Cover Image: Truth Be Told

Truth Be Told

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Member Reviews

This book addresses a very important issue that's not discussed nearly enough nowadays as its seen as taboo to even talk about it, let alone admit it happened....male rape. But what if the accused genuinely didnt realise he'd done something wrong until he was accused? The twist at the end is clever and unique, although I'm not sure how I feel it about it ending the way it did, maybe Adam should have said something.
Over all a good book but a hard read at times.
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Kia Abdullah does it again! 

Truth Be Told is the second book in the Zara Kaleel series and I've got my fingers crossed for a third. 

This time Abdullah explores male rape. Kamran Hadid accuses Finn Andersen of raping him and not only does he have to come to terms with what has happened, he also has to face his father who has strong feelings about what a boy should be.

I love how Abdullah creates a gripping and fascinating story whilst exploring taboo topics and discussing Muslim tradition. It is souchore thought provoking than your average thriller whilst still giving you that addictive feeling to race to the end of the book. 

It's powerful and explosive but also quote heartfelt and as you hear the story from both sides it's hard not to feel for both of the main characters. And the ending will really make you think about everything you just read! 

Absolutely brilliant courtroom drama novel that I definitely recommend to everyone.
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Truth Be Told book is an incredible read. In it we follow Kamran, a teenage boy who is the victim of rape by another boy at his boarding school. Kamran goes to see Zara Kaleel at a rape crisis centre and she agrees to help him. This is such a powerful novel that explores so many issues around rape and consent, race and gender, and the impact on the victim, but also the people around the victim when a rape accusation is made. It was very hard to read at times but the issues are handled really sensitively and in a way that is so believable. This is the second novel that features Zara but this novel does work as a standalone. I enjoyed the author’s previous book but this one is even better. I didn’t want to put this one down and now I’ve finished it I keep finding myself thinking about it. I highly recommend this one!
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This story is another compelling courtroom drama with believable contemporary characters, a well thought out plot and surprising twists. Again young people are the author's focus, and the crime that leads to the court case is disturbing and relevant. Zara, who we met in 'Take it Back', is a potent force in this story.

The reader sees the evidence from many viewpoints but must decide about their reliability. It's this unknown that allows the plot to be unpredictable. The story is poignant, and the reader may empathise with most of the main characters at some point.

This is powerfully written and encompasses many of today's moral and social issues.

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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“Thank you to NetGalley and Publisher for providing a free copy in exchange for my honest review.**

Kia Abdullah is a brilliant storyteller - I love her books!  The synopsis and other reviews have more or else outlined the plot - but it goes way, way deeper than that.  I found myself questioning my point of view several times about issues and beliefsI thought I had .  Kia Abdullah writes in such a way that that challenges my so called ‘liberal views’ and I loved this.  Her writing is captivating and direct, but never forceful.  
I shall definitely look out for any of her future books - no matter the genre!
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This is a brilliantly written book. The book explores male rape and so much more.  A book that will stay with me for a long time after I’ve finished it
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A truly moving difficult subject, male rape, religion, cultures. Cover so much. A great read with a outstanding ending. Thank you so much for letting me read this. Can’t wait wait to read more.
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I had heard a lot about this book so thought I would give it a read. It was an ok read for me , but not something I would read again
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This is a brilliant read.
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believable.
Great suspense and found myself second guessing every thought I had continuously.
Can't wait to read what the author brings out next.
Recommend reading.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  This is my own honest voluntary review.
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Wow what a read.
This is a brilliantly written book. Set around a male rape the book explores that and so so much more. 
Family relationships, culture, religion and how a person gauges their own worth against what others expect from them.
A book that will stay with me for a long time after I’ve finished it
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Loved this! So good, so exciting, so gripping and great story. Can't wait to read more by this author - absolutely brilliant.
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A story built around the issue of male rape.

I find it difficult to review this book. Using the topic as a source of 'entertainment' didn't sit right with me. Important issues are raised about consent and concepts of masculinity but in a rather shallow way. The court case and the difficulty of gaining a conviction seemed realistic enough but the male protest group (and particularly their uniform) just seemed ridiculous.

A sensationalised act of violence and the final reveal added to my unease.

