Ace of Spades
Chiamaka Adebayo has been working towards being the Queen of Niveus Private Academy. She’s curated the perfect grades, the perfect dating history, and the perfect group of friends, and as she enters her senior year, she’s been made Head Prefect and is well on her way to becoming a doctor by getting into an incredible Pre-med program. Devon Richards, on the other hand, has spent his entire high school life being a nobody. He has one “friend” at the school and frequently feels out of place as a scholarship student amidst others that are incredibly wealthy. Devon is good at being invisible. So when he’s given the title of Senior Prefect, he is incredibly confused but goes along with it nonetheless. Things go well for the two for the first few weeks of senior year. However, when a mysterious figure called Aces begins to expose the secrets of both Chiamaka and Devon, the only Black students at the school, the two begin to work together to figure out who the anonymous texter is, only to uncover a twisted plot that goes far beyond just them and their school. Will Chiamaka and Devon be able to stop Aces? Or will their futures succumb to the never-ending knowledge of the secret texter? Read the novel to find out!
This novel is best suited for mature readers, those above the age of 16. There are a variety of topics within this novel that may be difficult for readers under that age to properly understand, and most of the concepts are rather sensitive as well. This book heavily focuses on the topics of racism and social eugenics. As defined by the National Human Genome Research Institute, eugenics is the “scientifically erroneous and immoral theory of ‘racial improvement’
and ‘planned breeding.’” Racism is defined by the American Psychological Association as the “system of structuring opportunity and assigning value based on physical properties such as skin color and hair texture.” This book explores these topics in extreme depth, and although comprehension of these topics is vital in order to create a more accepting society, readers below the age of 16 may not be mature enough to fully understand these ideas. This novel discusses LGBTQ+ topics and class differences in-depth as well. Reading about all these topics at older ages ensures that readers fully understand them and are able to properly apply them to society. Additionally, there are a variety of adult topics and violent instances described at various points within the novel (detailed below), which may not be appropriate for younger readers.
This novel has a fair amount of positive messages. Although the novel describes the characters as taking a variety of extreme actions in order to build social reputations and get into good colleges, it later portrays such actions as bad. The novel does, however, go into depth about the issues of systematic racism, a vital lesson for all members of society to learn.
There are not a lot of instances of violence within the novel. There is one instance of a hit-and-run that is described in detail, and it may be unsettling for certain readers. Additionally, death and sickness are mentioned in various parts of the novel.
There are curse words used throughout this novel. Some words include the n-word, sh*t, b*tch, f*ck, wh*re, d*ck, and more.
Romance is a central part of this novel. Both the main characters have their own romantic storylines that stretch throughout the novel. LGBTQ+ relationships are a central topic of this novel. Kisses and dating are central to the plots of this novel as well.
There are a variety of adult topics mentioned throughout this novel. Drinking, hook-ups and sex, and drugs are a few examples. One of the characters is involved in drug dealing in order to make money for his family. The topic of death row is mentioned as well.
As seen by current events such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the recent backlash against the integration of CRT education into school curriculums, institutionalized racism is, unfortunately, a prominent part of society. This novel heavily focuses on the topic of racism by forming a story around an extreme, dark instance of it, and does an incredible job of depicting the impacts of systematic racism on the Black community. This book starts off like any other thriller novel: fast-paced, filled with terrifying moments, and adrenaline-inducing. However, about a third of the way through the book, the reader comes across what I consider to be one of the most jaw-dropping plot twists that I’ve read. It’s executed beautifully, and upon reading it, filled me with so much disgust for society that I had to take a moment to comprehend what I was reading. This novel also discusses the concepts of class differences and LGBTQ+ topics in-depth and with extreme transparency, something that I greatly appreciated as a reader. As someone who has become increasingly interested in current events, I found this novel to be a wonderful intersection between social issues and fiction. I would highly recommend that every person read this novel.