brendan kiely

the gospel of WInter

An Amazon Best Book of the Month

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year

YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction of the year

"The Gospel of Winter is a book that will be satisfying to literary readers as it will to young adults. It captures the pulse of a contemporary wound, a truth that needs to be told about the shameful issue of abuse within our society. Brendan Kiely has written a novel that is both unflinching and redemptive."
— Colum McCann, New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award-winning Let the Great World Spin

Somewhere at the nexus of The Virgin Suicides, The Ice Storm, and Ordinary People lies The Gospel of Winter, the debut of a superb young writer that captures the powerful ways love can be used as a weapon against the innocent—but can also, in the right hands, restore hope and faith.

Set in the Connecticut suburbs, The Gospel of Winter is narrated by Aidan Donovan, a smart and wary sixteen-year-old whose family is combusting around him. Aidan’s father spends most of his time in Brussels, rescuing the world’s economy and ignoring his only son except for the occasional lecture on public virtue; his mother, a former ballerina, is theatrically miserable and seductively needy. Aidan finds solace in a bump of two of Adderall, his father’s wet bar, the friendship of the family housekeeper Elena, and the attentions of Father Greg, the backslapping priest who takes time out from his philanthropy to actually listen to Aidan. As Christmas approaches, Aidan’s world collapses in a crisis of trust. On the run from the adults in his life, he spends aimless nights with a misfit band of classmates: Josie, the girl he might be in love with; Sophie, the wild one; and Mark, the pothead swim team captain whose own secrets converge with Aidan's— in a stunning climax of tragedy that will leave Aidan wiser, and ultimately transformed.

Kiely writes with a keen eye for the insidious details of privilege and power, and a generous sympathy for the trials of a young man confronted with an impossible conflict of loyalties. The Gospel of Winter is a compelling novel by a writer of great promise.

Brendan Kiely is The New York Times bestselling author of All American Boys (with Jason Reynolds), TraditionThe 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.  Kiely received an MFA in creative writing from the The City College of New York and his short fiction has been awarded the prestigious Doris Lippman Award and has been published in Fiction, Guernica, Big Bridge, Mikrokosmos Journal, Void Magazine, and Promethean Magazine. Originally from the Boston area, he now lives with his wife in Greenwich Village. 

Published by Margaret McElderry Books at Simon and Schuster in January 2014.

More praise for The Gospel of Winter

“Kiely’s impressive debut takes a controversial topic—sexual abuse in the Catholic Church—and addresses it head-on with sensitivity and finesse....Kiely hits his mark with a sickening portrayal of Father Greg and those who let his behavior continue. But it’s the combination of Aidan’s vulnerability, denial, and silent rage that makes the novel so distressingly vivid and real.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review) 
 “In a lyrical and hard-hitting exploration of betrayal and healing, the son of a Connecticut socialite comes to terms with his abuse at the hands of a beloved priest. Each of Aidan’s relationships is carefully and subtly drawn, revealed slowly through Aidan’s elegant, pained and often circumspect narration. Often bleak, eventually hopeful and beautifully told.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review) 
 “Kiely’s gutsy debut addresses abuse in the Catholic Church. This is challenging, thought-provoking material, presented in beautiful prose, which explores the ways in which acts rendered in the name of love can both destroy and heal.” — Booklist (starred review) 
“Brendan Kiely's finely tuned debut accomplishes something rare--it pulls you into its main character's pain and truth without letting you forget how beautiful the world, and people, can really be. An emotional coming of age story that you won't soon forget.” — John Corey Whaley, Printz and Morris Award-winning author of Where Things Come Back
 “The Gospel of Winter marks Brendan Kiely’s auspicious debut as a novelist. Kiely deftly captures the difficulty of becoming oneself in a world filled with contradictions and mixed messages, artfully drawing us into the complex story of a young man’s search for identity, for comfort, for faith. Aidan Donovan's struggle to find truth lives in all of us—his pain and hope are both resonant and transformative.” — A.M. Homes, author of May We Be Forgiven, winner of the Women's Prize for Fiction
The Gospel of Winter comes to us in full flower, a rich, complex, wise, beautifully written novel and a compelling read.”
— Frederic Tuten, author of Tintin in the New World


The Last True Love Story

2017 Best Fiction for Young Adults

“Genuine, thoughtful, and heartbreaking, The Last True Love Story is the kind of book that kickstarts an awakening in your soul and will resonate with readers for years to come.”— Julie Murphy, New York Times Bestselling author of Dumplin' and Side Effects May Vary

From the critically acclaimed author of The Gospel of Winter and the coauthor of All American Boys comes a cool, contemplative spin on hot summer nights and the classic teen love story as two teens embark on a cross-country journey of the heart and soul. 

