Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

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 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 Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Although it wasn’t a perfect read, Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley was a solid debut. But, since I’ve been having trouble writing a review for Rites of Passage, I’ll just list what I liked and disliked about it. 

  • I loved Sam as a protagonist. Since I know I wouldn’t last a day at a military school, I really admired Sam’s determination to last a full school year at the Denmark Military Academy despite being bullied for simply being a girl. She was such a resilient character!
  • I found the setting to be pretty original because I’ve never read a book that's set at a military school.
  • The Society created an element of mystery, and increased the stakes for Sam being seriously injured if she chose to stay at the Denmark Military Academy.
  • Though I liked the small amount of romance present between Sam and Drill, it took far too long to develop because of Sam’s simultaneous interest in Kelly until the middle portion of the book.
  • I found the ending a bit too open for my liking.
Rites of Passage was released by HarperTeen on September 9, 2014. 

Comments About the Cover: I like its simplicity and the focus on the dog tags.  

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (HarperCollins) for free via Edelweiss.


  1. I'm really glad you liked Sam Z! I absolutely adored her, she just blew me away with how strong she was. I would have broken down in a situation like that for sure. The ending was a bit more open than I'd have liked as well, but I'm holding out hope we'll get to revisit Sam and Drill at some point!

  2. I've seen so many positive reviews of this one, I'm so excited to read it for myself! But gah, that open ending. I really dislike open endings in general so this one kind of scares me. I also love the unique setting in this one, and the romance sounds nice too :) Even if it took awhile haha

  3. I haven't heard a lot about this one yet and I can't say it really sounds like my kind of read, but on the other hand I am interested in the setting because I've never read anything like that either. And it's so great to hear that you liked and respected the MC!

  4. This one sounds kind of good. Haha. I think I would enjoy it. I like the idea of a military school. Maybe I'll give it a go, even with your reservations.

    Thanks for the review!

  5. Like you, I had issues both with the romance and with the ending, but overall, I thought this was fantastic! It made me feel so much, and it even made me cry, which doesn't happen often.


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