Sep 8, 2014

Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Title: Rites of Passage
Author: Joy N. Hensley
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: 9.9.2014
Pages: 360
Genre: Young Adult, Military, Contemporary, Bullying
Series: N/A
Source: eARC from publisher

Rating: 5 Stars

Summary (from 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 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 first heard about RITES OF PASSAGE almost a year and a half ago when I met the lovely Joy N. Hensley at a local event. Since then I had been anxiously awaiting reading it, so when it appeared on Edelweiss one blessed day, I immediately downloaded it and settled in that very night to read it. One of the best decisions ever.

For a debut, Hensley does an admirable job and writes like she’s been doing it since birth. She has a way of telling a story that thrusts the reader deep into the action and brings these vibrant characters to life.

I couldn’t love Sam more if I tried. Her heart, her spirit, her determination … I’m sad to say I’m not as strong as Sam. I wish I was, but I think I would have backed down in the face of such harsh conditions. The hazing she endures is brutal, but it’s a great story of a girl pushing through adversaries and learning what she’s made of. It’s an uplifting story in that regard that will have girls and boys cheering.

My only complaint, and this is more of a personal nature than anything, but the end. Really, Joy Hensley? THAT END?! *sobs*  But not even my own sadness over the end can detract from the flawless story here. If you like a contemporary with the perfect balance of grit, humor, and swoon, RITES OF PASSAGE is your book.


  1. HAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! I remember you saying it was amazing when I pulled it out of my Epic Reads bag and went "what is this about?", and it was definitely everything you said it would be. I did wish things had ended a little differently, but I'm ever-so hopeful we'll get sequel or a short epilogue at some point and things will change for Sam in the romance department ;-)

  2. I definitely getting a copy of this one when it publishes next week. I've heard nothing but amazing things about it and I trust you Hannah :)

  3. I know I need to read this. NEED TO. But I'm a tad concerned about that ending, especially after such a mind-blowing story.

  4. This sounds like an amazing read...just not for me... Great review though!


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