The point of living is learning how to love. 

That’s what Gpa says. To Hendrix and Corrina, both seventeen but otherwise alike only in their loneliness, that sounds like another line from a pop song that tries to promise kids that life doesn’t actually suck. Okay, so: love. Sure. 
The thing about Corrina—her adoptive parents are suffocating, trying to mold her into someone acceptable, predictable, like them. She’s a musician, itching for any chance to escape, become the person she really wants to be. Whoever that is. 
And Hendrix, he’s cool. Kind of a poet. But also kind of lost. His dad is dead and his mom is married to her job. Gpa is his only real family, but he’s fading fast from Alzheimer’s. Looking for any way to help the man who raised him, Hendrix has made Gpa an impossible promise—that he’ll get him back east to the hill where he first kissed his wife, before his illness wipes away all memory of her. 
One hot July night, Hendrix and Corrina decide to risk everything. They steal a car, spring Gpa from his assisted living facility, stuff Old Humper the dog into the back seat, and take off on a cross-country odyssey from LA to NY. With their parents, Gpa’s doctors, and the police all hot on their heels, Hendrix and Corrina set off to discover for themselves if what Gpa says is true—that the only stories that last are love stories. 

More praise for The Last True Love Story:

“A quirky, romantic, and satisfying story.”—Publishers Weekly
“This bittersweet, sometimes humorous coming-of-age journey hits all the right notes, with its emotional language, vivid landscapes, and quirky characters…A good fit for new adults, graduates of Joan Bauer’s Rules of the Road, or those who enjoyed John Green’s Looking for Alaska.”
“Brendan Kiely’s writing soars off the page, ultimately landing someplace between heartwarming and heartaching (but definitely somewhere in the heart). Here is a book about music, friendship, first and final loves, and all the blue notes in between. Indeed, The Last True Love Story may be exactly that.”
— David Arnold, bestselling author of Mosquitoland
“As cool as it is tender, this poignant story about the power of love thrums with classic rock and aches with honesty. I was so moved by Hendrix’s journey and, as a brown girl who loves music, I was completely invested in Corrina--one of my new favorite characters in all of YA. Authentic and beautifully written, The Last True Love Story will truly capture your heart.” — Jasmine Warga, author of My Heart And Other Black Holes
“A beautiful, searing journey into the American heartland. This book, like an epic road trip, is full of difficult truths, great music, and deeply human companions.”— Daniel José Older, award-winning author of Shadowshaper and the Bone Street Rumba series. 
“Some authors write with their hearts first and their heads second. Some the other way around. But Brendan Kiely manages, as always, to strike a skillful and delicate balance between deep, intellectual coming-of-age and poetic, emotional drama. The Last True Love Story stands in a league of its own both in regards to the way it portrays its teenage protagonists and the way it tells the very personal, tragic story of Alzheimer’s. If the point of living is learning how to love, to quote Gpa, then I think we should all start by reading Mr. Kiely’s beautiful novel.” — John Corey Whaley, Printz and Morris winner, National Book Award finalist, and author of Highly Illogical Behavior
The Last True Love Story is a tender multi-generational story that's as much about the meaning of family as it is about falling in love. There’s plenty of delightful adventure, but what I loved most about this book is its respect for moments that can be both quiet and life changing at once.”
— Ava Dellaira, author of Love Letters to the Dead


All American Boys (with Jason Reynolds) 

2016 Coretta Scott King Honor Book  
Walter Dean Myers Award
Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year for Young Adults selection

“It is perhaps too easy to call this worthy book timely and thought-provoking. Let us reach beyond simple praise and treat it instead as a book to be grappled with, challenged by, and discussed.” — The New York Times  

In this Coretta Scott King Honor Award–winning novel, two teens—one black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension. 
bag of chips. That’s all sixteen-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad’s pleadings that he’s stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad’s resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad’s every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement? 
There were witnesses: Quinn Collins—a varsity basketball player and Rashad’s classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan—and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team—half of whom are Rashad’s best friends—start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before. 
Written in tandem by two award-winning authors, this four-starred reviews tour de force shares the alternating perspectives of Rashad and Quinn as the complications from that single violent moment, the type taken from the headlines, unfold and reverberate to highlight an unwelcome truth. 

