Cover Image: Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Holy. Freaking. Heck.

What a book.

I’ve read a lot of books this year (and reviewed very few). This is up near the top. It’s part Gossip Girl, part Get Out. And those influences are apparent in the first couple of pages of the book - they’re both quoted off the rip. And they’re both woven into the story’s plot, including a mention of Blair Waldorf.

I don’t know how to classify a book like this into a certain genre. It’s a thriller and teen drama, with a heavy focus on queerdom and racial inequities. It’s psychological and truly horrifying. And it’s maybe one of the best books I’ve ever read. I need it as a series ASAP. Snap, snap, HBO.

The characters are well-developed and flawed, while also being vulnerable enough to really care for and root for them. I would’ve liked to get to know Chiamaka’s and Devon’s families better, especially Devon’s brothers. I felt like they were mentioned in the story but not engrained into it’s fabric. I’d also really have liked more fat representation. I think maybe one person was mentioned as having been chubby, but it was fully negative. So that lack of fat rep and negative fat mention is where the perfection of Gossip Girl was weaved into this story’s pages.

I also feel like a few of the main supporting characters that were more vocal and visible early in the book kind of just dropped off the page to never re-emerge. Scotty was specifically one of those characters that I needed to be brought back so I could form a more solid opinion about him. I can make assumptions but he just disappeared, so I feel a little in the dark about his role.

I thought I knew what to expect, and there were parts I definitely felt more inclined to know than the characters, sure, but I definitely didn’t expect how the story progressed and eventually ended.

I have so many feelings about Ace of Spades and not nearly enough vocabulary to be able to express those feelings. It’s such an incredible story with a vivid setting and charismatic characters. It’s certainly a story about race and class, and those things are critical to the story, but it also felt like the type of story that could’ve been successful years ago with society’s normalized ideals.

Ace of Spades should receive all the rave reviews, all the accolades, and as much readership as possible.

Was this review helpful?

It's very, very good. I think it's a really good examination of race and class and a system set up to keep people down. To me, it could have used a little editing, as I thought there were some plot points that didn't get enough time to fully appreciate, and a romance that I wasn't rooting for in the slightest, but a super solid debut.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed this book! I didn’t really know what to think of this book when I decided to pick it up. It is described as a YA thriller so I thought it would be a good bet for me. I found this book to be both thrilling and thought-provoking. This was quite an impressive debut novel!

Chiamaka and Devon are planning on having a great senior year. Chiamaka rules the school and knows that she is well on her way to Yale next year then med school. Devon is busy working on his music with dreams of making it into Julliard. Things look great until Aces strike. Chiamaka and Devon are not in the same circle and don’t seem to have too much in common but they are both clearly being targeted by Aces. Someone who is calling themselves Aces is sending text messages to everyone at the school which reveals Devon’s and Chiamaka’s deepest and darkest secrets.

I was not only curious about who Aces might be and what their motivation was but also couldn’t help but wonder what might be revealed next about Chiamaka and Devon. As pieces of the puzzle started to come together, I was even more confused until everything clicked and then I was angry on their behalf. Devon and Chiamaka proved to be very resilient characters and I thought that they should a lot of growth during this story.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to others. This is one of those books that is best to go in as blindly as possible. I am so glad that I decided to pick it up and hope to read more of this author’s work in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Feiwel & Friends via NetGalley.

Was this review helpful?

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

Wow, what a book! The description of Gossip Girl meets Get Out is absolutely correct. I was glued to the page as I wanted to find out the identity of "Aces" and why Chiamaka and Devon are being targeted.

When everything is wrapped up in the end this is a stunning work of creativity and a forthright light shining on today's society. It's an exciting, fast-paced book with examination of perception, prejudice, bullying, racism, and LGBTQ+ issues woven through a mystery thriller.

The one thing I wished was that the pacing was a little different. I felt like the ending wrapped things up much too quickly and I wanted to know more about how all of that took place. It's just a small thing though, and I think this is an important, well-written book that readers of all ages will like even though this is a YA book.

I listened to some of this as an audio book and read a print copy for the rest. The two narrators for Devon and Chiamaka do a fantastic job giving those characters realistic voices in the narrative. I thought that some parts it was actually easier to listen because then I knew who was narrating. When I was reading the print copy occasionally I would forget whose perspective I was in and then had to backtrack to find out.

Highly recommended.

