BOOK REVIEW | Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

TITLE: Ace of Spades
AUTHOR: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
PAGE COUNT: 432 pages
PUBLISHER: Feiwel & Friends
GENRE: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Thriller, LGBT

SYNOPSIS: Gossip Girl meets Get Out in Ace of Spades, a YA contemporary thriller by debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé about two students, Devon & Chiamaka, and their struggles against an anonymous bully. 

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

With heart-pounding suspense and relevant social commentary comes a high-octane thriller from debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Ace of Spades instantly grabbed my attention when it came out a few months ago. I finally got the chance to pick it up by working it in for a prompt from Orilium: The Novice Path readathon. I am so glad that I have read it as it is such an important book.

The book is about two students who are targeted by an anonymous person trying to ruin their lives. This person goes by the alias “Ace”, finds out their deepest, darkest secrets and exposes them to everyone through a series of text messages. Both Devon and Chiamaka soon realise that the reason they are targeted is because they, or rather the colour of their skin, is different from the other students’ and as the story progresses, they realise that the threat is much bigger than they ever thought it could be.

I was completely absorbed in the book and could not put it down. I went into this book not really knowing what it is about and I have to say, the plot went a lot deeper than I was expecting.

The author sent out such an important message and it is one that I will always remember. She taught me so much about what goes on behind the scenes, especially in academic environments. The book is written in such a way that once the reader finishes it, it will be impossible to look the other direction when it comes to the deadly, unfair and racist systems that are still precent in today’s society. Simply put: it is the kind of book that opens your eyes.

It is an amazing young adult mystery/thriller that I would recommend to anyone!

It’s about looking the part, having the best grades, and dating the right people. You have to make everyone wish they were you, wish they had your life. I know to an outsider, it seems horrible—making people self-conscious, feeding off their envy, destroying anyone who gets in your way—but I learned early on that it’s either kill or be killed. And if I had to stop and feel bad for every instance I’ve had to step on someone’s toes to keep the crown, I’d be very bored.

“I don’t trust white people like you do. I obviously don’t think they are all murderers, but I think they are all racist.”

“All?” I say, eyebrows raised.

“It sounds wild, I know, but racism is a spectrum and they all participate in it in some way. They don’t all have white hoods or call us mean things; I know that. But racism isn’t just about that—it’s not about being nice or mean. Or good versus bad. It’s bigger than that. We’re all in this bubble being affected by the past. The moment they decided they got to be white and have all the power and we got to be Black and be at the bottom, everything changed. If we can’t talk about it honestly, and I mean really talk about it, then what’s the point?”

“But the world isn’t ideal, so why poison my mind with thoughts that won’t make a difference?”

“We’ve all had fucking hard lives—doesn’t mean I’m gonna be an asshole about it.”

Growing up, I realized quite quickly that people hate being called racist more than they hate racism itself.

People always have a choice.

I hate that these systems, all this institutional shit, can get to me. I hate how they have the power to kill my future, kill me. They treat my Black skin like a gun or a grenade or a knife that is dangerous and lethal, when really it’s them. The guys at the top powering everything.

Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé is the instant New York Times and IndieBound bestselling 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.

Keep reading, stay safe and never stop telling stories.

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