Friday, December 11, 2015

Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

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.

This book was the first book in a very long time which had me feeling strong emotions (mostly anger and sadness) through almost every page.

In Rites of Passage, Sam joins the Denmark Military Academy to complete a dare given to her by her brother. She and a few other girls are to be the first female cadets at the academy, if they succeed. However, there are many people who don't want them to succeed, and will do literally anything to stop them.

Before I started reading, I thought that this would be like Cadet Kelly (the movie starring Hillary Duff and Shawn Ashmore), but less happy and more adult. I wasn't prepared for the violent things that the Society did to Sam, though, and that's where most of my anger comes from.

I don't think there was a book before this one that made me want to swear so much. The disrespect towards women and belittling them even when they've proven they can take it? I wanted to scream and rant.

I didn't think it was possible for me to hate anyone as much as I hated Dolores Umbridge, but Matthews proved me wrong. I was absolutely livid at him. He's so evil that he puts many television and movie villains to shame.

I loved Sam. She was tough and strong, emotionally and physically, but not to the point that she didn't let herself be vulnerable around people who cared and wanted to help. I loved her romance with Drill. At first, I was unsure about it, but as they got closer, I started getting into it. There were several scenes between them that had me grinning like an idiot. I wasn't too happy with the ending, though. It felt unfinished. I certainly hope that there will be a sequel eventually, because I want to see what happens next for everyone.


  1. Sam is tough.
  2. It will make you FEEL.
  3. It's an interesting look at life in a military academy. 


  1. The ending may not satisfy everyone. 


  1. You like strong heroines.
  2. You hate it when women are put down and treated like they are worthless.
  3. You like forbidden romance. 




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