Tradition by Brendan Kiely

Tradition by Brendan Kiely

I read Tradition by Brendan Kiely mostly because I saw Jason Reynolds recommended it, I will read anything Jason Reynolds writes, and so this book was an extension of this rule of mine. I am so glad that I read it, I went in expecting nothing and came away in awe. This book is about Fullbrook, a boarding school in New England, it is told from the perspective of Jules and Bax. Bax is a new student there, getting a second chance at his senior year. Jules is a senior who has lost her friend group and can’t wait for the year to end. Fullbrook is a school for boys. Women also attend the school, but as Jules shows throughout this book, they are only there for the boys. Fullbrook functions as a small scale example of the real world.

Jules cannot stand Fullbrook, it is just for the boys and the women are just for the pleasure of the men, this is apparent in the yearly Winter Ball tradition and the Senior-Send Off. Jules makes it her plan to send a message to the school that she needs space and other female students need a place to exist that is not full of sexual abuse. As a result Jules is seen as a joke, no one takes her seriously and she finds herself lonely and isolated. She befriends Aileen and Bax, both loners who also have not been able to find a place at Fullbrook. Bax is a second year senior, brought to Fullbrook on a hockey scholarship. He struggles with himself as the world only sees him for his athletic ability and size while telling him to also be the opposite. This unlikely group of friends work together to send a message to Fullbrook, that no means no.

I really loved this book, Brendan Kiely did an amazing job showing how both boys and girls are trapped in tradition. He showed what being an ally looks like and how crushing traditions are for people. I read this book in two days because it was impossible to put down. It does deal with some hard topics such as sexual assault and so that is something to be aware of before picking up this book. I think this book pairs very nicely with Mindy McGinnis‘ The Female of the Species. I am so glad that I read this book and it does a good job explaining everything that is happening to us and putting it in relatable terms.

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