Ace of Spades -- new YA novel that everyone should read


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Do you remember a year ago when many white people were claiming to stand with their Black friends as well as searching for information about what it is like to be Black in America? George Floyd has just been murdered by a police officer. We are a year later and the police officer has been found guilty. Racial riots were happening everywhere a year ago. People took "Black Lives Matter" for anti-police. The truth is people who are standing with the Black people aren't saying they are necessarily against the police. They are saying they are against the police who abuse their power and discriminate based on race. I know as a white person I have good friends who are different races and respect all races and I have friends who are police officers and have a huge respect for police officers. I also know when I have been pulled over for speeding a few times, I never once thought "Am I going to die here?" because of my skin color. That fear is what needs to go away and there is definitely a need for education all around. Today I am going to share a new young adult novel that deals with race, homosexuality (including bisexual), class, and so much more. This is a novel that I feel everyone should read. And it is also an amazing novel. The novel is Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé.

From the Publisher:

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.

All you need to know is . . . I’m here to divide and conquer. Like all great tyrants do. —Aces

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.

From Me: 

Ok, I don't want to give away anything, so I'm going to start by saying I had this book in my purse when I took Hazel for her second Covid vaccine. While waiting for our turn and then waiting for the allotted wait time for reaction I let her read the book (even though I had brought it for me). She did not want to put it down. The book is that engaging. You read a few chapters and you want to know what will happen next and you want to figure out who Aces is. The story itself deals with racism--both personal and systemic, homophobia and coming out as well as classism. 

The school is a private high school mostly for wealthy white kids. The main characters are Devon, a poor Black boy who is into music and there on scholarship and does his best to be invisible. Then there is Chiamaka. She is a wealthy daughter of doctors--a Nigerian mother and an Italian father, who has worked hard to be at the top of the social ladder of high school as well as getting good grades. She calculates everything even to whom she is friends and dates. She enjoys being in the spotlight and being the envy of everyone. The two are different in just about every way except that they are the only two Black kids in the entire school and the main two that Aces is going after. 

Each of them tries to figure out who Aces is on his/her own, but as it goes on Aces gets more dangerous and the two eventually must work together. They don't know who to trust because Aces seems to be getting into both of their lives at school as well as outside of school. 

If this book was a movie it would definitely be R-rated. There are swears, sex, drugs, violence and more. However, I am allowing Hazel to read it even though she is only twelve.  I feel the message about the different -isms is very important and it is very eye-opening to what Black people deal with every day though thankfully (or at least I hope) they don't have to deal with something like Aces all the time. I would love to delve deeper into the message of the book but doing so will reveal too much of the story, so I am going to stop here and suggest you pick up a copy of this book. It would be amazing for a discussion in a book club or class.