Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley



18285437Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she’s not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She’s even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won’t risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty…no matter how much she wants him.
As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time’s running short. Sam must decide who she can trust…and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.


My Review:

Due to my reading funk lately, I’m writing this review quite awhile after actually reading the book. So, I’m going to write this review to the best of my ability.


I remember absolutely adoring this book. The best way I can describe it is Cadet Kelly turned into a YA book. If that doesn’t already have you hooked, then I don’t know what will hook you. Sam’s character was so fun to read about it, and I loved that this book focused on a strong female character who knew that she could take care of and rely on herself. There’s not a lot of YA books out there with super strong female leads, and I feel like this is a very important book for young girls (if not all females) to get their hands on. It was a very empowering read.

On a slightly negative note, I did feel that this book was a little bit long. Even though it was amazing, it did sort of get a little repetitive after awhile. There were only so many times that I could read about Sam doing training, and going to the church, and all of her other routine stuff. Now, I know that’s a huge part of the book but some of those scenes could have been chopped.

I found the romance in this book to be very enjoyable. I didn’t so much agree with how things resulted at the end, but I enjoyed reading about them together. I also liked how it wasn’t insta-lovey. The romance actually seemed somewhat realistic and it was heartwarming to witness these young people falling in love. I also enjoyed how there wasn’t a love triangle at all.

The ending of the book felt a little rushed to me. I’m hoping that there will possibly be a second book since I really don’t know how I feel about how things ended. On the other hand, it can be argued that the ending was realistic. Sometimes it’s a struggle for me to accept an ending that doesn’t make my heart go all a flutter. I have to sometimes force myself to understand that realism is important in all literature. That being said, I still want a second book to make things more happy [=

Again, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve read this book and, unfortunately, I didn’t write my review right away. So all I can say is that I did like this book. I think that’s an important read for all youngsters and I  enjoyed it! [=


update: I also remember that I had a huge problem with the sexism that populated this book. I didn’t like how the girls were treated by the boys. I definitely expected some hostility but some of the stuff that happened and that was said to the girls made me very uncomfortable.


Pages: 416

Publication Date: 9/9/14

Publisher: Harper Teen

Rating: [rating: 3]