- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (May 1, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1481480340
- ISBN-13: 978-1481480345
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Tradition Hardcover – May 1, 2018
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Traditions at Fullbrook Academy: seniors escort freshmen to the Winter Ball; hockey players stack a puck in their window for each sexual conquest; and rich kids rule. Jules Devereaux is in her final year at Fullbrook and she is done with ex-boyfriends, friends, and the insidious privilege of her exclusive boarding school. James Baxter is on a hockey scholarship, a "do-over" after a disaster, trying to do the next right thing, attempting to keep a low profile because of his past. The main characters' inner lives are complex. Readers see James resisting the temptation of the pro-sports culture in the institution by refusing to take part in disturbing traditions. They also see Jules, steadfast in getting through to college, high performing one moment and confused the next about a nonconsensual sexual encounter. Boarding school is portrayed as a bastion of debauchery where no one is safe, but parallel characters form a diversified background to the story's major players and contribute to an uplifting apex. Kiely's treatment of sex, love, and friendship is thoughtful and relatable in spite of the backdrop, and the story ultimately delivers an enlightening message on consent. VERDICT A story that belongs in every library.—Deidre Winterhalter, Oak Park Public Library, IL
“Tradition is a deeply felt, powerful, devastating and, ultimately, hopeful look at toxic rape culture and its destructive effects.” --Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star
"Powerful and necessary, Brendan Kiely bravely takes on class, privilege, and injustice in this layered, authentic story about friendship and finding the courage to stand up for what is right—Tradition is an important, timely book that will empower young men to rise up against misogyny and rape culture." --Amber Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Way I Used to Be
"Tradition is a startling portrait of privilege and rape culture, but it is also ultimately a book about resistance and hope, the power of friendship to embolden our integrity, and the courage to do the right thing even when everyone else seems to be doing wrong." --Amy Reed, author of The Nowhere Girls
“Tradition is a stunning, timely, and deeply poignant novel about the culture of sexual violence. Sure to spark necessary conversations, this is 2018's must-read young adult novel.” --Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces
"Tradition isn't so much a book as it is an invitation and a promise. An invitation to stand up for ourselves and for what's right, and a promise that if we stand, we won't do so alone. Beautifully written with Brendan's wit and compassion, this book is a must read for all those hopeful for a better world." --Shaun David Hutchinson, author of the Florida Book Awards' Gold Medal and ALA's 2015 Rainbow Book List novel, The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley.
"Brendan Kiely’s Tradition is a searing literary call-to-arms in the most powerful and just sense: it takes a sledgehammer to our rotten, dangerous, and deeply ingrained traditions, so that we can build something new and beautiful in their place." --Jeff Zentner, author of the William C. Morris Award winning and Carnegie Medal longlisted The Serpent King and Goodbye Days
“The novel not only takes on rape culture within educational institutions, but condemns just about every sexist ideal we’re taught to accept” (Culturess)
* "A story that belongs in every library." (School Library Journal, starred review)
* “There is no doubt: this is an important book that all young adults should read.” (VOYA, starred review)
“Kiely bravely explores rape culture and how it intersects with class and privilege… readers will find themselves rooting for the world not as it is, but as it might yet be.” – Booklist
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Growing up in the 80s I was an art kid. Theater. String Orchestra. Band. Reading. I was sensitive, but outside those spaces it wasn't allowed. In sports, with guy friends, to show those emotions was to be ridiculed at least, sometimes outcast, oftentimes for me it was to be physically attacked. In sixth grade I told a close friend I loved him. He called me homophobic slurs, and hit me in the face with a fist-sized rock. That's "toxic masculinity." It doesn't mean that all men are bad, but what it does mean is that our culture has trained us in a very narrow way as to what a "man" is supposed to be, the emotions he's allowed to express, and how he's allowed to express them. Toxic masculinity is teaching boys to view each other, and women in a very narrow way. Toxic Masculinity isn't misandry, it's not hating men. It's hating societal norms that create men in this mold.
