until the end. But there are a lot of books that do that. What sets Kia apart from other writers is that she has this amazing ability to immerse me in a culture/religion I don’t know and weave words together to make me actually empathetic to every single character from one extreme to the other. She tells amazing stories and everything flows perfectly. Take it Back made me burst into tears at the very end. Truth Be Told made me cry several times during the book feeling the anguish right alongside the characters.
I really liked that we got to learn a little more of the aftermath from what happened after Take It Back ended. Kia writes in a way that makes the characters living, breathing people rather than just words on pages.
I’m already desperate for her to write another book about Zara the Brave.
Both Take it Back and Truth Be Told are now at the very top of my permanent list of books to recommend.
I’m also obsessed with her standalone books, Next of Kin and Those People Next Door (UK)/Perfectly Nice Neighbors (US), and am jonesing for her next book to come out!!!