by Joy N. Hensley
Publishing date: September 9th 2014
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’s 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.
I wasn't overly excited about Rites of Passage. To be honest, I don't think I have even read the description when I first saw it. But then a few of my friends read it and loved it. Since I got an eARC copy of it, I finally read what is it about. The first thing I thought about was: "Well, this actually sounds interesting. I've never read anything with military school". Then again, I forgot about the book, and few days ago, I saw that the publication date is pretty close and I decided finally to give it a try and read it. I'm so glad I did, because, Rites of Passage is pretty damn brilliant! I devoured the book! I was reading in my 5-minute breaks even, I just needed to know what is going to happen next. You know it's an amazing book when you can't wait to finally read some more, and when the book is the only thing you can think about.
Rites of Passage starts with Sam going to the Denmark Military Academy. Until then, it was an all boys school, but that's changed because this year, there are also going to be 5 girls attending the school. To say that some of the boys are not liking it is an understatement. The first week was as bad as Sam imagined it would be, but the pressure and a killing tempo does not stop there. There are people who want her gone and they are working her a lot harder than the others. But she's holding up good, she's even better than some of the boys. But what will she do when everything becomes a lot more serious, would she be willing do endanger her life?
I loved Sam right from the start. She's an amazing character. She's one of the toughest girls I read about. She's strong, she's fierce, she's determined and I loved it. She's going to a military school, which is supposed to be hard for boys, and she's nailing it. Even if they are working her extra hard, she's proving them wrong. She's proving them, that girls deserve a place in a school like that too, and that they're not that superior.
The thing I was really surprised with is the story itself. There is much more to it than what you get just from the blurb. The whole politics, the scheming, the secrecy, it all was a great addition to the book. There were moments where I could connect it with The Skulls, and I LOVE The Skulls. The secret society, but in military. The romance itself was a great addition, even though it was in the second plan and it never really interfered much with the main plot, it was still present and sweet. *Go Drill Sergeant Stamm!*
The book ended with a kinda open ending, I guess. There were still a lot of things left that weren't clear, but I think that's what the author was aiming for. Well, it worked for me. Even if there won't be a sequel (which I am hoping there will be), I would be perfectly happy with how it ended.
So to sum it all up, Rites of Passage is one amazing book! It definitely goes straight to my 2014 debut favorites! I will be definitely keeping my eyes open for Joy N. Hensley's next books, I am sure they will be just as great as this one!