TRADITION by Brendan Kiely


Age Range: 12 - 16
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A prestigious prep school enforces toxic masculinity.

James Baxter is a scholarship kid intent on keeping his head down and not rocking the boat at highly acclaimed Fullbrook Academy. Meanwhile, Jules Devereux doesn’t mind ruffling feathers if it means changing a few minds. Together, the high school seniors unearth a vile, sexist ritual and the accompanying rot that has spread throughout Fullbrook’s culture. As Jules discovers her agency, James learns the first rule of being an ally: actively listening. The author’s plotting is loose, resulting in a novel that winds here and there, eschewing forward thrust in favor of a true exploration of the social dynamics at play. The novel avoids sermonizing, embedding themes in character arcs so well that every feminist argument emerges as a natural part of the story. Readers will find many aspects of the real world reflected in Fullbrook’s campus, beginning with institutions that have turned a blind eye to questionable and sordid practices because that’s the way things have always been done. As more organizations are subjected to scrutiny, this novel is a timely road map for those looking to find their places in this rapidly changing world. All major characters are white.

A thoughtfully crafted argument for feminism and allyship. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-4814-8034-5
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2018


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