Hello Readers, welcome back to my blog.
My first daughter’s name is Chiamaka so when I read the synopsis of this book and saw that the lead female protagonist is named Chiamaka I immediately ordered the illumicrate special edition. There was no way I was passing up the opportunity to won this book and show it to my daughter when she is older. Owning and reading books are two different things for some people, so it has taken me several months of owning this book before I got round to reading it.
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 . . .
Rating: 5/5 stars
Category: YA, thriller
Trigger: racism, homophobia, bullying, suicide ideation
Chiamaka is an Italian Nigerian girl, who is at the top of the social ladder in a private school for white rich kids. Devon is a scholarship kid, who is usually ignored by most students aside from his one friend. At the start of their senior year, Devon and Chiamaka are made prefects and while it is a surprise for Devon, it is expected for Chiamaka because she has always been working towards this goal.
Events progress as typically expected until someone anonymous named Aces starts texting the student body. All the texts seem to be aimed at revealing Devon and Chiamaka’s secrets, which seems racially motivated as observed by one of the characters because Devon and Chiamaka are the only black students in their school.
Devon is a homosexual black boy in a toxic environment that perpetuates violence towards him because of his sexuality and colour, he fears wasting his mother’s effort and money if he doesn’t get into Julliard by winning a scholarship. Aces seem determined to spoil all Devon’s plans with each revelation of a secret. Chiamaka is suffering the same fate, she has worked hard every year on her grades and extracurriculars so she can get an admission to Yale for pre-med but all that is in danger because of Aces, who seems to know every dark secret even the ones she has no knowledge of.
Chiamaka thinks she is in love with Jamie except Jamie is a douche and keeps taking advantage of her which she makes excuses for. The girl Jamie is dating while messing with Chiamaka is Belle but she wants to be friends with Chiamaka. Chiamaka has no genuine friends so she is not sure if she should develop her relationship with Belle further because she is suspicious of everyone that could be Aces.
The idea that an entire institution of people around you are against you because of something you have no choice in – your colour – is just traumatising and brings out really strong emotions in me and the part were Chiamaka and Devon are stopped in their car by the police is just indescribable. Devon has to go through everything his mother told him about the police when he is stopped, which is to do as he is told and always keep his hand visible to the police so they don’t view him as a threat and shoot him. This just brings tears to your eyes. I can’t imagine having to give that speech to my child as a mother. I was very uncomfortable reading how the shopkeeper treated Chiamaka when he thought she stole candy. The fact that Aces targets the only two black people in the school is very annoying to me. The racism is both implied and explicit.
I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars because why not? Fiction that educates and mirrors reality, just yum. It was gripping, thrilling, annoying at times but always outstanding. You should read this, everyone should read this book. While it is fictional, it does educate a lot and I would put it next to Noughts and Crosses and The Colour Purple in terms of relevance to society’s education. Faridah struck gold with this story and my daughters will certainly be encouraged to read this book when they are of age. And boy was the end very satisfying for the soul.
If you like this review and are interested in reading this book, you can purchase it using the links below:
Waterstones (UK) – https://tidd.ly/3CUTuSS
Book depository (Free shipping worldwide) – https://tidd.ly/3D05eUj
Audible (audio books) – https://tidd.ly/3iVCxzB
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