Was this review helpful?

This book was so phenomenal and I can't wait for more from Faridah Abike-Iyimide! The plot was amazing and the characters were great, too. Full review to come soon!

Was this review helpful?

Wow. I'm extremely impressed with this debut. Twisty and intense, this book doesn't just tackle white privilege and racism, it holds it down and forces you to confront it. Though there were some predictable aspects, I think this was a fantastic read and I'm excited to read more from this author.

Was this review helpful?

Niveus Private Academy develops the leaders of the future until someone decides to reveal two students of color's secrets and ultimately destroy them. Ace of Spades is everything you want from a thriller plot that has depth. From the first page, the reader is drawn into the plot and characters. Devon and Chiamaka are polar opposites with similar goals. To be better and achieve greatness after high school. Their struggle with fitting in and breaking stereotypes is honest and raw. Readers will automatically form a bond with them. The plot is fast, engaging, and suspenseful. At every turn, I was surprised by the development and ultimately at the end I was left floored. This is a must-read!

Was this review helpful?

Wow! What a strong story!

I have to say when I went into this, I wasn’t expecting the intensity that this reached. I was legitimately fuming at character choices and the things being said, but it all made sense at the end.

I’m not sure what sub genre this would fall under, but this and When No One is Watching bring up some great social points while also being thrilling novels.

Pick this book up if you haven’t! I give it 4.5 stars!

Was this review helpful?

I think Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé has made it unto my "auto-buy" list of authors. SUUUCH a good book!! I never knew who to trust, did not forsee the scope of the story and just how screwed up the world truly was... it has so many connections to the real world in what may look like a orchestrated too big dramatic way, but at the same time... holy damn, it is so great. I don't have words.

Was this review helpful?

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

School setting, thrills and suspense, powerful writing and immersive world building....fantastically well rounded characters - this book has it all!

Was this review helpful?

Ace of Spades is a page-turning mystery that centers two Black MCs in a high-pressure academic setting. While a few of the characters seem more symbolic representation than real people, most are well well-drawn and compelling, and the twists of the plot are page-turning and gripping. Ace of Spades is a strong critique of white institutions wrapped in a fast-paced novel, and it's a necessary story.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NeGalley, Macmillan Audio, Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, Jeanette Illidge (narrator), and Tapiwa Mugweni (narrator) for the opportunity to listen to Ace of Spades in exchange for an honest review. I would also like to thank the publisher in correspondence with Yallwest for offering me a digital ARC of this novel as well.

I used the NetGalley Shelf app to listen to this book. While I also have an e-galley, listening to the audiobook was much more entertaining (and time manageable, as I have many books on my plate). Both narrators did a fantastic job portraying the characters. They were spot-on with their voice acting and it was just a really great listen.

This book is told in alternating first-person perspectives: Devon and Chiamaka, two seniors who just became prefects at Niveus Private Academy. Senior year is supposed to be fun, thrilling, and everything that leads up to the excitement of graduation and college. When a mysterious person going by the name of Aces begins socially sharing scandalous posts of the two new prefects, senior year becomes a bit more complicated.

There is great LGBTQ and Black representation in this book. In fact, race plays a major role in the plot of this novel. Ace of Spades highlights and breaks some of the stereotypes that people often have towards Blacks. Both of the main characters are extremely intelligent and have kept up excellent grades with the promise of goin to a top tier university. When the negative posts begin to roll out through the school, that puts their chances at said top schools in jeopardy. Some people do this kind of thing on purpose. While the novel is brilliantly written and excellently executed, it takes a number of issues regarding race and sexual orientation in society today and slaps the reader right in the face with reality.

There is also a nice thrilling aspect to this novel. Who is Aces? Why are they doing what they are doing? What is their motive? I'm generally not a huge fan of thrillers as such, but the mystery was so intriguing, and I was dying to know what kind of person would want to affect someone's life in such a negative way. The mystery is fun and engaging to think about as a reader. this is a well-thought out and brilliant novel!

Stunning, brilliant, and highly recommend this book!

Was this review helpful?

