cover image Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades

Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-250-80081-7

An anonymous texter known as Aces reveals secrets about an elite private school’s only two Black students in this bracing debut that hauntingly explores systemic oppression in predominantly white institutions. On the first day of senior year, Devon Richards, an unpopular scholarship student from “the side of town... where people can’t afford food or health care,” is stunned to suddenly be named a Niveus Academy Senior Prefect. Less surprising is the Head Prefect selection: popular, wealthy queen bee Chiamaka Adebayo. Chi works hard to stay at the top of the high school social hierarchy, but when another girl thwarts Chi’s plan to establish the perfect high school power couple with best friend Jamie, it becomes the talk of the school. Musician Devon’s aim to perfect his Juilliard audition piece is disrupted, meanwhile, when a picture of him kissing another male student begins to circulate, outing both without warning. Àbíké-Íyímídé excels in portraying the conflict of characters who exist in two worlds, one of white privilege and one in which Blackness is not a disadvantage but a point of pride. The story feels slightly overlong, but Devon and Chiamaka are dynamic and multifaceted, deeply human in the face of Aces’ treatment. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Molly Ker Hawn, the Bent Agency, on behalf of Zoë Plant, the Bent Agency. (June) [/em]