As someone who likes to read and promote queer books, a book about a group of ace teenagers committing a casino heist together was obviously going to be my thing. I’ve known this book would be a load of fun from the second I heard of it, and I’m glad to say I was right.
Jack Shannon is the son of a Las Vegas casino mogul, and he spends his school days running a secret blackjack ring. Until the day his mum is arrested for the family’s ties to organised crime. Jack knows who would have ratted her out, and he wants revenge. But that’s not something he’s going to be able to do alone. Luckily his only friends, an asexual support group he met online, join him in his plans. Jack has to try to save his mum, whilst also learning what it means to be in love when asexual.
I won’t lie, this book isn’t quite as heist-heavy as it sounds. They do commit some kind of heist, but this book does read more like a contemporary than a heist novel. That’s not a bad thing though, as it blended the elements of both so well. If you’re looking for a traditional heist, you won’t get that. But if you’re okay with something a little lighter? You’ll love this.
Obviously, an important aspect of this book is the asexuality of many of the characters. There’s plenty of discussion on how people view asexuality and how it can relate to relationships. If you’re asexual, you can still experience romantic attraction. And if you’re aro, you may experience sexual attraction still. Within the spectrum, there are so many different ways to be ace and aro, and even aro people may form relationships of some kind. Jack is a teenager, and he’s still learning about himself. He knows he’s asexual, but there’s still a moment where he questions is this something that any of us will grow out of? And that was really interesting.
This isn’t a romance-heavy book. Jack even starts the book by saying that this isn’t a love story. But there are still romantic moments. Jack has feelings for his friend Remy. You get to see a lot of cutesy elements you can expect from a teenager having a crush and a lot of the humour too. Especially when their friends get involved. My favourite thing about this relationship is that it s a guy/enby relationship! So many books featuring an enby character in a relationship have them paired with girls. It was so nice to see an enby/guy ship, and I really hope to see more of them in the future.
One thing you do get a lot of in this novel is a discussion about where people belong. Jack doesn’t feel like he belongs in his school, not even always that he belongs with his family. But he has found himself amongst his friends and in Vegas. I actually quite liked that as it showed that different people need different things and the growing closeness between him and his family too.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I’m so glad that I had an opportunity to read this early and if you’re a fan of queer contemporary and light heists, definitely check this book out.
Title: Aces Wild
Author: Amanda DeWitt
Age Range: Young Adult
Release Date: 6/9/22