Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Rites of Passage
Title: Rites of Passage
Author: Joy N. Hensley
Published: September 9, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Gifted by a friend




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 Thoughts

Even with all the hype, Rites of Passage more than lived up to my expectations. I was having a hard time writing a coherent review so I thought I would give you three reasons why you should check this book out.


Forbidden Romance

As the first batch of female recruits begin their year at the Denmark Military Academy, a rule is put in place that not only can they not date anyone higher up than them, they are not allowed to date fellow recruits either. Sure, stick a bunch of teenagers in close quarters and tell them to stay away from each other. SOLID PLAN.

Tough Heroine

Let me just tell you, Sam McKenna is someone you don’t want to mess with. Don’t mess with her friends either. She is by far the toughest person at DMA. Not only is she physically capable, but she has strong mental game. Beyond that, she’s simply a good person without being a goody-goody. She makes you want to root for her, and I did.


I loved the way Rites of Passage explored both her female and male friendships. Even though she has a lot of enemies, she has a few allies as well. These friendships were far from uncomplicated though. As much as her friends want to protect her, their loyalties are constantly being tested. In such a high pressure environment where they’re being driven to the point of exhaustion, it becomes quite easy for her fellow recruits to be manipulated.

Bonus Content


If you’ve read Rites of Passage and you’re looking for something else to read, you should definitely check out the Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce. It may be fantasy, but it has a lot of themes in common with Rites of Passage. The series is about a girl named Alanna who wants to be a knight. However, in Tortall, only men can be knights so she must disguise herself as a boy to become a page.


Have any of you read Rites of Passage? What did you think?


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