The Books En Vogue Podcast

Season 1 | Episode 8: Ace of Spades x Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

In this podcast episode, we discuss the book “Ace of Spades” with author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. The book follows two Black students, Devon and Chiamaka, in their senior year at a prestigious private school. They must come together to stop an anonymous entity from spreading their secrets. The host and special guest discuss techniques for setting the mood while reading the book, such as watching early 2000s media, listening to piano music, and imagining pastel visuals. We also suggest the Nigerian beverage Super Malt as a companion and the aroma of sage to enhance the reading experience. The host and special guest then reimagine a scene from the book, showcasing the characters’ fashion choices and interactions. The episode concludes with the author encouraging readers to question societal systems and mentioning her upcoming book.

Connect with Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé: Twitter | Instagram | TikTok

Podcast Transcript:

Speaker 1 (00:00):

Give me two perspectives of Black youth within the institution of a prestigious and elite private secondary school. And if navigating this predominantly white space isn’t enough conflict, stir in the competition of selection as candidates for senior prefect, and an anonymous troll.  

This thrilling and suspenseful novel will have you second guessing open doors and critically analyzing “opportunities”.

Are you ready?

Speaker 2 (00:42):

(((♪♫The Books en Vogue Podcast  Intro ♪♫)))

Speaker 1 (01:04):

Welcome book lovers, to The Books en Vogue podcast.

This is your premiere listening experience all about immersive reading and helping avid and reluctant readers alike imagine book characters like never before. 

I am your host, Kat Trinidad. 

The format of the show is: I introduce a book, share tips on how you can engage your senses as you read this title, (Because… it’s one thing to be a mood reader but you get a little something extra from the story when you are a set the mood reader). And finally,  I will end the show with a reimagining of my favorite scene.

Today We will discuss techniques for getting into Ace of Spades,  with none other than the author, Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé.  

Welcome Faridah.

Speaker 2:


Speaker 1:

Please tell us about the book.

Speaker 2 (01:52):

Ace of Spades follows Devon and Mecca in their senior year of high school, and they’re very different. They’re from different cliques and they have to come together when an anonymous entity starts spreading their secrets around the school. And they have to stop this entity before things get deadly.

Speaker 1 (02:08):

Thank you so much for that. Do you care to join me in a discussion of some tips for setting in a reading mood?

Speaker 2 (02:16):

Yes, I’m very excited.

Speaker 1 (02:18):

Okay. Book lovers. I hope you have your writing utensils ready because class is in session.

Speaker 2 (02:25):

(((♪♫5 Senses Segment Intro ♪♫)))

Speaker 1 (02:45):

So Farida, what is the vibe? How can we engage our spirit as we read this book?

Speaker 2 (02:53):

So Ace of Spades, especially at the beginning, is reminiscent of a lot of the early two thousands or early 2000 and tens media. And so I think watching something from there like Pretty Little Liars or Gossip Girl, or even a montage of my favorite montage from the Devil West Prada, which is the fashion montage with Andy walking through New York wearing different things because as of spas is a lot of my fashion interests as well. And the beginning is especially that. So that can definitely engage your spirit.

Speaker 1 (03:26):

Wow, wow. So what’s the sound of Ace of Spades? What key notes in music or nature can set the tone as we read this novel? So

Speaker 2 (03:36):

The character Devon, he plays the piano and he wants to go to Julliard when he’s in college. And so I imagine a kind of soundtrack or kind of sounds that you might hear is a piano, a really nice gentle melody that’s kind of progressively getting faster. And there’s also something off about the melody as well. The keys are out of tune and it’s almost off-putting, but it’s like a serenading song as well.

Speaker 1 (04:04):

I like that. So what’s the aesthetics? This can be any visuals aside from the book, such as lighting. 

Speaker 2 (04:13):

So, I think that a lot of people would describe Ace of Spades as quite moody, but I think it starts off being kind of a brighter palette and then progressively gets darker. And so I definitely think it starts off more pastels. It starts in Chi Macca’s kind of fairytale rose tinted glasses world. And then it progressively gets darker as the ignorance and the veil of the truth is revealed and lifted. And then in terms of aesthetics and visuals, I think that the book is very much about fashion, for example. So Chika loves wearing Jimmy Chu shoes and Chanel, and so definitely that for her kind of preppy look. And then Devon, it’s a lot of laid back clothes like hoodies and sneakers.

Speaker 1 (04:58):

Okay. Okay. So what’s the flavor? Any food or drink companions for this title?

Speaker 2 (05:05):

So Chiamaka is Nigerian, and so I think that there’s a Nigerian beverage called Super Malt and some people find it bitter and it does have a hint of bitterness, but it’s also sweet. And I think AO Spades is very multifaceted. It’s not just a story about trauma, it’s also got a lot of joy and a lot of sweetness to it and romance. And so that type of drink that’s got a bit of everything and it’s best chilled, same way with ASO spades. It’s a very thrilling chilling story.

Speaker 1 (05:33):

I like that. So what’s the aroma? Are there any smells to transport us into the pages?

Speaker 2 (05:40):

I think Sage would be a good aroma for AAL spades because there’s so many bad vibes and people with bad intentions and so warding off those bad vibes probably would’ve helped Devon and CCA sooner.

Speaker 1 (05:53):

Absolutely. So how can we get more of the feels?

