Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé centers two Black students, Chiamaka Adebayo and Devon Richards, as they are the only Black students at their school, Niveus Private Academy. They both have done exceptional jobs so far in their years of high school and both are in the running for valedictorian at the end of senior year. However, as their senior year begins the whole school starts to receive messages from an anonymous texter by the pen name of Aces. Aces sends out the deep dark secrets of both Devon and Chiamaka seemingly targeting just the two of them. It starts as what seems like a joke or a prank, but turns into something very dangerous that not only threatens their academic futures but their lives, safety, and the safety of their loved ones.
Ace of Spades was a book that was so sickening to the point where I felt nauseous from what these students went through. While I understand that reading something that may make readers uncomfortable is not ideal; I believe that if Black people have to live similar experiences portrayed in this book it’s only fair we [allies] read something that makes us feel uncomfortable as well in order to try and understand the struggles they face almost every day. Regardless, this book brought me a new perspective from the eyes of those in the Black community. Ace of Spades is definitely something I think everyone should read but it does contain content that may be too much for some people; so before reading, be sure to be aware of the trigger warnings on this book. Personally I love betrayal and books where my jaw might as well be on the floor and this book provided that for me perfectly. Every so often I was met with a plot twist that I would not have seen in a million years especially in “Part Three: Ballot or Bullet.” I loved Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé’s portrayal of the lgbtqia+ community in Devon and Chiamaka. As a member myself I relate to Chiamaka when she didn’t feel like she had to make it a big deal and have a “self-hate” moment when figuring out her sexuality but just knew who she was.
This book made me emotional in so many ways. I was angry, sad and on the verge of tears, and scared all when Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé wanted me to be. The descriptions in Ace of Spades are phenomenal as I felt everything Devon and Chiamaka went through. The betrayal of their peers, the fear of being watched, and the frustration behind the question “Why?…Why us?”
Reviewed by M. at Twin Hickory Library