Reviewed by Samuel Redfearn, age 16
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Chiamaka Adebayo: Niveus Private Academy’s Head Prefect for three years running, a valedictorian candidate, the most popular and powerful student. That’s who she is at the beginning of her senior year at Niveus, having worked harder than anyone else ever since she came to the academy as a freshman. A similarly hardworking student, Devon Richards’ dream is to go to Julliard and drown in his love of music. Unlike Chiamaka, he’s never taken a particular interest in climbing the social ladder, instead choosing to remain quietly unknown and make his mother proud by doing well at the expensive private school. That is, until an anonymous mass texter begins spreading rumors about their pasts, digging up evidence to bring Chiamaka from queen of the school to social pariah and Devon from practically invisible to a victim of daily mocking and harassment. Devon and Chiamaka team up to figure out who is behind the jeopardization of their hard-earned futures.
Ace of Spades is full of tension, danger, and betrayals, many of which the reader won’t see coming. Much of the book is grand, eerie, and insightful. The journeys the characters go on are deeply powerful. Chiamaka especially had transformed by the conclusion in the book in ways that were unpredictable at the start. The premise of the story is bone-chilling and feels as though it could really happen. My main issue comes with the way in which the climax and falling action are handled. It feels altogether quite rushed and falls short of what the book had been hinting at occurring. The standoff between Aces, Devon, and Chiamaka feels trite, and unemotional, and is resolved in a way that does not inspire the same chilling effect as other parts of the book. However, as the deception continuously unfolds, revealing greater and greater layers of duplicity, as a reader, I was blown away by how hints were placed throughout the story of the eventual conclusion. The reveals are shocking and terrifying, but altogether satisfying because of how much they explain previous events. In spite of its rather underwhelming conclusion, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mystery and tantalizing thrills.
4.5 stars of 5 stars
Find this book in our catalog: Ace of the Spades
Catalog Number: YA FIC ABIKE-IYIMIDE,F