Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Rating: 4/5

“I stop myself from apologizing-because what would I even be sorry for? Existing too loud?”

Niveous Private Academy is where the money paves the hallways and the students never look less than perfect. Until Aces, the anonymous texter is bringing two students dark secrets to light and it will change everything they thought they knew about them. Devon, a talented musician who buries himself into his work is unable to escape the spotlight when his private photos go public and Chiamaka, who isn’t afraid to get what she wants and soon those around will know the price she paid for power. Someone is out to get them both and they must find out who it is before it’s too late because Aces is planning something more than a high school prank.

This was a non-stop rollercoaster and nearly had me gasping for air by the time it was over. It was such a thrilling, emotional and intense read that touches on heavy topics that everyone needs to talk about. The writing, characters, pacing, and the plot made the book so much more than I thought it would be. I hadn’t intended to read it until a friend of mine mentioned it to me and I’m glad that I decided to read it. Let’s start off with the characters, they were flawed, well-written, and interesting and the way that Faridah writes makes them feel very real. The antagonist Aces can go away for good now, I hated them so much and normally I don’t get so invested in the antagonist but Aces can rot for all I care. Every time they did something to the characters in particular, Deveon and Chiamaka, it boiled my blood. I believe the reasons that I hated them so much is because of how real Aces felt, there was no justification for their actions and this is very relevant to what has been happening in the real world especially within the last two years.

Faridah shows the characters going through educational gatekeeping, institutional racism, blackmailing, PTSD, outing, stalking, classism, and elitism and I felt like she did a great job with showing how issues like these can impact people in different ways. I think that’s why it was so intense because things like this happen daily.

Even with the dark themes, there were some entertaining and warmhearted moments that kept hooked until the end. But, if you feel like the dark themes are too much for you then this book may not be for you and that’s fine. What was covered in the book is very important and I felt that it was really well-written, engaging, emotional, and a thrilling read from beginning to end.

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