ACE OF SPADES by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Chiamaka and Devon are both students at the prestigious Niveus Academy and total opposites. Devon is a nobody, a scholarship kid who spends all his time working on music composition, only noticed by his friend Jack. Chiamaka is the definition of Queen Bee, working hard to be noticed and celebrated. She is a brilliant science student with designs on Yale.

Chiamaka and Devon have three things in common, though: they are both prefects at their school this year, they are the only Black students at Niveus, and they are both victims of an anonymous texter calling themselves “Aces” and sharing Chi and Von’s secrets with the whole school.

⚠️: Author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé provided an extensive list of content warnings for the book on her website. Chief among them are racism and homophobia but this thriller is full of potential triggers so I definitely recommend reviewing the list before reading.

The promotional materials call this book “Gossip Girl meets Get Out” and that description is spot-on. If I get too specific I’ll spoil more than I’d like, but it has the anonymous gossip and deep secrets, especially around personal relationships, of Gossip Girl and the “Oh no seriously get out of there” of Get Out. Multiple times revelations made me gasp and think “OHHHH!” There is some exposition at the beginning to introduce you to the characters and the setting, but as soon as Aces’s first message comes out, the pacing picks up and things get and stay intense.

The book also reminds me of Veronica Mars, with its focus on intrigue, detailed depiction of class differences, and teenagers managing their own affairs without much adult interference.

I definitely recommend this to readers who love gossip, mystery, or thrillers. Author Àbíké-Íyímídé says she has “has dreamt of writing books about black kids saving (or destroying) the world all her life” (lack of capitalization in the bio on her website). She has succeeded beautifully here.

Pre-order ACE OF SPADES now, out June 1 in the US and June 10 in the UK. Àbíké-Íyímídé offers some pre-order incentives on her website, so be sure to check those out!

Thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan for the e-ARC of this book!


[A phone displaying the US cover of ACE OF SPADES sits on top of scattered playing cards.]