Brendan Kiely’s Tradition is an important novel about the patterns of abuse at an elite boarding school. Two of the high school students share the narrative POV in alternating chapters. Jules is a strong young woman who has historically spoken out on progressive issues she cares about, only to have them frequently pushed back in her face. Jamie is a fifth-year transfer student on a hockey scholarship who has escaped a rough history back home. Fullbrook Academy’s traditions promise to prep them for their studies and ultimately for their lives. But it’s the lessons of the hidden realities of life, the truths about bystanders and the privileged, that the characters are made to grasp over and over again.
Kiely’s account of the caustic nature of teenage life is replete with the adversities of social media, rumors, and innuendo. He deftly tackles the important and timely subject matter of sexuality, sexual assault, and consent. His characters are far from basic stereotypes of teenagers; they are sophisticated humans who yearn for the understanding of others.
Ultimately, Tradition is a book about the power of loyal friends and discovering that bravery can be found even during the worst of hardships. Yet it is also about how people continue to protect the status quo and surrender to the influential. I recommend and encourage all young adults to read this novel.
5 out of 5 stars
Comes out on May 1st, 2018.
Thank you to NetGalley, Simon and Schuster, and Brendan Kiely for an advanced copy for review.Tradition