Google views websites like fine red wine - they're not ready for consumption until they've aged a bit
Yes. This long sentence is popularly called as Sandbox in short :)
How long does it take for a site to break out of the sandbox? How will I know when my site gets out of the sandbox?
If you have already spent 8 months, in all probability, the next major update your site should be ranking where it deserves to be. If it does, you will know either by keywords that you track ranking better or by traffic logs.