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.
First Sentence: I’m physically incapable of saying no to a dare – I’ve got the scars and broken bone count to prove it.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
I was always interested in Rites of Passage when I first read its synopsis. I’m always interested in reading books about people currently in or just left the military (hello Something Like Normal and If I Lie) and the fact that Rites of Passage is about a female joining a military school that doesn’t want her there made me need the book in my life asap. Add the fact that everyone that had read Rites of Passage had absolutely loved it, my need for this book knew no bounds. I was extremely excited to start Rites of Passage, yet at the same time, I also couldn’t help but be wary of it since I’m usually the black sheep when it comes to books everybody else loves.
“Hey Sam!” The DJ yells into the car and I close my eyes, waiting. “It’s great that women can fight on the front lines now. If you want to go to the Middle East and get your head blown off, I won’t stop you…But no one wants you here. Go back to Fayetteville and stay the hell out of our school!” (ARC 2)
Right from the very start, I can tell that a lot, and I mean a lot, of research has been done for Rites of Passage. I know Joy N. Hensley went to a military school (don’t worry, I’m not a stalker; I just read her goodreads biography which says so), but the amount of information in Rites of Passage just amazes me. I felt like I was with Sam in the DMA (aka Denmark Military Academy), doing all those push-ups and smoke runs along with her. The setting and atmosphere was very rich and well-done.
Warning: Rites of Passage is so intense. There were so many moments in the book that made me go crazy – I wanted to bite off my nails (luckily I already have short nails) and bang my head against the wall due to how intense the book was. I wanted to flail my arms around like crazy (okay, fine, I did flail my arms like crazy. This tweet proves it) and get my weapons ready. I groaned when my parents told me to do something and I couldn’t read on; I just couldn’t look away from the page, afraid I’ll miss something very important (although that doesn’t make sense because it’s not like the book will go anywhere).
“So, it’s her fault,” Wilson snarls. He’s wanted me gone since day one.
I shrink into the wall, wishing I was invisible or that Dad had instilled in me a spine that could stand up to this. (ARC 216)
You guys will also not believe the amount of emotions Rites of Passage pulled from me. I was emotionally invested in the book – I wanted to stab some characters with a pencil at some moments (I still do want to stab them) and kick some characters at other moments. Yes, Rites of Passage definitely bought out the violent side in me. You guys do not want to know how many times I wrote “[character name] needs to crash and burnnnn” in my notes. Okay, fine, I admit it, I also cried at other moments okay? Reading Rites of Passage is a huge emotional minefield, especially once you’ve reached the second part of the book. Just you wait.
And okay. That ending. What is up with that ending? Rites of Passage left off with a bit of an open ending and I just need some answers. The worse thing is, I talked to Joy N. Hensley on twitter and she doesn’t know if there will be a sequel to Rites of Passage. This is where I come in with all my CAPS and book pushing: RITES OF PASSAGE NEEDS A SEQUEL. I DEMAND IT. I NEED some answers.
“Corporal Matthews,” I saw, my lips turning up, mimicking his signature sneer, “the corporal said that at the beginning of the year. But this recruit is still here, and will be here long after the corporal is gone, Corporal Matthews.” (ARC 335)
Just a quick note before I officially end my review: The synopsis of Rites of Passage makes it sound like Rites of Passage is really romance-focused, but in reality, it’s not. In fact, the romance in Rites of Passage wasn’t fully developed until a little more than the halfway point in the book where the real romance plot starts. So yes, those of you who are scared of Rites of Passage because it appears to have a huge romance plotline, rest assure. It doesn’t.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading Rites of Passage despite that strong need for answers. There’s no doubt that I will definitely recommend Rites of Passage to everybody. You’ll be sure to see me pushing this book onto other people for the next few days because like I said above, there needs to be a sequel!