Ace of Spades

Feiwel & Friends. Jun. 2021. 432p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250800817.
Gr 9 Up–Chiamaka Adebayo and Devon Richards are selected Senior Prefects during their final year at the elite Niveus Academy. Chiamaka is ambitious, unapologetic, and social climbing. She sets her sights on the Snowflake Ball, a Yale acceptance letter, and legacy rich boy Jamie Fitzjohn. Devon is low-key, inhibited, and reserved. He does not want to make waves with his music, Juilliard aspirations, and homosexuality. Chiamaka and Devon are surprisingly linked when a shady figure known as Aces exposes their secrets and lies to Niveus and Devon’s impoverished neighborhood through harassing texts. They slowly discover their friends, classmates, and faculty as fairweather and realize they are not only targeted because of the secrets and lies: Their status as the only Black students poses a threat to a secret white supremacist network at Niveus. Chiamaka and Devon must work together to ensure they make history as the first Black graduates or die trying at the hands of Aces, who will do anything and everything to prevent their upward mobility. Readers will love this thriller-mystery reminiscent of Gossip Girl and Get Out. The plot keeps readers guessing. Themes of systemic racism, structural white supremacy, microaggressions, class distinctions, and LGBTQIA+ identities will also resonate with readers.
VERDICT A revelatory, buzzworthy debut.

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