Back to top

Secrets and lies

Cover of Ace of Spades
A review of Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Chiamaka and Devon, two Black students at a prestigious high school, couldn't be more different from each other. Devon's goal is to keep his head down until he can get into Juilliard; Chiamaka, to claw her way up the social ladder and graduate as homecoming queen. That makes it all the more mysterious when they're targeted by an anonymous saboteur named Aces. Aces's meddling starts with rumors spread throughout the halls, but escalates into a dangerous game that could ruin the students' futures forever. Can they figure out who has it out for them before their darkest secrets are revealed?

Àbíké-Íyímídé delivers not only a masterful YA thriller set in a cutthroat private academy, but also an unflinching allegory for institutional racism. This book's endlessly escalating plot is intertwined with racism and homophobia, from the everyday bias that seeps into relationships to the oppressive legacy of the American education system. The story is larger-than-life, but it feels all too grounded. If you read this book, you'll be rooting for Devon and Chiamaka to make it out alive when the cards are stacked against them.

--reviewed by Niv

Apr 5, 2024