Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Welcome to the FFBC: TRADITION by Brendan Kiely Interview & Giveaway!!


by Brendan Kiely
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
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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? 

Hi Brendan!!!  We are so excited about TRADITION and to have you join us for this tour!!


1.      Favorite Book?

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. 100%. 16-year-old Esch dealing with the weight of the world, and it's an allusion to the myth of Medea. 

2.      Favorite TV show?

Ahhh, only one? Fine :) Right now, A Handmaid's Tale. Badass feminist revolution in a dangerously male-dominated world--exactly what we need right now.

3.      Favorite movie?

Amelie. Got to find the magic in everyday, mundane moments. That, and love! 

4.      Favorite Song?

Pride (In the Name of Love). Because my mother would disown me if I didn't love all the early U2.

5.      Favorite Food?

Sushi. #2, also sushi. #3, well, you already know.

6.      Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.

Elysium, because who doesn't want to hang out with Greek gods and heroes!
Orleans (from The Belles), because come on, teacup animals--amazing!
The Shire, aka, the good life.

7.      What were your favorite books while growing up?

I got swept up into Lord of the Rings when I was young, but after that, I read every single Raymond Chandler Phillip Marlow novel, but when I got to high school nothing captured my imagination more than Frankenstein, that book cracked open my mind and carried me into the past and the future at the same time. 

8.       Favorite Quote?

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." - Bishop Desmond Tutu

9.      What are your fandoms?
Celtics all the way.
Coffee snob--yes, I'll admit it.
Renee Watson, because everything she writes and everything she does is 100% the best of what is human.

10.  What recent book would you recommend to our YA fans?

Emily X.R. Pan's The Astonishing Color of After is absolutely brilliant and beautifully written. Please go read it! 


Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about TRADITION?

This is a book about rebellion, friendship, and feminism. It peals back the curtain and exposes the insidiousness of the attitudes and behaviors that all too often silence and harm young women in our society today. It's about a young woman and a young man who form an unlikely friendship in their final year of boarding school, when they team up to take on and dismantle the old-boy, misogynistic traditions that dominate the school. And, particularly as a man writing this book, I wanted to write a novel that asked, "How can men be better feminists?"

What 3 hashtags would you most associate with your book? (Could be a word or phrase or anything that would instantly make you think of TRADITION.)


What inspired you to write this story?

I wanted to write a book that challenged the deeply embedded misogyny in our culture, and I was inspired by the courage of Emma Sulkowicz as she dragged her mattress to graduation at Columbia University to remind the world that no amount of institutional cover up could silence her, and I was inspired by a photo of a boys' football team in Portland, OR who all donned wild feminist t-shirts and said "not in our locker room" as a response to Donald Trump's inexcusable behavior revealed on the Hollywood Access tape. I was inspired by the idea of what it would look like if someone like Emma Sulkowicz and someone like one of the players from that football team decided to work together to expose the misogynistic attitudes and behaviors that engender rape culture.  

You write about really tough subjects.  If you could check in with any of your characters (from any of your books) to see how they are doing, who would you choose?

For me, while there is so much I want to know about Quinn, and where he is now, is he still playing basketball, is he doing more to help dismantle institutional racism wherever he went after graduating from Springfield High School, the character I'd most like to see how he's doing is Aidan Donovan from The Gospel of Winter. The pressure to remain silent brought him to the edge of sanity, and that he found his voice and recognized that before he could speak truth to power he had to speak truth to himself, I'd like to know how he's doing, and whether or not he found someone, a partner, whom he could love and from whom he could accept love. 

Tell us your favorite quote from TRADITION.

"They told us to be ready to take on the world, but then they told us to do it quietly. What if I wanted to be loud? What if I needed to be?"

Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write?  Or which part was the most difficult to get through?

Well, this is a funny question because the scene that was the most fun to write, the scene I really loved the most in the entire book, I cut at the last minute, shortly before making the ARC, so no one will ever read that scene (unless you were one of the very early readers who had a very early bound manuscript), but sometimes that's what we have to do, cut our favorite scenes, for the sake of the story. So instead, I'll share that the scene that was the hardest to write in Tradition, the one that felt almost impossible to get right, was the entire section that is the party at Horn Rock. This is the night everything goes wrong for everyone and where the threads of so many friendships are pulled apart. It's the moment where my stomach sank the most imagining I was in the characters' shoes, feeling life as they experience it in that moment. It's the only scene in the book where I cried a little while I was writing it. (And that only happened twice before in my life--writing the scene in the basement in The Gospel of Winter and writing the last chapter of All American Boys). 

If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for TRADITION– Which one would you pick?

Bjork's "Army of Me" from the Tank Girl soundtrack is the song that throbs in Jules's mind and steams through her teeth and that Bax would shout out alongside her. 

Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read TRADITION (specific music, snacks…)?

I've got a playlist for Tradition up at Largehearted Boy that I'd encourage folks to check out, songs by Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, The Be Good Tanyas, Valerie June, Lisa Hannigan, Bjork, Milky Chance, Hozier, Arcade Fire, Ibeyi, The Pixies, and Michael Kiwanuka--all songs that carry the mood from one beat to another in the novel, because a novel can't remain only one mood, one atmosphere, it shifts with the many weathers of the heart. 

Thanks so much Brendan!! 


Brendan Kiely is The New York Times bestselling author of All American Boys (with Jason Reynolds), The Last True Love Story, and 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, and was selected as one of the American Library Association’s Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults. Originally from the Boston area, he now lives with his wife in Greenwich Village. 

  • 5 copies of TRADITION by Brendan Kiely
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  1. Really excited to read Tradition!

  2. This is definitely on my TBR. Sounds very exciting, suspenseful, and emotional.

  3. Oh my gosh, I can't believe I didn't sign up for this one! This sounds like such an important read that's so up my alley, but I can't wait to pick up a copy!

  4. "What do you think about TRADITION? Will you be adding it to your TBR?" Sounds like a great prep school story, and I have added it to my TBR!

  5. I am a fan of this book, and after reading/watching a few interviews, I definitely want to read more of what Kiely writes. Great interview!