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For Ages: 14 - 99
From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Brendan Kiely, a stunning new novel that explores the insidious nature of tradition at a prestigious boarding school.

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?
  • Margaret K. McElderry Books | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781481480345 | 
  • May 2018 | 
  • Grades 9 and up | 
  • Lexile ® HL710L
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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to


By Brendan Kiely

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Jules Devereux and James Baxter are both seniors at the prestigious boarding school Fullbrook Academy. Jules is the daughter of an alumnus, and James is an Ohio hockey player on athletic scholarship. As their unlikely friendship grows, they begin to truly understand the dangerous traditions that allow sexism, harassment, and rape culture to go unchecked at Fullbrook. After Jules is sexually assaulted, she turns to James and their small group of friends to help her reveal the truth, even if that means sacrificing their futures.

Discussion Questions

1. Based on their words and actions, what are your first impressions of James, Ethan, and Freddie? When readers first meet Jules, she’s passing out women’s health pamphlets to incoming students. What does this tell you about Jules’s character?

2. James feels like an alien at Fullbrook Academy, a “dumbass from corn country.” How does this feeling make James susceptible to peer pressure from Freddie? What does James mean when he thinks, “Still, I like the banter. Liked being a part of it all. There was something familiar—not the words, just being part of the conversation”? Describe a time in your life when you felt like James. Why do you think James burns the stolen picture, even though he doesn’t really want to?

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About the Author

Photo credit by Gary Joseph Cohen

Brendan Kiely

Brendan Kiely is the New York Times bestselling author of All American Boys (with Jason Reynolds), The Last True Love Story, and Camuto Fashion Verona Women's FIANNA Black Boots Vince The Gospel of Winter. His work has been published in ten languages, received a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, the Walter Dean Myers Award, the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award, was twice awarded Best Fiction for Young Adults (2015, 2017) by the American Library Association, and was a Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2014. Originally from the Boston area, he now lives with his wife in New York City. Tradition is his fourth novel.




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