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 feel like this book has been on my radar for awhile. I’m not sure when it sold, but I feel like I’ve been hearing about it for forever, which means I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. I knew it sounded like something I was interested in, but for some reason I was convinced that it was a fantasy, not a thriller. I dunno, it’s weird, I guess this book just gives off vibes that demand you pay attention to it. And I’m not complaining at all. Trigger warnings: racism, blood, homophobia
Dang, this book was good. This book was the kind of good that I wanted to be plastered everywhere. There’s a reason this book gives off vibes that made me want to stop and take it in. It’s because this book is GOOD. It’s classic material, honestly.
This book grapples with racism, white supremacy, gatekeeping, being queer and a person of color, and socioeconomic status. I am not qualified to talk about most of them, but it is important to mention that they are at the heart of the book. This book deals with real, painful truths and it looks at them head on.
Just thinking about what this book did makes my jaw want to drop. Seriously, I became so distraught over a scene that my dog became concerned and started whining.
I feel like I’ve seen a lot of stories, and a lot of thrillers, with this basic concept. High achieving academic students are terrorized by a mystery person for unknown reasons. I’ve liked very few of them. But this one. Wow, this one turns that concept completely on its head. It takes everything to a whole new level of messed up. It’s horrifying, disturbing, bone-chilling, and terrifying. Everything unravels slowly, and when everything is revealed, the genius of this book, and this author, is all that’s left to stare you in the face.
So many thrillers don’t come through for me in the character department. That is not the case for this one. Chiamaka and Devon are so different. One who’d like to fade into the background, and one who hungers to be on top. But both of them are being targeted, and they are thrust together to try and figure out the mystery. They way their stories intertwine is wonderfully done. They parallel each other, but they are also so uniquely their own person.
This book was also so much more queer than I thought it was going to be! Which is obviously a super good thing haha.
The writing also was also incredible. I know I’ve already gushed about how this story was put together, but I feel like the writing deserves to be mentioned on it’s own. It’s rich, and it hold this story together and boosts it up to make it as amazing as it is. The way it feels adds to the horror running through the book, and just makes it all the better.
I have only one complaint, and it’s a small one! The ending felt a bit rushed to me. I don’t think I would have wanted anything to have happened differently, I think I just felt like things were wrapped up way to fast. I would have liked for the aftermath to have dragged on a bit more.
Though, the very ending of the book, the epilogue, was pure brilliance. Of course, I must be vague, but holy WOW, is it good. It finishes this book off with a horrifying bang, one last shot of adrenaline before “the end”. It encompasses everything that this book is, and everything it was trying to do.
Overall, this book is one to watch out for. I think it’s going to take the world by storm, I certainly hope it does (I will certainly be there helping it along the way), and it’s going to be amazing to watch. It’s GOOD. The kind of good that has to be portrayed through caps lock. Just, I love it so much.