REVIEW Rites of Passage.

TITLE. Rites of Passage
AUTHOR. Joy N. Hensley
RELEASE DATE. September 2014
PAGES. 416
GENRE. Young Adult, Mystery, Military

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 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.

Standalone, unfortunately. 

WHY this book.
I was looking for what to read next.. and a friend of mine recommended this a while back on Goodreads. The plot sounded interesting and something different, with no fantasy or supernatural beings in it for a change. So why not !
I really liked this book !! It made me sooo angry and frustrated sometimes !! It was a very addictive read and I finished it in no time ! I’ve been reading mostly fantasy books lately, so this was a nice change as well. No looking out of monsters, or at least, a different kind of monsters. It was really exciting too, very mysterious and intriguing. I kept rooting for the main all the way through !!

I really enjoyed the plot, some things were a bit predictive, but I got surprised a couple of times as well. It had a good pace, not too fast, but not too slow as well. The more I got towards the ending, the more intriguing it became. I did not know who was good and who was bad, and I kept second-guessing myself. Love that in a book !!

It was set in a military school, which I do not read a lot about.. But it come across very real ! A lot of terms were thrown around that I didn’t know very well, but the writer explained almost everything. Turns out, that the author has been to military school herself ! How awesome is that ! And it really showed, because everything seemed so realistic and true ! Mainly, all the rules and protocols, the way you bond as a team.. it seemed like I was right there with them and suffering among them, just amazing !

And not just school with military stuff, but the whole secret society was very cool too ! It kept me wondering who was in it, who to trust, who not to trust.. very exciting !

I really appreciated that it was not only about the way the military is very biased about females, but because of how those men have a strong sense of how things are supposed to be, a lot of other people are being discriminated too. Like gays in the military for example. It gave a good picture about how things should be modernized. 

Yes there was romance, some tension filled scenes, but it kept more on the background. As a first-year Worm, our main character was the lowest of the lowest and not allowed to date. It could be seen as an easy way to climb up on the ladder, which is against all regulations. And our main really wanted to obey the rules and succeed, so except for a couple of kisses not a lot happened. But that was okay ! Because it fitted with Sam’s personality and her motivation to make through the year.     

I felt so much with this book, so much ! Most of it being anger (stupid men and their stupid prejudices), but also a lot of frustration that they didn’t give up. She tried so hard, she did better than most of her platoon, she proved herself so many times and still they wanted her out because she is a female. So mean !!
Some swooning too, over her drill.. *sight*..
And I loved the comradery, how the guys in her platoon started out disliking having a female, but the further they got, she did probe herself to them and they accepted her. It felt so great she had allies !!  

I LOVED the main character. I know her name is Sam, but I think more of her as Mac though. And Mac is everything a strong independent woman should be like. She was always thinking of the greater good, kind of stubborn, but not in a way that got herself almost killed (oh well.. yeah but that was not because of her stupidity). She knew when to give in and let others help her because she needed it, not because she was weak, but because she could not make it otherwise. She kept to her principles, and damn, I would have kicked the hell out of those guys for treating her that way. She had an aspiring amount of self-control.
Some characters that I liked in the beginning, betrayed her, and even though they made up in the end, I could not like them again. Only the ones that were there the entire time and didn’t stop protecting her are the only worthy ones in my oppinion. Like Ritchy and Nix and the other guys from her platoon.
I LOVED Drill. Like Mac, he put his principles before the possibility of a romance and I respected that. 

I HATED Matthews with the fire of a thousand suns. He was so mean, evil even. He put her through so much, because of what ? The stupid society didn’t like females ? Screw that, she is a human being, and you don’t treat people that way. Especially at the end, what he did was unforgivable. He should have been punished way harder !! And Evers is an asshole too !!

I really loved this book, but I did not like that, to me, it feels like it is not finished yet. Like, what is going to happen in the next year with Matthews? Will there be a lot of female recruits the next year ? I have questions !!! Some things were left kind of open and I dislike that. 

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are an ocean in a drop.”
“Alpha, lower your left hand onto the hand of the recruit buddy to your left. Lean your shoulder into him. Let him support you.”
And just like that, Drill is there, a rock to lean against. I lean into his shoulder, easing some of the pain. I support Nix to my right, his body heavy on my shoulder. We all shake, we all sweat, including Drill, who did every exercise with us tonight.
“Now listen to the words of the song. You are Alpha. You eat together, breathe together. You live together and you die together. Never forget that. Feel the weight of your recruit buddy. Know that you are holding him up. Feel the weakness in your own muscles. Know that you would not still be up if your recruit buddy wasn’t helping you. This year is all about you becoming a unit.” His last words about unity echo the chorus of the song.
My eyes sting, and Nix, who never cries, no matter how bad the smoke shows get, sniffles to my right. I’m not alone in this moment and Drill is fully responsible.
“Thank you,” I whisper as the music fades.”


I had a lot of fun (and frustrations) reading this book. It taught me some new things and I always like that. It was different and exciting and full of mystery. I would totally recommend it to you, it is a great read if you like some mystery and feeling angry haha. I have a big sense for injustice and it kept feeding me throughout most of the book. But when she succeeded I had also a big happy feeling, like HA SCREW YOU SHE DID IT ANYWAY !!! So yeah, I would like to give this book 4.5 Freyja’s ! I’m keeping half a Freyja because I missed some closure at the end.


  1. I adored this book when I read it! I'm so glad you liked it, too! I loved everything about it and can't wait to read more from this author!
    Have a nice day!

    1. It would be really nice if she came with a sequel or something.. Did it feel finished for you ?


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