Book Review: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé – A Stunning and Thrilling Descent into Dark Academia, Race, and Class

Ace of Spades by Faridah Abike-Iyimide. A badge at the bottom-left that says, 'Reviewed by CW, The Quiet Pond'. In the centre is a image of Xiaolong, the pink axolotl wearing a flower hat, waving at you.
Synopsis:

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

I was provided an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

When I finished reading Ace of Spades, I was overcome with a very unfamiliar feeling: I wanted to go back to the very first page and read it cover to cover again. I wanted to relive the descension of horror this book takes you through. I wanted to experience the terror and fear that this book instils with its incredible twist and turns. And, knowing what I know now, I wanted to feel that absolute dread of knowing what was coming, because how this story devolves and leads to was thrilling and so satisfyingly brilliant. I am in awe of Ace of Spades, and it is one of the most phenomenal debuts that I have ever read.

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Black History Month – Interview with Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, Author of Ace of Spades; On Black Horror, Dark Academia, and Her Exciting Debut

I have had the privilege of already reading Ace of Spades, an upcoming young-adult thriller from debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, and I have already called it one of my favourite books of 2021. Set in an elite high school, the story follows two Black teens as they are taunted, their secrets spilled by an anonymous texter who seems set on ruining their lives. Ace of Spades is absolutely stunning – and jaw-dropping and shocking and it will, as the cliche goes, make you hold a breath you won’t realise that you are holding.

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Five Reasons To Read: Prepped by Bethany Mangle – A Dramatic Deep-Dive into Doomsday Communities and One Girl Wanting to Escape

Prepped by B
Synopsis:

Always be ready for the worst day of your life.

This is the mantra that Becca Aldaine has grown up with. Her family is part of a community of doomsday preppers, a neighborhood that prioritizes survivalist training over class trips or senior prom. They’re even arranging Becca’s marriage with Roy Kang, the only eligible boy in their community. Roy is a nice guy, but he’s so enthusiastic about prepping that Becca doesn’t have the heart to tell him she’s planning to leave as soon as she can earn a full ride to a college far, far away.

Then a devastating accident rocks Becca’s family and pushes the entire community, including Becca’s usually cynical little sister, deeper into the doomsday ideology. With her getaway plans thrown into jeopardy, the only person Becca can turn to is Roy, who reveals that he’s not nearly as clueless as he’s been pretending to be.

When Roy proposes they run away together, Becca will have to risk everything—including her heart—for a chance to hope for the best instead of planning for the worst.

I received an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

If you’re the kind of person who loves reading about or watching documentaries about survivalists or preppers, then pay attention: because Prepped by Bethany Mangle may the kind of book that you’re looking for. This YA thriller-comedy debut follows Becca, a white-American teen whose family leads a doomsday community. Though her parents are passionate about the cause, Becca longs for escape – taking her younger sister with her – but when tragedy strikes, her doomsday community falls deeper into their doomsday ideology and escape becomes more difficult.

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Book Review: The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu – A Flawless Mystery/Thriller Debut about Toxic Friendships, Trauma, and Flawed Teens

Text: The Best Lies, Sarah Lyu. Image: A blue and pink lollipop, smeared against a pink surface.

Synopsis:

Remy Tsai used to know how her story would turn out. But now, she doesn’t even know what tomorrow will look like.

She was happy once. Remy had her boyfriend Jack, and Elise, her best friend—her soulmate—who understood her better than anyone else in the world.

But now Jack is dead, shot through the chest—

And it was Elise who pulled the trigger.

Was it self-defense? Or something deeper, darker than anything Remy could have imagined? As the police investigate, Remy does the same, sifting through her own memories, looking for a scrap of truth that could save the friendship that means everything to her.

CW’s Review:

Quite frankly, The Best Lies came for me. And by that, I mean that when I picked up this book, I did not know what to expect. What I did not expect, however, was for this book to blow my mind, become one of my favourite reads of 2019, and make me think about it at almost every waking hour.

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Book Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers – An Unforgettable and Discursive Mystery About Lost Girls, Stolen Innocence, and Privilege

Text: Sadie by Courtney Summers. Background image is of a girl wearing a red hoodie, her hair wind-swept and covering her face.
Synopsis:

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

My review:

I remember when this book first came out, and everyone gave it so much love and praise. And now having – finally – read Sadie, I can absolutely see why. Sadie follows the eponymous teen who is searching for her sister’s killer, with every intent to kill him herself, and a podcast reporter trying to uncover the mystery behind Sadie’s disappearance and her journey. Perhaps one of the most compelling books I have read in a long time, Sadie is the sort of book that sears its story into your memory and will stay with you for many days after.

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