Title: Rites of Passage.
Author: Joy Hensley.
Source: MMSAI, for Review.
Publisher: Harper Teen.
Published Date: 9/9/14.
"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."
Rites of Passage sucked me right in, when I realized that the story revolved around a girl who has lived the military lifestyle her entire life. With her dad ranking highly in the military, her oldest brother also in the army and her second oldest brother enrolled in a military academy, Sam has been living the life of a military brat, her entire life. She knows what it means to be a loved one of someone who is in the military, and how the entire thing works.
After Sam found her oldest brother, Amos, dead after having hung himself, Sam can’t help but attend the DMA (Demark Military Academy). Why? Before he passed away, Amos dared her to enroll, the all boys military academy, in the hopes of Sam attending as one of the first girls.
It’s only been a few months since his death, but there is no way Sam would turn down this dare, no matter how hard it might be or get. She knows what she’s getting into, and Sam is willing to do anything to make her dad proud of her. Even if it means attending a military academy as one of the first girls, standing up and enduring the boot camp treatment and all of the threats.
But besides the constant training, studying, and pressure Sam is under, people are also out to get her. She knew threats would be said, whispered and yelled at her, but she had no idea that an entire group of people were out to get her. At first, to get Sam out of DMA, but then to completely get rid of her….
What first interested me the most about Rites of Passage was the military lifestyle aspect of the story. I’m a military brat, because my dad is in the Army, and I was mostly interested in how the author would convey this.
But after a few pages, I learned that Rites of Passage was SO much MORE than just that. It was definitely a book about a strong and independent girl, who was just trying to do the right thing in a man’s world. She only wanted to prove herself, and I LOVED that. Besides that there was so much family, and love, but we don’t truly see that until the end of the story; with Sam’s brother, dad, mom and her unit.
Overall there were many amazing characters. I mean I never even had the chance to meet Amos, and for some reason I absolutely loved him; he seemed like the perfect older brother. Sam was so strong, and wasn’t letting anything get to her.
In the end, I couldn’t get enough of the characters, the story and the author’s writing. If you’re looking for something that included the military or a strong leading female character, then Rites of Passage is the book for you!