Ace of Spades centers around two characters, Chiamaka and Devon, who are the only two Black students at a predominately white school. They begin their senior year with goals to do their best and work towards their long-term success goals. Neither of them expects to have all of their secrets exposed to the entire student body.
Starting the book, I was immediately turned off by Chiamaka and her “mean girl” attitude. My view of her eventually changed as I got further along in the book. I wouldn’t say that I loved her, but she grew on me. Devon is laid back (sometimes a little too laid back) and pretty much flies under the radar until Aces starts to expose his and Chiamaka’s deepest secrets. Mass text messages start going out to the student body, revealing what these two students have been up to when they thought no one was watching.
I had many different ideas of who Aces was and why he or they decided to target these two characters. My thoughts and predictions changed many times throughout the book due to new clues and information revealed. Chiamaka and Devon are basically on a downward spiral. They continue to go to school every day, wearing masks to seem unbothered when they feel that their lives are falling apart. They’re on edge every time a text alert comes through, and as a reader, I was as well.
“I think about how many Black spirits have been killed by white supremacy and lies. How many of us were experiments. Worthless bodies in some game.”
I enjoyed how much I could relate to the perspectives of these characters. There are times Chiamaka and Devon questioned their very existence because of looks, comments, and hate received by their classmates. The author captures many different societal flaws such as racism, classism, and sexuality and brought them to the reader’s attention without overshadowing the storyline.
This book is a page-turner. I got so swept up in the characters and the twists and turns of the storyline that I couldn’t put it down. This author did an excellent job keeping me on the edge of my seat. I would think I had to story figured out, and most of my assumptions were wrong.
I’m looking forward to what she brings next.
Now that the overall review is out of the way, I want to share some questions, thoughts, reactions I had while reading. You might want to skip this part if you haven’t read the book.
Did Devon get on anyone else’s nerves? Overall I liked him, but I became sooo frustrated with him and how he lives in his own head. I wish he would have said a lot of these things out loud, especially to Chi in regards to the sarcastic remarks she always has. There are times when Devon had helpful information that, I feel, should have been shared with Chiamaka sooner. But I guess that’s just the way he is (sighs).
Since Devon and Chiamaka are the ONLY two black students at the school AND the only students being targeted, you would think they would have come together a lot sooner than they did. Like, really??!!! Y’all couldn’t put your pride to the side and come together sooner rather than later.
Another thing that stood out was how their parents had no clue what was going on. Chiamaka and Devon were both unwilling to share what was happening with their parents. Devon did tell his mother about being bullied but he downplayed it A LOT. And their parents were too wrapped up in their own lives to see what was happening.
Although I felt some kind of way about Chi at the beginning, I can understand having to maintain a hard exterior around other people all of the time. She was surrounded by people who were waiting for her downfall and didn’t want to seem weak. Everyone she trusted turned on her, leading her to feel like she was alone. Looking at her through that lens makes me feel for her.
Did anyone else get the bonus content in their book from Barnes and Noble? It goes back to their freshman year at Niveus, and you get a chance to see how some key characters worked their way into their life.
Comment below and let me know your thoughts!