I'm sure the author has the best of intentions (her previous book covered female rape and false accusations) but the format does not allow for the depth of analysis needed for such a debate.
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Geez I cannot believe this book, I was in pieces most of the time, it handles such sensitive subject matter so well and had me ploughing through it at warp speed, absolutely awful tale of male rape and what comes next, you feel for the main character immensely and has you thinking a lot about the culture and taboo and all that goes with it, what a moving read it was and had me thinking about it long into the night when the book was over, this is the second book in a series but can be read alone without reading the previous, though I’ve read the previous novel and that was also a fantastically written piece of literature also, this author is on fire! 🔥
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This book grabbed me from the very beginning and didn't let me go until the very last page. A wonderfully written book about a sensitive topic that had me strangely on both sides of the main characters. The author writes well about the pressures and expectations of family and privilege. I was not expecting the ending at all which left me feeling so sad for all the characters. This is the first book of Kia Abdullah that I have read but it won't be the last.
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This was a very emotive story about the rape of a Moslem male and all the associated implications. Very well written story that kept me guessing to the very end.
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Edit: In February 2021 I undertook a group read with The Pigeonhole of this novel. Following this second closer reading, I have amended it to a 5-star read. I felt that Kia Abdullah had highlighted aspects of toxic masculinity in a sensitive way. I still intend to read her first novel featuring Zara Kaleel as well as her upcoming third book in this series of legal dramas later this year. 

My thanks to HQ for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Truth Be Told’ by Kia Abdullah.

I wasn’t aware that this was a follow-up to Kia Abdullah’s 2019 courtroom drama, ‘Take It Back’, featuring former lawyer, Zara Kaleel, who now works as an assault counsellor. Background is provided about previous events though ‘Truth Be Told’ works fine as a stand-alone.

The plot focuses on seventeen-year-old Kamran Hadid, the eldest son of a wealthy family who attends Hampton College, an elite all-boys boarding school in London. He already has secured a place at Oxford and the world seems to be at his feet. Then a night of revelry leads to a drunken encounter. After seeking help from Zara Kaleel, Kamran reports the incident in the hope of finding closure. Yet this is only the beginning…

This proved a hard-hitting legal drama that deals with the subject of male rape as well as consent in sexual encounters. It is a gritty and at times heartbreaking story. I found myself fully engaged by the narrative. 

I was impressed with Kia Abdullah’s writing, which was infused with passion and commitment. Her approach was unflinching yet remained sensitive to the complex personal and social issues around the subject. 

In addition, the first chapter of ‘Take It Back’ is included after the main text. I intend to read this as well as to look out for Kia Abdullah’s future projects.

Overall, an intelligent, hard-hitting and moving novel.
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A powerful story about some unmentionable taboos: male rape, race, sexuality, Asian patriarchal culture, family, privilege, "not all men" : balanced with love, advocacy and identity. A teenage boy is raped after a party at a prestigious public school. Or is he? Is he just ashamed of being gay? Was it misunderstood? The story of Kamran and Finn, literally black and white, had me gripped throughout the court process. The "keeping face" priority of his mother mixed with toxic masculinity from Kamran's father had me enraged for him. At the heart of it is Zara, independent sexual violence adviser, always with Kamran's best interests at heart.
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This is the second book in Kia Abdullah’s Zara Kaleel series after the 2019 release of Take It Back, which I didn’t know about beforehand. All I knew was that I was seeing this book everywhere with standout reviews, so I’ve been eager to get my hands on a copy for a long time now.

First off, there are some obvious trigger warnings to provide here, as this book does revolve around the subject of rape. Not only that, but it’s also a story about male rape. There are, of course, a lot of similar conversations that this book opens up in regards to the issue of rape in the wider context, but I think it’s especially bold of Abdullah to centre her story around a male character as there is still a lot of stigma around it.

A powerful and important story, Abdullah opens up so many difficult conversations which she tackles brilliantly. Looking at an encounter of rape from many angles and perspectives, her story is explored in-depth and in a well-balanced way. You try to stay open-minded but can’t help but question Kamran’s confession as different facts come to the surface. Should it matter what Kamran’s sexuality is? Should it matter if anybody else knew? There will be so much running through your head that you can’t help but feel empathy for the characters involved.

Kamran is also a Muslim which means that Abdullah also faces her character with the conflict of religion and homosexuality, something else that she does exceptionally well. While I would have been impressed by the way she handles this story without taking into consideration that Kamran is male and Muslim, the fact that Abdullah goes above and beyond to really take the opportunity to open up these discussions is worth all the praise.

