Rites of Passage

Joy N. Hensley
Rites of Passage
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Harper Collins Publishers
Release Date
September 2014
Young Adult Romance

Sam McKenna has 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 trivial . . . 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 won't rest until she gives up. 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.

Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Sep 12, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
114 people found the following review helpful
RITES OF PASSAGE is a riveting, engrossing story set in a high school military school.

Sam McKenna (or Mac, as she's called in school) is going to be one of the five first girl recruits ever at Denmark Military School. Too bad there are some people at the school who don't want her there. Added to it the complication of having a crush on her drill sergeant and Sam has her hands full!

This being my first time to read about military school, I was fascinated. It brought back memories of my own time training and marching, and when I was reading about Drill Sergeant Stamm, it was my own drill sergeant that I imagined who, in my opinion, is every bit as yummy as Drill! (I wasn't in a military school, but we had some sort of military exercise as part of the curriculum.)

RITES OF PASSAGE is fascinating reading, and I was compelled onward due to curiosity as to what happens in such a school, plus the atrocities and bullying suffered by Sam at the hands of those who didn't want any girl recruits in the school. I think the bullying is a universal theme, not just suffered by girl recruits in an all-boys school, so this theme should strike a chord in everyone who reads this book. I was glad there were people who stood up for her and who defended her.

Sam is a strong heroine, bolstered onward by her own indomitable will and strength, as well as the dare that her brother has made with her. That may have been the start, but her sense of purpose was strengthened by the desire to get to the bottom of things, to overthrow the secret Society that's at the heart of what she's suffered, so that future girl recruits would have an easier time of things, the chance to pursue their dreams.

The romance with Drill was slow to start, because it was forbidden, but when it started, there were all sorts of delicious tension. You can feel their frustration and longing, and you can't help but yell for them to break the rules JUST ONCE! Still, it was good tension.

There's a sequel (of course! as with any young adult book these days), and I'm absolutely looking forward to it. Drill and Sam will be facing a new chapter in their lives (uh-uh, not telling what it is, and it may not be what you're thinking either), and I can't wait to be with them on their journey!
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