In TRADITION by Brendan Kiely there's a moment where he hugs another guy friend, and it's like this perfect moment of friendship, and intimacy. It was something I needed when I was a teenager.
"He pulled me into a hug. 'I think we both need one of these.' And he was right. The weirdest thing was that I couldn't remember ever hugging a man that long. Not my father, for sure. He could barely get through a mutual pat on the back. Not any friend or teammate. It'd always been girls. Why? How ridiculous."
That was my favorite part, that and there was a minor character named Greg that was a decent guy, and I'm going to imagine it's based on the teen me I could've been.
Anyway this is a book I can't wait to have in my 8th grade classroom. It's a very realistic look at sports, and the excitement of the game, but also does a good job unpacking the issues of toxic masculinity within a team structure. It looks at how to push back against it, while still being part of that world. It shows deep friendships between guys and girls that aren't based in romance or sex. It deals with sexual violence, and how people try to silence victims. More importantly it shows ways to deal with sexual violence, to be a survivor, and how to support friends after an assault.
I want this book in classes, on summer reading lists, in book clubs for teens, and for guys and girls to have discussions around these topics. I want teens to be able to unpack what they see around them, what they've learned, and try to figure out the things they need to unlearn. As a teacher, I couldn't recommend this book more.
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.
Thank you to NetGalley, Simon and Schuster, and Brendan Kiely for an advanced copy for review.
Tradition explores some very serious and timely issues around rape culture and the different treatment afforded to girls in the education system in this specific context. In the current media storm around #MeToo and the repeated appearance of the girl-sent home-from-school-due-to-clothing story, this book forms part of the important conversations that we need to have about what we teach our children about their value and place in society.
The story is told in alternating viewpoints from two main protagonists, one male and one female, one new to the school and one all-too-familiar with its traditions. This dual perspective allows the author to layer explore different perspectives, but ultimately both main characters share the same values, they just have different experiences of male privilege and female oppression.
That Brendan Kiely takes the issues he is exploring seriously is not in any question, as he maintains a sombre, almost menacing tone throughout the story which steeps the reader in anxious tension from the first page.
This strength is also something of a flaw in the story however, as combined with the dark tone, the emotional tension of the two main characters starts high and builds quickly. Jules in particular is distraught, almost-frantic, over health flyers and tampon protests from our first introduction to her. This effectively emphasises the looming sexual threat that fills the corridors at Fullbrook Academy, and shows that the main characters are aware and affected by this traditional old-boys atmosphere. It also leaves the author nowhere to take the characters emotionally by the time the crisis event occurs.
Jamie, or Bax, is also tightly wound, but this can be attributed to the secret trauma in his recent past, but Jules seems traumatised before The Event (and evidently rightly so – the atmosphere is undoubtably toxic) and therefore during and after the turning point of the plot her reactions can only slightly escalate and the reader is almost desensitised to the dramatic tone by the finale, which I am certain is not the effect the author intended.
I did really like the character development and relationship building, especially those between Jules and Javi, Javi and Max, Bax and Aileen, Javi and Bax. I especially liked that friendships once formed had to be maintained and worked on. Likewise the ending felt realistic and proportionate, with no huge events but a small pebble of change that may eventually gather an avalanche.
Overall this is a serious and thought-provoking book, with little action but a lot of emotional weight.
Way up in the sky the man in the moon has something like sad eyes, as if his pale face gazes down with pity, as if he wishes something better for us, or maybe wishes we ourselves were the ones who were better. I’m sure I’m sober, not drunk, just going a little crazy to think like that, but I think it anyway, because I feel that way. Sad. Like this whole stupid paradise, this very good school, is nothing but a fancy promise, a broken one, a big lie. And worse, that I’m actually a part of it.
– Brendan Kiely, Tradition
Review by Steph Warren of Bookshine and Readbows blog