Monday, September 8, 2014

Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley a review by Brandi Breathes Books

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 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.
Publishes in US: September 9th 2014 by Harper Teen
Genre: ya contemp
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss
Series? No

Buy it: Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound Book Depository

Author stalk away: ~site
On Twitter: @joynhensley
On Facebook: Joy N. Hensley


    I wanted to read this one because I used to be in JROTC and wondering what military school might be like. Also as one of four of the first females to be allowed to come, the woman power got my attention too. 

    Sam is on this journey because of a dare. By her brother who committed suicide. She is a strong and determined girl and she never could turn down a dare. Oh, did I mention that her brother is a cadet instructor and her dad is an infamous officer who is looked at favorably at school. I loved though the character growth of her. While she was already physically and mentally pretty strong, her motivation for sticking in there and keep going despite all of the dissension and people against her very presence. She went from completing a dare in honor of brother, to wanting to succeed to help the next class of females who join the academy. 

    Seeing Sam dealing with the boys not wanting her and the other girls there is heart breaking. But she is strong, she tries to ignore the constant insults. She is held to a different standard and they don't make any of the drills, hell week, initiation any easier on her. She makes a couple of friends though and she has an ally in the reverend at the campus chapel. They are all put through grueling exercise and as a "worm" the school's nickname for the newbies, they have to eat quickly, walk in the gutter and other such rituals. 

    There is one other students that helps her a lot and there is some chemistry between the two, which of course, dating other cadets/recruits is against the rules. So they flirt around it, and she tries to deny it and stop it. Because she is determined to graduate and complete her dare in honor of her brother. She also is doing it for approval from her dad, though most of the time she doesn't admit it. She grew up learning these commands, and knowing about general procedure, which does end up helping her in some ways. 

    But there is one guy in particular who doesn't want her to succeed, even more so than the other girls. Maybe he can sense how determined she is and how hard she's working.... I dunno. But he is in charge of her, and takes the term drill sergeant to a whole other level. But he's actually not that high in rank. But the Drill sergeant who they call, wait for it, Drill seems to be more accepting of Sam and the other female recruits, and he tries to keep the corporal off their backs some. 

   I flew though this one, enjoying Sam's motivation, strength of body and character, as she fights for and adopted dream. I agree though with the other reviews that I've read, the ending just doesn't have the detail that the rest of the story does, and I wanted more. So I really hope that there will be a sequel and then I will love it completely. 

Bottom Line: Amazing story of a strong girl making waves joining a previously all boys military academy.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Have you had any military experience?


  1. Sounds like a great book. Good luck on your surgery.

  2. You're so lucky you got to read this right away! Everyone seems to love it.

  3. Not an author I have come across, I'll be certain to keep a look out though.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery after your surgery.

  4. Everyone seems to be reading this book

  5. Oh, SO GLAD you loved this one! I totally adored it, for so many reasons (and I wasn't expecting to). The military aspect drew me to it, though I didn't think it would actually be my type of read, so wrong. Strong characters, we definitely need more of them and especially like Sam, girl never backed down (even if it would've been better for her to at some points- especially towards the end.) Someone you'd want in your corner, and Drill! Oh, I shipped them. Kind of disappointed how it ended, though it did end realistically. But I want more! If any book that's supposed to be a standalone but turns into a series, it needs to be this. :) And nope, no military experience, though we had a military day in school once (for the year above me, so I didn't get to do it) but whoa, the course looked fun.

  6. So happy you loved this one too! I really loved Sam's strength and determination - she's such an incredible character! I hope there will be a sequel too...I need to read more about these characters!

    Fabulous review!

  7. I think the whole blogosphere is reading this book LOL!
    Glad to hear this one just really worked for you! I had some issues with it but all in all I loved the military school setting and Sam as a character! Great review :)

  8. "I flew though this one, enjoying Sam's motivation, strength of body and character, as she fights for and adopted dream." I've read so many wonderful thoughts on Rites of Passage, and Sam sounds like such a strong female heroine - one that I would love. I'm glad you enjoyed this one - Wonderful review! :)

  9. I love books that show strong and very determined female characters. Sam sounds like a character I would just love reading about! I'm so glad you enjoyed this one!

    Great review!

  10. I have never had any military experience at all! But then again, I am not in the US and I might be wrong or not wrong in believing it is more common there? This book actually sounds great. A tick in character development, a difficult subject and I like the thought of the woman empowerment as well. I hope to see more reviews of this flying around on other blogs to see if it earns a place in my TBR ;)

  11. A thrilling story paired with great characters, and girl power are usually more than enough to make up for a so-so ending, and your 5-star review is obvious testament of that fact. I have 0 military experience, but my brother has spent his entire career in the army, so I do know of it a fair amount. Actually, now that I think about it, I was in the Air Cadets for a year back in the day, however I HATED it! LOL

  12. Like you, I absolutely adored this one. I thought it was very powerful and emotionally draining. The ending bothered me too, though.

  13. I've heard so many amazing things about this book! I'll definitely have to get a copy!

  14. I keep hearing amazing things about this book and I know I need to try it as well!

  15. This one caught my eye a couple weeks ago for some reason. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! I'd seen some mixed reviews and was wondering. I think it's definitely one that'll be read here at some point :)

  16. I keep reading outstanding reviews for this one and the only complaint is the ending. I have scheduled it in because I have to read it.

  17. I've been hearing a lot of great things about this book. I'm so curious and I do love a strong female character. Will have to check this one out.

  18. Yes! I loved this one too Brandi and my review posts later this week. It was refreshing and I spoke to author, nothing is contracted yet for a second book, but reader's praise may get us more. I want to go back for the next year!

  19. This is the second great review I've seen for Rites of Passage today. I need to check this one out!

  20. I have this coming up on my TBR, and I am happy to hear it is soo good. Great review.

  21. I also have a copy of this but I'm really nervous to pick it up. I think I'd be cringing over what she goes through and I like more closure at the end than I'm hearing happens here. I have no military experience, and I'm sure I would be ejected the minute they witnessed my pitiful attempt at a pull-up! Lol! :)

  22. Wonderful review! This does sound like an amazing book about how a girl overcomes extremely difficult trials.

  23. This sounds like such an intense and realistic read Brandi. It would be interesting to see this side of joining the military! Fantastic review!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace


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