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Review: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

An absolutely jaw-dropping and riveting novel that perfectly tackles all the ugliness of systematic racism, Ace of Spades is a terrifying and addictive story about two talented Black kids trying to survive in a world that is hell-bent on bringing them down.

Review: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

An incendiary and utterly compelling thriller with a shocking twist that delves deep into the heart of institutionalized racism, from an exceptional new YA voice.

Welcome to Niveus Private Academy, where money paves the hallways, and the students are never less than perfect. Until now. Because anonymous texter, Aces, is bringing two students’ dark secrets to light.

Talented musician Devon buries himself in rehearsals, but he can’t escape the spotlight when his private photos go public. Head girl Chiamaka isn’t afraid to get what she wants, but soon everyone will know the price she has paid for power.

Someone is out to get them both. Someone who holds all the aces. And they’re planning much more than a high-school game…

Ratings: 5 Out Of 5

Trigger Warnings: racism, death (not explicit), murder, blood mentions, blackmailing, stalking, forced outing (of queer character), physical violence, drugs, bullying

The premise of this book had given me goosebumps, especially because in a world where we still keep Black people in human zoos, it’s not very far fetched to think there are actually institutions that let in talented Black students just to bully them, dehumanize them and break them down when they are most vulnerable.

But really, what I loved about the plot in this book, is that although it is quite clear that our main characters are being targeted for their skin color, the author still manages to shock you with twists and turns. The mystery and the suspense are what really keep you turning the pages. The story was fast-paced, action-packed, and reminded me of a horror movie gone wrong, and I did not want to miss a single minute of it.

And of course, the main characters of the book steal the spotlight. I loved how Devon and Chiamaka were total polar opposites because they helped the readers see two very different experiences of minorities in a very relatable way.

Chiamaka’s biracial identity and her privileged background never really protect her from the ingrained racism her peers hold towards her, and Devon’s struggles to bring his family out of poverty bring up some very important questions about how systematic racism has contributed to income inequality among minorities, as well as the problems of classism and elitism.

The best part though? The author tackles all of these issues deeply yet in a very subtle way. She interweaves these important themes cleverly into the plot, so the novel stays true to its mystery-suspense genre while exploring these difficult topics.

Without a doubt, this book is one of the best books I have ever read. But even more importantly, Ace of Spades is one of the most important books for teenagers, especially Black teenagers, and I believe that this is a story that will help many, many kids in the years to come.


Meet The Author: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé 

Review: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé is the instant New York Times, International bestselling & Award-winning author of ACE OF SPADES. She is an avid tea drinker, a collector of strange mugs and a recent graduate from a university in the Scottish Highlands where she studied English Literature. When she isn’t spinning dark tales, Faridah can be found examining the deeper meanings in Disney channel original movies. She is represented by Zoë Plant at The Bent Agency.

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy for this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley and Usborne Publishing for giving me a chance to review this book.

Review: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Have you read this book? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Review: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé”

  1. I’m so happy you enjoyed this! Ace of Spades was one of my favorite books as well and as much some people may find the premise unrealistic, I agree it’s not far-fetched there are institutions that appear to welcome Black students, chew them to pieces and spit them out. I also loved the way Chiamaka and Devon are complete opposites of each other and how the author tackles so many of the issues systemic racism has contributed.

    1. Totally agree with everything you said. Ace Of Spades was a real gem; the way the author balanced the suspense, the drama, the intrigue and still covered such important topics, it was an absolute masterpiece!

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