Saturday, July 31, 2021

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé


Gossip Girl meets Get Out is actually the perfect way of describing ACE OF SPADES. This YA book fulfilled the dark academia itch that I've been suffering ever since I read THE SECRET HISTORY and craved more stories set in exclusive schools built on secrets, treachery, and lies. The two narrators of this book are Chiamaka and Devon. Chiamaka is biracial and super rich, but she still feels like she's never going to be enough unless she pushes her ambitions further. Devon, on the other hand, comes from a poor family and really struggles to fit in at the private school. His biggest talent is music and he hopes, with the help of his understanding teacher, to get into Julliard next year.

Both characters end up facing even more pressure, though, when someone named "Aces" starts putting them both on blast, sending text messages, photos, and videos to the school detailing some of their most intimate, and damning, secrets. Secrets that could destroy their futures and their lives. Even though neither of them have ever really interacted before, both Chiamaka and Devon are forced to come together to figure out who it is at the school that has it in for them--

And why.

I honestly couldn't put this down. It was done so well. Devon and Chiamaka both felt like distinct people. I actually related to Chiamaka a lot because I also pushed myself really hard academically, and I know there are reviewers saying they didn't like her because she was cold and mean, but I actually related to that, too, because it's a social defense you can hide behind: pushing people away and not letting them get to know you because you're afraid of being hurt. Devon is definitely more accessible on an emotional level, which is why I think readers tended to prefer him. And his story is really sad. There were portions of this book that left me feeling kind of misty-eyed. 

Less is definitely more when getting into this book and I don't want to spoil anything, but let's just say that not only does the blurb actually rise to the occasion, but so does the story. It's dangerous and dark, filled with real stakes that push the characters to their limits and test their ability to overcome and endure. Once the book gets going, you won't be able to put it down, and the chaotic finish and fantastic ending are going to leave you feeling like you've just withstood an emotional hurricane.

I. Loved. This. Book.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

5 out of 5 stars

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