[eARC Review] Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Monday, September 08, 2014

Title: Rites of Passage
Author: Joy N. Hensley
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Contemporary, Military
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Release Date: September 9th 2014
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: eARC provided from publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads

Sam 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.

I will forewarn you that this review will be a gushy one because this book blew me out of the water. I did not expect what I read when I picked it up. Rites of Passage is full of strong and complex characters that grab you from the moment you meet them to the very end of the novel. I seriously could not put this book down once I started reading it. I thought about it every time I had to put it down and do other things and I found myself trying to find opportunities to stop what I was doing and read because I needed to know what would happen. This book was brilliant.

What i think I liked the most about Rites, was that it was not about a forbidden love story...which I will admit did happen eventually. But what this book was about was Sam and her ability to stand strong against even the most adverse situations. Sam herself was the highlight of this book because she was herself, no matter what happened. She cared more about proving that she could go through military school than being a regular teenager. Because of her family name she knew that there was a very large and very bright target on her back and so that made her struggle that much worse. But the way she held herself and the way she cared about those around her was amazing to read. She was a great narrator and main character and to be honest a great role model for teen readers. Sam set her mind on something and let nothing stand in her way, even when those around her were telling her to give up.

Yes, Rites of Passage is about Sam and her struggles in an all boys military school, but it is also about family and friends and how to navigate all at once. I think the relationships Sam had with not only her family but her friends as well told a lot about her to us readers. She cared so much about those around her that she would always make sure they were okay before herself. But what I think I liked the most was the family dynamic and how screwed up it was. At times it was very hard to read how they treated each other because we saw how much Sam needed them, but it made for great conflict and tension which was great to read.

Now we get to the best part of the book, and that was the secret society that was trying to get Sam and her female counterparts kicked out of the school. I think this was my favorite part of this story because of how real it felt. The main villain was written to the point where i wanted to go into the book and kick his ass for for everything he was doing not only to Sam but to all the girls. This society made this book a sort of mystery novel that I never expected. I wanted to know who they were and what their endgame was, and oh boy. The endgame was so messed up, but made for a great read.

I loved this book so much that the end felt a little too open ended for me. I wanted to know more about these character and what would happen to them after everything settled down. There were so open ended questions that weren't exactly answered but to be honest I didn't care, because this book was just that good. I would love if the author would write a follow up to these characters so we can see how they are doing, but for now i will keep the ending i have in my head, because its awesome :)

You Might Also Like


  1. Well, let me tell you that you're not the only one signing this book's praises. I wanted to read this sooner rather than later but I guess this book is not out yet. I am a fan of military stories (especially one that involves romance), and Sam sounds like a kick ass character.