More praise for All American Boys

“With Reynolds writing Rashad’s first-person narrative and Kiely Quinn’s, this hard-edged, ripped-from-the-headlines book is more than a problem novel; it’s a carefully plotted, psychologically acute, character-driven work of fiction that dramatizes an all-too-frequent occurrence. Police brutality and race relations in America are issues that demand debate and discussion, which his superb book powerfully enables.”—Booklist, starred review
 “Timely and powerful, this novel promises to have an impact long after the pages stop turning.” — School Library Journal, starred review
 “The scenario that Reynolds and Kiely depict has become a recurrent feature of news reports, and a book that lets readers think it through outside of the roiling emotions of a real-life event is both welcome and necessary.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Written with sharp humor and devastating honesty, this nuanced, thoughtful novel recalls the work of Walter Dean Myers and is worthy of his legacy.”
The Horn Book Magazine, starred review
“At once timely and timeless, funny and wickedly smart, All American Boys is a beautifully written narrative about...about so many things—but most importantly—what it means to be a young man in America—across lines of race—and what it means to be a GOOD person in America—across lines of Everything.” — Jacqueline Woodson, author of Brown Girl Dreaming, winner of the National Book Award  
“This life-changing, nation-changing book is written with fire and love and courage. Read it, weep, and then share its power with everyone you know.”
— Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak, a National Book Award Finalist  
“A first-rate exploration of one of the most important issues of the day: police brutality. But this is more than just a timely issue novel. Reynolds and Kiely have produced a layered, thoughtful, literary work of art.” — Matt de la Peña, author of Mexican WhiteBoy, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults  
“A deeply moving experience.” — Kirkus Reviews  
“This tour de force shares the alternating perspectives of Rashad and Quinn as the complications from that single violent moment, the type taken from the headlines, unfold and reverberate to highlight an unwelcome truth.” —  
“In 2014, police officers choked Eric Gardner to death in New York City, shot and killed John Crawford in Beavercreek, Ohio, and shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Saddened and angered by the tragic deaths, Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely used their most potent weapon, storytelling, to write All American Boys about two young men caught in a police brutality incident.” — Writers Magazine  



Tradition is a stunning, timely, and deeply poignant novel about the culture of sexual violence. Sure to spark necessary conversations, this is 2018's must-read young adult novel.” — Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces

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?

More praise for Tradition
“Tradition is a deeply felt, powerful, devastating and, ultimately, hopeful look at toxic rape culture and its destructive effects.” — Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star
“Powerful and necessary, Brendan Kiely bravely takes on class, privilege, and injustice in this layered, authentic story about friendship and finding the courage to stand up for what is right—Tradition is an important, timely book that will empower young men to rise up against misogyny and rape culture.” — Amber Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Way I Used to Be
Tradition is a startling portrait of privilege and rape culture, but it is also ultimately a book about resistance and hope, the power of friendship to embolden our integrity, and the courage to do the right thing even when everyone else seems to be doing wrong.”
— Amy Reed, author of The Nowhere Girls
“Tradition isn't so much a book as it is an invitation and a promise. An invitation to stand up for ourselves and for what's right, and a promise that if we stand, we won't do so alone.  Beautifully written with Brendan's wit and compassion, this book is a must read for all those hopeful for a better world.”
— Shaun David Hutchinson, author of the Florida Book Awards' Gold Medal and ALA's 2015 Rainbow Book List novel, The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley
“Brendan Kiely’s Tradition is a searing literary call-to-arms in the most powerful and just sense: it takes a sledgehammer to our rotten, dangerous, and deeply ingrained traditions, so that we can build something new and beautiful in their place.” — Jeff Zentner, author of the William C. Morris Award winning and Carnegie Medal long-listed The Serpent King and Goodbye Days

 “A story that belongs in every library.” — School Library Journal, starred review
“Kiely bravely explores rape culture and how it intersects with class and privilege… readers will find themselves rooting for the world not as it is, but as it might yet be.” — Booklist  
“This novel is a timely road map for those looking to find their places in this rapidly changing world… A thoughtfully crafted argument for feminism and allyship.” — Kirkus
 “A novel to discuss.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review