Speaker 2 (05:59):

I think that to get into the mood and the feels of Azo spades, definitely reading it on a cold autumn day and maybe it’s chilly outside and even rainy and you are inside cozy and yeah, I feel like that’s kind of, even though the story’s thrilling, I want it to end on a cozy note of you feeling safe in this story, in this community. So I think that definitely would be the best way to get deals.

Speaker 1 (06:26):

Well there you go, book lovers. These are your recommended supplies as you read this title. If you’re able, pause and get some of these if available or simply imagine. 

Because it’s time for my favorite scene!

Disclaimer: Please note that exact words, names, locations, and or scenarios mentioned in this reimagined reenactment may differ from the actual book.

Speaker 2 (06:50):

(((♪♫Scene Segment Intro ♪♫)))

Speaker 1 (07:11):

(((The Makeover)))  (((pg 366-373))

Starring  Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé as (((Chiamaka Adebayo))

& Kat Trinidad as (((Devon Richards)))

(((♪♫Soap Opera Instrumental starts… ♪♫)))

Devon: Ok, I’m here. It’s in a timely manner. Now what was so important—— Uhhhh

 Chiamaka: (((cut them off speaking))) Come on! 

(((walking up stairs)))

Devon: Ok. Geez, but you don’t have to drag me. 

 Chiamaka: “Okay, so, we have five options that I think would fit you from Dad’s closet. Pick the one you like most and I’ll leave you in here to change,”

Devon:  five suits 

Wow, you really have it all laid out 

They all look so  different


One is made from velvet, another, laced in gold. 

Chiamaka:Just pick one.You have a range of styles to choose from,I mean I don’t know you all that well,or what kind of suit you’ll be into… but you can’t go wrong.

(((internal monologue/ speaking to self))) Especially since your day-to-day fashion sense doesn’t exactly make your tastes extremely obvious to me. You dress like you’re purposely trying to make some kind of statement about ugly garments. It’s hard to gauge what someone who wears the same dreadful hoodie, pants, and sneakers every day would wear when it comes to formal outfits. 

Devon: How about this one?  Yeah, I like this one.

Chiamaka: You picked up the first one. It’s the plainest one, 

Devon:  What?  It has black lapels and a black bow.

Chiamaka:  I should have seen this one coming. 

“That’s really … plain,” 

Devon: “If you didn’t want me to choose it, why make it an option?”

Chiamaka: “It’s not that I didn’t want you to choose it, I just think it’s a little boring … I mean, we’re going to be on national television, in front of all the people who wronged us, so … thought you would want to dress nice for once.” 


(((chucking the suit back down)))

Devon: How about this one? This one is the flashiest. The blazer is gold, with satin lapels, a black bow, and black pants. 

Chiamaka:  “Much better. Going to go change now, will be back in a few,”

(((walking away)))

Devon:  “You look nice,”

Chiamaka: “Thanks … Where are your shoes?” 

Devon:  “On my feet,” These are my favorite Vans.

Chiamaka: “You can’t wear those.” 

Devon:   “Why not?”

Chiamaka:  “They clash with your outfit.” 

“What size are you? I’ll see if my dad has anything that might fit,” 

He should have some simple loafers or— 

Devon: “I’m comfortable; I don’t want to change into your dad’s shoes,” 

Chiamaka: Why are you so difficult? At least one of us will look the part tonight, that’s what counts.

 “Can you at least let me do something to your hair?”

Devon:  Sure.

Chiamaka:  “Okay.” 

Going to need an unused brush, comb, and styling gel… black eyeliner,

Okay hold still..

Just going to put some gel on your hair, and comb it out the best I can. I’m not exactly an expert on hair, but I do mine enough to know how to make it look half decent. 

You  literally look like you just rolled out of bed and come here, which wouldn’t surprise me. 

All done with your hair, Now to do something with your face.

Devon:   “What the fuck are you doing?” 

Chiamaka:  “Eyeliner,” 

Devon:  “Why?”

Chiamaka:  “You have nice eyes … I thought … I thought you’d look really nice with some on. I wouldn’t lie to you,”

Devon: Oh my goodness.  What did I sign up for?  

Chiamaka: okay.  You didn’t say no. 

 I’llI take this as my cue to continue.

Speaker 1 (10:44):

Book. Lovers!

If you have enjoyed this sneak peek, you can get more by reading the whole book. Ace of Spades is available at your local library and everywhere books are sold. And if it’s not, request it, because you deserve to read all the books that interest you!

And if you have already read Ace of Spades, or are in the middle of reading it, let me know in the comments what you like to do to set the mood for reading, because I would love to hear from you! So, please leave your feedback. 

 Faridah, is there anything else you would like to share with the listeners?

Speaker 2 (11:17):

For those picking up Ace of Spades for the first time? I hope that you learn to question everything. All the systems that we’re told to trust, question them all. And yeah, I’m very excited to be putting out another book. We Sleeping Girls Lie Soon, and I hope you enjoy that too. That does ask you to question systems as well. That’s just generally my thing. I like questioning things we’ve been taught to trust.

Speaker 1 (11:41):

Again, thank you  Faridah  for joining us today.

Speaker 2 (11:45):

Thank you for having me.

Speaker 1 (11:47):

And thank you, book lovers, for listening. 

With peace, love and joy, happy reading.

Speaker 2 (12:01):

(((♪♫The Books en Vogue Podcast  Outro ♪♫)))

If you feel inclined to own this book, please consider buying from my bookshop. The Books en Vogue Podcast receives a small commission for every purchase. Thank you.

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