Ace of Spades

An incendiary and utterly compelling thriller with a shocking twist that delves deep into the heart of institutionalized racism, from an exceptional new YA voice.

Welcome to Niveus Private Academy, where money paves the hallways, and the students are never less than perfect. Until now. Because anonymous texter, Aces, is bringing two students’ dark secrets to light.

Talented musician Devon buries himself in rehearsals, but he can’t escape the spotlight when his private photos go public. Head girl Chiamaka isn’t afraid to get what she wants, but soon everyone will know the price she has paid for power.

Someone is out to get them both. Someone who holds all the aces. And they’re planning much more than a high-school game…

I bought this book back in 2021 as I’d heard so many good things about it. I then promptly forgot what it was about as it sat on my shelf just waiting for a time to shine. I knew that it had been described a sort of cross between Gossip Girl and Get Out. I had only watched some of the earlier episodes of Gossip Girl when it was first released and I’d never seen Get Out…so here I was expecting a light a silly book about high school drama. How wrong I was! This was not light at all, it was dark and horrifying. In a good way because I was so keen to find out what happened next.

The book was split into three sections. The first section basically set the scene and introduced the main characters, Devon and Chiamaka. Devon was a scholarship kid who was a gifted pianist with dreams of going to Juilliard and giving his family a better life. He was a quiet kid who was an utter cinnamon bun of a human, I loved him! Chiamaka was the Queen Bee who ruled the school with an iron fist. She was mean, she was bossy, she’d worked hard to get where she was. She 100% would have bullied me in school. Anonymous messages were sent to the students giving pieces of gossip about the student body but mainly about Devon and Chiamaka. These two students had nothing in common apart form the fact that they were the only two black students on their entire school.

Part two involves Devon and Chiamaka discovering who is behind the messages, known only as The Aces. This part of the book was heartbreaking and infuriating to read. I felt so sorry for Devon and Chiamaka! The way that they were persecuted was absolutely disgusting. The worst part was that it felt real. It felt like these events could have taken place and that was just horrible.

In the final part, our new duo of pals work together to stop The Aces. This section was so tense, I was so worried for Devon and Chiamaka! They didn’t know who to trust and as a reader, neither did I.

I loved the tense feeling that this book evoked from start to finish. I ended up loving the two main characters and wanting the best for them. I hated everyone else at the school! I do feel I have myself a few spoilers early on by translating the school name and by noticing that 3 of the school values spelled a particular word…but this didn’t minimise my enjoyment. It only made me even more paranoid about literally everyone.

This was just a thrilling yet terrifying read. I thoroughly recommend it but do check out the trigger warnings as there are many.!

I can only express my enjoyment of this book as a white, adult woman. This is a YA book and I have really enjoyed reading some own voice reviews.

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