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…
Thank you to Usbourne for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange with an honest review.
I’ve been hearing good things about this one recently, but I have to admit it surpassed all expectations. I did not expect this one to be such a page turner with dark but really important themes. This book reminded me of SLAY in a lot of ways, as both are such compelling reads that focus heavily on race. I didn’t really know much about this book going in, so most of the themes came as a bit of a surprise. I’m glad I went into this one with little knowledge, however, as it made the book even more gripping.
We follow Chiamaka and Devon, two Black students at their private school who are suddenly targets of an anonymous texter who spreads their deepest, darkest secrets around the school. The two band together to try and find out who Aces, the anonymous texter is. Although this is the basic premise of the story, there was so much more to it than that. Both of these characters have a lot going on in their lives, resulting in exploration of sexuality, class boundaries and elitism.
I stop myself from apologizing-because what would I even be sorry for?
The writing was brilliant and really kept me on the edge of my seat. I buddy read this with Alex over 10 days, but every single day I wanted to keep reading when we reached the end of the chapter. I sped through the section for the day and couldn’t put this book down, it was so compelling and such an easy read despite the difficult topics it explores. Although I had my suspicions about who Aces was, the plot also kept me guessing and intrigued.
I really liked Devon as a main character and I grew to like Chiamaka too, although I never fully connected with her and definitely found her unlikable at the start. Devon’s chapters were just more emotional for me and I really felt for what he was going through. Both of their relationships with the side characters were also interesting to read about and I really liked some of the dynamics between the main pair and others.
Existing too loud?
Overall, this was such a compelling read that had an in depth look on racism and inequality. I loved how the teenagers had some really deep and important discussion about racism without it feeling inauthentic, which is something SLAY also does well. My only criticism would be that a few aspects of the plot felt just a little far fetched, but I would still highly recommend this book!
4.5 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