Tradition is a powerful novel that shines a light on the way elitism creates a system which supports the abuse of power. Told in two alternating perspectives, the book explores themes such as sexual assault, toxic masculinity, and the way privilege and power go hand in hand. Kiely tackles these daunting themes head-on with writing that is sensitive, bold, and informative while avoiding self-righteousness. While the injustices in the book may make you want to scream, Tradition is a remarkably satisfying, uplifting novel.
From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Brendan Kiely, a stunning new novel that explores the insidious nature of tradition at a prestigious boarding school. Prestigious. Powerful. Privileged. This is Fullbrook Academy, an elite prep school where history looms in the leafy branches over its brick walkways. But some traditions upheld in its hallowed halls are profoundly dangerous. Jules Devereux just wants to keep her head down, avoid distractions, and get into the right college, so she can leave Fullbrook and its old-boy social codes behind. She wants freedom, but ex-boyfriends and ex-best friends are determined to keep her in place. Jamie Baxter feels like an imposter at Fullbrook, but the hockey scholarship that got him in has given him a chance to escape his past and fulfill the dreams of his parents and coaches, whose mantra rings in his ears: Don't disappoint us. When Jamie and Jules meet, they recognize in each other a similar instinct for survival, but at a school where girls in the student handbook are rated by their looks, athletes stack hockey pucks in dorm room windows like notches on a bedpost, and school-sponsored dances push first year girls out into the night with senior boys, the stakes for safe sex, real love, and true friendship couldn't be higher. As Jules and Jamie's lives intertwine, and the pressures to play by the rules and remain silent about the school's secrets intensify, they see Fullbrook for what it really is. That tradition, a word Fullbrook hides behind, can be ugly, even violent. Ultimately, Jules and Jamie are faced with the difficult question: can they stand together against classmates--and an institution--who believe they can do no wrong?