Review | Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

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.

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

Ace of Spades definitely lived up to the Get Out meets Gossip Girl comparisons: it was a thrilling read with powerful messages against institutionalized racism, classicism, homophobia and white supremacy.

Unfortunately, I struggled with the pacing. Slowly increasing the stakes and tension before things come to a head in a dark, dangerous reveal is common with psychological thrillers. In this case, though, the first half of the story lacked suspense, and I think it could have benefited from being a little bit shorter. Although the first half of the book didn’t grip me, it really hit its stride in the second half and from that point on, I couldn’t put it down.

There were so many twists and turns in Ace of Spades – I was able to guess some of them, but the big reveal still left me in shock. It was a bit rushed towards the end, and the epilogue opened up even more questions that went unanswered.

Overall, Ace of Spades was both an impactful read and an impressive debut novel. I can’t wait to see what Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé writes next! 

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