- Author: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
- Series: Standalone
- Genre: YA Thriller
- No. of pages: 480
- Dates read: 06.09.21 – 07.09.21
- Star Rating: 5 stars
Plot: 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…
So, this was a book I saw promoted everywhere!! Everyone was raving about it and saying how amazing it was. So, naturally, I had to pick it up and see it for myself and, as you can tell from the rating, I loved it!
So, starting off with the writing. Àbíké-Íyímídé’s writing style is super easy to get into and in one sitting I read 150 pages and in the other sitting I finished the book! Her writing is engaging, easy to read and I kept on wanting more! This novel is multi POV and we follow two characters, Chiamaka and Devon. I could easily distinguish between each POV who was talking, both characters had vastly different voices/internal monologues and I enjoyed reading both of their POVs. This book has me crying with the characters, laughing with characters and being just as shocked with the characters. Àbíké-Íyímídé does a great job of also keeping you invested with each chapter. There is never a dull moment in this book and each chapter ends with a mini cliffhanger that keeps you reading!
The plot itself was incredible. The story covers very serious topics like homophobia and systemic racism. It’s a hard one as I really really enjoyed the story but severity of some of the topics within the novel make it feel that saying you enjoyed the story doesn’t feel like the right words as it’s so poignant. I feel that I need more important words to support and promote this amazing novel. But I did throughly enjoy the plot. The suspense, the build up, the reveal and eventually the pay-off was all incredible. I was constantly theorising what the outcome would be and who was involved with every plot addition or new character.
Our two main characters were amazing. You had shy and introverted Devon who I wanted to protect at all costs and then strong-willed and determined Chiamaka, who originally I wasn’t the biggest fan of, but her character arc and her internal motivations were incredible. You really root and want to support these characters when the texts from Aces start. We also get some great LGBTQ+ representation in this novel as well and it was done super well. Obviously, there is the exploration of what it’s like being black in a predominantly white institution and especially with Chiamaka what’s like being mixed race as well. We explore in this novel how being in white dominated spaces affects black teens growing up and the way they view themselves.
One thing I also wanted to shout out, which I did mention on my twitter @readsindia, is that Àbíké-Íyímídé included trigger warnings at the beginning of the book and link to find the full list on her website. There is actually a QR code you can scan. I personally think publishers should incorporate this more in the future. You can choose to look at it if you wish but I feel that it’s a super important tool that isn’t utilised enough!
Overall, this was an incredibly powerful and engaging mystery with characters you can’t help but root for and want to protect.
The next book I will be reading is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum and that’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Wier.