Girlbosses and Secrets: My Ace of Spades Review

This summer, my entire Instagram feed has been yelling at me to read Ace of Spades. Since I'm a bit of a YA thriller fan, I could NOT resist. And I'm pleased to report that the blockbuster book of the summer lives up to the hype!

Book Title: Ace of Spades
Author: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé 
Publisher/Year: Feiwel & Friends, 2021
Genre: Thriller
Number of Pages (According to Goodreads): 432
My Rating: 5 out of 5

Book description (from Goodreads):

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...

Meet the Characters

This book is about two Black students at a majority-white private academy who must find out who’s leaking their secrets to the entire school, and it’s a twisty dark masterpiece of a thriller! I loved the main characters, especially Chiamaka — she’s such a girlboss but like, in a good way. Yeah, she also gaslights and gatekeeps a little, but with fashion sense that good, I can forgive her.

Devon was also a sympathetic protagonist, and it was easy to root for him to achieve his dreams -- even if he did kind of want to punch Chiamaka sometimes (don't blame him honestly :P)

Thrills, Chills, and Heavy Themes

The plot twists were absolutely mind-blowing, and there was even some cute queer romance amid the story’s overall darkness. I ate the whole book up in under 24 hours because it’s just THAT good!

Make no mistake, though — as thrilling as the story is, ultimately this is a book about violent anti-Black racism. This isn’t some kind of sensationalized trauma story — according to the author herself, it’s first and foremost a story for Black people about overcoming trauma and racism. However, that does mean the themes are very difficult at times, and it’s important to be aware before going in.

Trigger and Content Warnings for Ace of Spades

This book may not be for you if you're sensitive to discussions/depictions of racism (inc. slurs), homophobia/outing, blood, gun violence, alcohol/drugs, car accident, stalking, emotional abuse/toxic relationship, panic attacks/disorders, suicide attempt, sexism, forced institutionalization.

Final Thoughts

To sum up: proceed with caution if you might be triggered by the material, but if you’re sure it will be safe for you then READ ACE OF SPADES!! It’s a truly excellent story and I’ll be thinking about it for a long, long time.

Ace of Spades is now available everywhere, so check out the links below if you want to snag your own copy:

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