Fast Facts

Title: Ace of Spades
Author: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Publication date: June 1, 2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Fiction, Drama, Romance
Recommended for: 13+
Rating: 4.5/5

As the only two Black students at the esteemed Niveus Private Academy, Chiamaka and Devon have always felt like outsiders. Devon, a scholarship student and a talented musician, was raised by a single mother in the wrong part of town – a place that has almost gotten him killed on multiple occasions. Kept there by his strong devotion to his family and a certain boy he can’t seem to get off his mind, Devon counts the days until he is finally able to go to his dream school– Juilliard. On the other hand, Chiamaka was born into the high life. As the most popular girl in school, she spends her days surrounded by fake friends, her superstar boyfriend, and her duties as senior class president. But Chiamaka has other plans for after high school– getting into an ivy league, achieving wild success, and finally leaving Niveus behind. Until the day the whole school gets a message from an anonymous texter, Aces. Threatening to expose secrets that would pull Devon and Chiamaka further from their dreams, the two must team up if they want to take down their enemies and protect their reputations. But as the stakes get higher– things turn deadly and Devon and Chiamaka will do anything to make it out alive. 

This book was CRAZY. Riveting thrill, complex characters, and eye-opening revelations about society’s history with racism and social justice. Àbíké-Íyímídé’s writing is very reminiscent of a typical thriller, but with her own twist. When you think of a typical “who-dunnit” type mystery, you probably think of surface level novels about White detectives solving a single spooky murder. But this book is so much more. I loved how Àbíké-Íyímídé was able to weave in such beautiful character development, enticing relationships, and a plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat! Devon and Chiamaka both had their own distinct personalities that I hadn’t really seen before from most YA novels. As I read, I learned more and more about their ulterior motives, desires, and greatest fears. In this sense, they were both extremely relatable and interesting to read about. Additionally, the accounts of discrimination and systemic/institutional racism faced by the two main characters made the book feel even more raw and telling of society’s treatment toward People of Color. It was eye-opening and proved that society has a long way to go before we achieve racial and social justice. Overall, this novel was extremely complex, psychologically scary, character driven, and revealing of current societal issues. I recommend picking up Ace of Spades if you are looking for a thriller with depth, two awesome main characters, and a HUGE twist at the end!

Happy reading!

~  Julia