There are so many issues that this book makes you think about. Most notably, it gets you thinking about the importance of the phrase, “But I didn’t say no”. Unfortunately, it’s something that maybe you haven’t had to think about for yourself, but it’s likely something that you’ve skirted around the thought of. Of course, it will strike more familiarly with some than others, but it certainly had me re-evaluating certain situations in my life that I realised weren’t as black and white as we can often shrug them off as.

I think it’s that final point that had the biggest impact on me: that it isn’t just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question and that there is so much grey area in between. There’s so much more to consider than just a simple word, and Abdullah does a remarkable job of using her story to pose all of those questions, as well as to provide – to the best of her ability – some answers or at least a more unbiased mindset.

And although you know it’s not important whether Kamran said no or not, you still question his intentions. Is he doing it because Finn deserves to be accountable for his actions? Or is he doing it because he doesn’t want to get found out? Either way, you won’t be thinking about the bigger picture that comes to light towards the end. I wasn’t reading this is a thriller at the start, but this revelation in the final few chapters had me gasping in shock bigger than any thriller has recently.

There’s so much that I could say about this book, but it’s one that will resonate differently with different readers so you need to experience it for yourself.

Most of all, Truth Be Told is a thought-provoking and compelling read, and I’m definitely going to find the time to read the first book in the series soon as I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this one since I put it down.
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Truth be told 
5* It’s starts off great but builds into a real WOW! Book
#2 in the Zara Kaleel series. But this is the first book I’ve read by this author. 
We are introduced to the main characters in the book Kamran a 17 yr old young Muslim man from a wealthy family attending an elite boarding school who after a drunken party at the school alleges that he is raped. 
Zara an ex Barrister is struggling to battle medication addiction, and  working as a sexual violence advisor. 
Kamran confesses to Zara at a crisis centre that he has been raped, as the centre can only help women  she takes leave from the refuge to be able to help him. 
The book is really well written it draws you in. It tackles head on some difficult topics, Muslims and homosexuality, male rape and sexual abuse in elite boarding schools. The characters are so well written, it is written with understanding and sensitivity, and felt realistic. The pain and anguish feel so real. 
The writing style draws you in, it has a good pace and atmosphere to keep you hooked. It shows very differing levels of parental support between the parents.
A memorable quote from the book is 
Zara’s sisters quote ‘ well, there’s no such thing as a gay Muslim, is there?’
It crossed my mind whether the case presented would have got as far as court, but bought into the authors justification. 
I was constantly questioning was it /wasn’t it rape throughout the book and the consequences. I felt empathy for both of the boys throughout.
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Truth Be Told - Kia Abdullah 

Kia Abdullah's debut novel Take It Back was one of my favourite books of last year, I couldn't wait to read this one, and picked it up with very high expectations.

Truth Be Told is the second book featuring Zara Kaleel, a former barrister turned support worker, working with victims of sexual abuse.

Like Take It Back, Truth Be Told is a based around a court case, but is so much more than a 'legal thriller'.

The case this time involves 17 year old Kamran Hadid a pupil at a prestigious boarding school who reports being raped in his sleep by a fellow student (Finn) after a drunken end of term party.

That is just the starting point. There is great depth in this book. 

Kamran's domineering father Mack is a self-made millionaire, and we get a rich insight into the lives of wealthy, conservative British-Asian society. The stigma of male rape. The prestigious school, rich with money and tradition wishing to keep scandal away from its door.

The writing and characterisation is exquisite. There is real emotional depth to all the characters, and the ongoing development of Zara's character is just brilliant.

The plotting is superb, with the drunken party and the alleged rape incident being just the starting point, as different personal perspectives are presented from those involved (including that of the alleged rapist), and from the friends, family and members of the school community. 

This is the second novel featuring Zara Kaleel, while is it entirely self-contained I would definitely recommend reading the excellent Take It Back first, as the events in that book are referred to in detail.

It is so much more than a legal thriller from a brave and talented author. Very few authors create characters of such depth, characters who come alive in deep, emotionally involving and surprising plots.

The characters are vivid and real, living, breathing, hurting and crying, and I struggle to do it justice in a review. 

Read it!
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