I hope everyone’s doing well.
I can’t believe I am already saying this but today marks my Blog’s one month anniversary !
Time really does fly ! It seems like only yesterday when I was designing my blog and writing the first post. I have had so much fun this past one month blogging and I also want to thank all 75 people who followed The Bookish Crusade. It means a lot to me 🥺🧡
Lets get on with the review now !
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with an ARC.
First of all, the cover artist – Adeleke Adekunle did such a fantastic job ! It was this cover that attracted me to this book. Its gorgeous.
Goodreads synopsis –
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.
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé is a fast-paced, dark and twisty YA debut that addresses some very important themes and does a social commentary on racial discrimination along with a very thrilling mystery.
I am not going to lie, I think I read like 200 pages in one sitting ? And it is not something that often happens so you can see how unputdownable this was. I can confidently say that this book just raised the bar higher for YA.
This book has dual POV – Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo. The only two black people who go to Niveus Private Academy.
Chiamaka – The popular, confident and unapologetic girl who always wants to stay at the top of everything. She is a perfectionist and has been the Head Girl for consecutive 3 years. Chiamaka’s chapters explored how she ignored parts of herself so she could fit in with the white societal standards. We also see her exploring her sexuality. I loved how hopeful Chiamaka always was.
“I have to stop myself from apologizing- because what would I even be sorry for? Existing too loud?“
Devon – While Chimaka comes from a rich and privileged background, Devon comes from a very poor family. His mother works three jobs to afford their living. He is a quiet kid who never wants to be center of attention and finds refuge in music. He has already come in terms of his sexuality being gay. I cannot explain the number of times I wanted to hug Devon. He is a precious baby whom I just wanted to protect.
“I’ve felt alone a lot in this world, filled with people and faces that don’t look like me.”
I also loved the contrast between both our main characters. We see these complex but flawed characters facing same kind of prejudice which shows that their is no exception when it comes to white supremacy.
An anonymous bully ‘Aces’ shows up and starts targeting the only two black students of the School.
“Hello Niveus High. It’s me. Who am I? That’s not important. All you need to know is… I’m here to divide and conquer. Like all great tyrants do. -Aces
At first, things started in a very trivial manner but as you keep reading you will realize that there are so many layers to what only seemed to be like a Highschool story at first. I also loved how Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé brutally showed us destructive nature of white supremacy, institutionalized racism interwoven with educational gatekeeping, socioeconomic status, elitism and classism in academia.
Every revelation made me gasp in utter disgust and horror. This book is not only a fiction but a slice of what every black person goes through in real life.
“I don’t trust white people like you do. I obviously don’t think they are all murderers, but I think they are all racist.”
I also loved seeing Devon and Chiamaka come together, they supported each other and relied on each other knowing that they couldn’t trust anybody else. We also get some lighthearted and heartwarming moments with Devon and Chiamaka amidst all the brutal and heavy things.
The author also addressed the bitter truth that even the nice white people that we see participate in white supremacy and do not speak up when they see their close Black ones getting bullied.
And it was really great seeing the author show how social media can be used in activism and raising awareness.
The only reason, I am not giving this a full 5 stars is because the ending felt a bit rushed but nevertheless the way everything came together was powerful. Also, that epilogue made me cry happy tears !
“The world isn’t ideal. This world, our world, the one with houses as crooked as the people in them. Broken people, broken by the way the world works.”
Along with being an incredible debut, Ace of Spades is also a very important book. It is thought provoking and stunning with a lot to unpack. I think everyone should read this !
TW’s – death, car accident (hit and run), racism, homophobia, mention of n word, fetishization, physical violence, drugs/drug trade, alcohol consumption, stalking, white supremacy.
Lots of Love,