Friday, 1 August 2014

Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Title: Rites of Passage
Author: Joy N. Hensley
Release date: September 9th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: eARC
Pages: 284
Source: Edelweiss

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.

"The ocean may seem overwhelming if we're looking at it from the shore. But if we've got the ocean all bottled up inside us, all the power we need to succeed –nothing can stop us."
The second I read the blurb for this book, I was sold. It sounded really badass. And it is! Rites of Passage is all kinds of awesome, and one of the most enjoyable books I've read this year so far. I tend to stay away from most YA contemporary, but this one is just so different, and I've really never read anything with a premise like this before.

Sam McKenna is one of four who end up being the first girls to enroll at Denmark Military Academy. Sam does it because her brother dared her, and because she wants to make her dad proud. She comes from a military family, so she knows the drill. She's prepared. She expects the disapproval from the boys at the academy, because they don't want girls joining. But what she doesn't see coming is the extent to which some of them would go in order to keep the DMA free from girls. And Sam figures out that things go a lot deeper than just a bunch of guys who want her gone.. She's in real danger, and she needs to get herself out before it's too late.

I've never read a book with a military setting, so I was very curious about this. And I loved reading about the DMA. Yes, it's very sexist and it really pissed me off to see that the guys don't think girls should be a part of it, but I loved how the author portrayed everything. Though I know zilch about military training and all, I found myself really connecting with this book.

Sam is one of the most kickass protagonists I've seen in a while. I loved her determination and strength, and her perseverance. She's amazing at what she does, even better than most of the male recruits. Yes, she has an advantage because of her father and brother being high-up in the military and very respected. But Sam paves her own path and she doesn't want anyone's help. Her unwillingness to back down is really admirable, and I found myself in awe of her pretty early on.

I did find it hard to believe that all of these guys are in high school, most of them seventeen, the same age as me. The Corporals of Sam's company can be pretty vicious, and they're really hard on Sam especially. But the evilness in some of the upperclassmen is hard to see on a seventeen-year-old. Even Sam's drill sergeant is just a year older than her (also seventeen), which again is weird because he acts like he's much older and way more experienced. I guess I just kept imagining these guys as twenty-something, so it jolted me whenever I realized they're all in high school.

I'm glad that the romance wasn't a major focus at all throughout the novel. In fact, there's no hint of anything until about halfway through. But I adored Drill. Yes, that's what I will call him because that's what Sam refers to him as, even after they get closer. After all, he's still her drill sergeant. Anyway, I loved him. He's one of the only guys who doesn't hate the fact that the girls have joined. And I loved seeing his protectiveness towards Sam. He can also be really badass too, and I'd really hate to get on his bad side! He and Sam actually remind me of Four and Tris from Divergent. Their relationship dynamics as well as the situation are both kind of similar in a sense. And that, I guess, is another reason I loved Sam and Drill so much.

I loved the action and danger infused throughout. The training was definitely fun to read about, though I hated seeing how Sam was treated. I was initially shocked that they'd dare treat her like that considering who her dad and brother are, but we get a lot of background on it later. Things get a lot more dangerous, and Sam has only a very small and tight-knit group of people she knows she can trust. And even then, she can't be sure. 

There's all sorts of excitement in this book, I can tell you. You won't be able to put it down. Though there was a part at the end that I wasn't too happy about, I adored everything about Rites of Passage, and I'm really looking forward to more from Joy Hensley.

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 5/5

1 comment:

  1. Wow, just wow. This is the first ever review that I have read on Rites of Passage. Beforehand, I didn't even know that this is military-themed. Now, I'm just so intrigued. This sounds rare and exciting. I loved that you enjoyed reading about the action and the military training. Great review!

    Precious @ Fragments of Life

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