ARC Review: Tradition by Brendan Kiely

Prestigious. Powerful. Privileged. This is Fullbrook Academy, an elite prep school where history looms in the leafy branches over its brick walkways. But some traditions upheld in its hallowed halls are profoundly dangerous.

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.

When Jamie and Jules meet, they recognize in each other a similar instinct for survival, but at a school where girls in the student handbook are rated by their looks, athletes stack hockey pucks in dorm room windows like notches on a bedpost, and school-sponsored dances push first year girls out into the night with senior boys, the stakes for safe sex, real love, and true friendship couldn’t be higher.

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?

Disclaimer: I was provided with a Physical copy of the book by Penguin India in exchange for an honest review. However, all the thoughts, feelings and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

“There is no such thing as voiceless. There are only the deliberately silenced or preferably unheard.” 

Arundhati Roy 

Tradition is book that I absolutely relevant, not only in today’s times, but also in the current world environment!  

Told in dual POVs – James Baxter and Jules Devereux – two very different students with two very diverse backgrounds – whose paths mingle in very traumatic way that neither of them ever saw coming at Fullbrooke Academy, a reputed boarding school!

Jules is a Grade A student; a part of Dean’s list – her focus is on academics & creating awareness among the students about important issues like women’s health & safety. She isn’t interested in dating nor is she interested in politics nor is she interested in sports – but her ideas, her strength and her outspokenness is not exactly understood nor is it abided at this prestigious school that thrives on tradition!

James is the new student – and it is a second chance for him at the Fullbrooke Academy. Here on a hockey scholarship; a second that he feels unworthy of. So here he is trying to cope up with all the expectations thrust upon him; he is slowly drowning under the pressure of keeping up, especially when he isn’t able to be who he is without facing ridicule!

Jules, James and their friends, especially Javi and Aileen end up not only the victims of the pressures at The Fullbrooke Academy – and it is a rush to read to find out if they will be able to stay true to who they actually are!  

What I said at the start of the review remains true – Tradition is a book that remains relevant, if not more than ever, in today’s time of viewing one life worthier than others. It remains relevant because, where it seems easy to stay silent and move along complacently with the f***d up views about the world and the people living in it than it seems to stand up to the wrongs of the world!

The writing is quite ingenious actually, it simple and yet the reader ends up connecting with the characters at a soulful level – for they go through the same insecurities, same anxieties that we might be going through or would have gone through at some stage in life.

Yet it is the plot that somehow slows the pace down – it took a really long time to lay the foundation to the lesson that the author wanted us to learn – but if you stick with it, it’s a lesson that you will be glad to get to the heart of!

This is a book that is pertinent, but it is pertinent only if the lesson sticks with you – which it would if you would give the chance to the book!  

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐


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