Tradition - Brendan Kiely

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.


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?

No. No is a word with a lot of power. At least, it's supposed to be. We live in a world of double standards, though, in which girls are taught that No should protect them from certain things, should stop people in their tracks, but guys seem to get the impression that No is not a demand, but rather a suggestion. Tradition is a book that pulls no punches as Kiely delves into the disturbing traditions of a private school where boys are boys and girls are supposed to keep their mouths shut.

Jamie and Jules are both characters that readers will have no trouble empathizing with. They are wounded and fragile on their own, but together and with the help of good friends, they are able to find the strength to challenge the institution and the society that has trained young men that they cannot be challenged and that their lives are worth more. Both frustrating and hopeful, this novel puts a spotlight on society's double standards around sex and consent.

Highly Recommended

(Note: This review is from an Advance Reading Copy - Out May 2018)

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