Book Review Of “Tradition” By Brendan Kiely @Simonbooks @simonteen @KielyBrendan

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? (Photo and Synopsis from Goodreads)

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Teen #Partner For sending me this free copy in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I rate this book a 3.5 stars out of 5.

First off, I want to say, This book needs to be a must read for young girls, and boys. It touches on very important issues. Such as Gender Equality, privilege,same sex relationships and the judgement against them. The guys get pats on the back, girls get called names, and slut shamed. It’s a very sad reality, and sadly it goes beyond high-school age. It really occurs all the way through adulthood.

At 37 and a lover of YA books, sometimes some are just too young for me, and this was the case with this book. However, I still felt it was an important read, and I did enjoy it. I enjoyed Kiely’s story-telling, and it was refreshing to read a book on this topic written by a man. I think that is very significant. I do like that rape culture is being brought up in the world of YA lit, as well as adult fiction.

Jules, Jamie, Aileen, and Javi were wonderful characters, and the type’s of friends I wish my own teenage daughter could find. I like that they each came into the friendship with their secrets, but quickly learned to trust each other, and share their darkest  stories. They stood together, and in the end they made a difference. They chose to fight, and didn’t care what the outcome was to themselves. They made a statement. “I said NO” This really resonated with me, and I am so glad that I got to read and review this one. I now want to read other books by Kiely, as I am sold on his writing. Major applause to him for writing about such great topics. For being a voice that needs to be heard.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR- Brendan Kiely received an MFA in creative writing from The City College of New York. His writing has appeared in Fiction, Guernica, The AWP Writer’s Chronicle, and other publications. Originally from the Boston area, he now teaches at an independent high school and lives with his wife in Greenwich Village.