There are so many books out there in the world with amazing authors connected to them, and Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé is one of them. Her debut novel, Ace of Spades, was released in June 2021, and I can assure you that anyone who decides to read this will not be disappointed. This dark thriller has amazing settings, characters that can never be considered dull, and a plot twist that would keep even a non-avid reader enticed.
The plot opens at the start of a great year for Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo when they are chosen to be a part of the elite school’s senior class prefects at Neveus Academy. This position not only looks great on college applications, but it also puts them in the spot to be the next valedictorian. As great as their year started, it turned sour just as quickly when a secret blackmailer with the name of Ace threatens to ruin their futures. What started off seeming to be a prank, quickly turns into a menacing game where Ace shows no intentions of stopping. Now it’s up to Devon and Chiamaka to create a carefully constructed plan to figure out who exactly Ace is. When they do, they quickly realize that knowing who Ace is doesn’t make it any easier to stop them.
Àbíké-Íyímídé interestingly uses her story to shine a light on racial issues and class issues while never departing from the main plot. The main characters in the story go to a high-status school where they are the only black people. According to Marie Claire magazine, a reviewer, Danielle Prescod, was able to get in touch with Àbíké-Íyímídé to discuss the race and class portion of the story. Asking her about the connection “between anti-blackness and so-called prestigious institution,” Àbíké-Íyímídé replied, “I think a lot of these institutions, whether it’s university or a high school, often are prestigious because they have a history that is rooted in a kind of subjugation of black people. It’s kind of interesting how they’re all hiding basically what you’ve been doing. A lot of them have gotten their wealth and prestige from what they did in the past.”
In summary, I recommend everyone pick this book up because I wasn’t able to put it down.
If you’re interested in reading Ace of Spades, you can look at its availability on the Howard County Library System’s website.