“Deeply felt, powerful, devastating and, ultimately, hopeful.” — Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also a Star
“Powerful and necessary…an important, timely book.” —Amber Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Way I Used to Be
“A story that belongs in every library.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
“A thoughtfully crafted argument for feminism and allyship.” —Kirkus Reviews
From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Brendan Kiely, a stunning novel that explores the insidious nature of tradition at a prestigious boarding school.
Prestigious. Powerful. Privileged. This is Fullbrook Academy.
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.
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.
As Jules and Jamie’s lives intertwine, and the pressures to play by the rules and to keep the school’s toxic secrets, they are faced with a powerful choice: remain silent while others get hurt, or stand together against the ugly, sexist traditions of an institution that believes it can do no wrong.
Kiely's (American Boys) newest alternates perspectives between jock Jamie "Bax" Baxter, a new student at Fullbrook Academy who is escaping tragedy and determined to start over, and feminist activist Jules, who is fed up with Fullbrook's social politics and its traditions based on hierarchy and privilege. The novel focuses on a nonconsensual encounter between Jules and her ex, Ethan, after both have been drinking at a party. Jules is left wondering whether what happened to her was sexual assault. Kiely explores the reactions to Jules's claim from multiple angles; everyone has a different opinion about what happened. Gillian, who is Ethan's current girlfriend and Jules's ex-best friend, witnessed the incident and believes that Jules lured Ethan into cheating. Other people also blame Jules and label her a slut, seeing Ethan and Gillian as victims, and there are further reprisals after Jules comes forward. In his portrayal of Jamie, Kiely writes against jock stereotypes, presenting him as sensitive, understanding, and courageous a good guy for all women (and men) to have in their corner. A novel to discuss, this takes up timely issues about privilege, problematic school "traditions," and how institutions can in some cases protect their athletes and discourage women from reporting assault. Ages 14 up. Agency: Rob Weisbach Creative Management.