Honest review in exchange for a free copy of this book-
Ace of Spades takes place at a prestigious private school dominated by white students and staff. There are two black students, Chi and Devon, who find themselves in positions of status at the start of the book, but then become targets being sabotaged and outted by a mysterious entity over text message blasts. The book revolves around Chi and Devon teaming up to stop the tormenting from "Aces." This book contains themes of coming of age, racial discrimination, LGBTQ+, and private school drama. It really started out strong in the first few chapters, but the middle dragged and the ending didn't satisfy. I would stand this next to "When No One is Watching" by Alyssa Cole in theme, but for YA audiences. This was ok for me, but could have been shortened and still made its point.

Was this review helpful?

Well, this was amazing.

I was absolutely sold on the tagline of “Gossip Girl meets Get Out” and didn’t need to know more than that, so I went in blind and was not let down.

I really liked Chiamaka and and Devon. They’re both really good people who have maybe made mistakes, like any teenager. I enjoyed the dual POV (especially when they were together) and how on the outside Chiamaka and Devon are different, but are actually quite similar.

Plot wise, I’m not going to give anything away. I did have a theory that kept evolving while I was reading and it was partly correct. The entire story kept me guessing and went in a direction I didn’t expect. I especially loved the future-takes and the very last chapter was perfection.

Overall, this was a captivating, heartbreaking, and important read. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for this author’s future works.

**Huge thanks to the publisher for providing the arc free of charge**

Was this review helpful?

This book was so good! Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo go to an elite school where strange stuff is happening and they need to figure it out before it is to late.
Ace of Spades hooked you from the very beginning and as the story went on it just got crazier and you never knew where the story was going to end up. This book was hard to put down. A must read.

Was this review helpful?

Ace of Spades is THE hit YA novel of 2021. The novel is a fast-paced thriller perfect for fans of Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars. There are plenty of twists and turns, secrets and lies, drama and mystery, and diversity to top it off. Devon and Chiamaka are each on track for valedictorian when someone who goes by Aces begins revealing their secrets to the entire school. The writing is addictive and the plot is unpredictable. Highly recommended!

Was this review helpful?

I received an eARC of this title through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

This book does a good job of pulling the reader in. The way the book discusses themes of racial inequality and LGBTQ+ issues within a community is poignant and realistic. The two main characters, Chiamaka and Devon, feel like two individuals who have their own personalities and dreams. I thing I really liked is how the author gave Chiamaka a character trait that honestly made me not like her but respect her. She was constantly focused on being the best and that does not change throughout the whole book, which I liked. With Devon, he was super laid back and a good fold of Chiamaka's intensity.

The story itself is well done, however, I found it to be predictable. I found myself figuring out the ending before the big reveal I think that is the only reason I would give this book 4 stars instead of 5. There were some plot lines that did not have any closure, however, in real life you do not always get closure so I can respect that choice for this book.

Other than that, the writing is beautiful, the characters intriguing, and the subject matter weaved in to make this book a highly recommend for me.

Was this review helpful?

ACE OF SPADES was a YA Thriller that packed a real punch. You don't want to believe that things like this--the purposeful hazing and discrimination of Black students that has taken place for years like this, but the horrible reality is is that white supremacy is alive and well, kept alive by systems and people who are complicit in it. It is an ugly reality, but it's true, and I know that the author didn't write this book for my enjoyment. ACE OF SPADES is a blistering excoriation of white supremacy and how systems reinforce inherent bias and racism in education, media and society as a whole. It's a story that makes your stomach turn but is so vitally important. It's a story that challenges and forces white readers like me to evaluate how complicit we are in perpetuating racist ideas in the name of "tradition." Our main characters, Chiamaka and Devon, are both really well developed and complex and have secrets and struggles of their own. I will say that the book kind of started off a little slow in the beginning, but the latter half really picked up steam and was totally immersive. I loved how the author balances intrigue and dark academia with social commentary that makes the reader really think. I want to see more Black Voices in dark academia novels. It's a very impressive debut, and I commend the author on this wonderful accomplishment. ACE OF SPADES is a story of Black kids burning down the very systems that are meant to keep them down, and was a book I deeply savored and is one I highly recommend for people who enjoy books and shows like PLL and Gossip Girl.

Was this review helpful?

4.5 stars

Smart, searing, fast-paced, and unexpected, this book took my breath away. I was hooked from the get go. Dark, and suspenseful, I enjoyed every moment of this wild ride. I can't wait for more from this author!

Was this review helpful?

Oh my gosh is to a complete binge worthy read. If you loved YA in the past or if it's ur current genre you need to read this book. This book is amazing and it's a must read for everyone.

Was this review helpful?