Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Book Title: Rites of Passage
Author: Joy N. Hensley
Publish Date: September 9th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Rites of Passage was unlike anything I had ever read before, but that was one of the many things that I loved about it. Usually anything set in a military school or anything military related is not really my thing, but the fact that it was a female attempting to make it through at a previously all boys military school, got me excited.

At first, I was having a very hard time with the book. All the military stuff was boring the crap outta me and the only character I cared about was Sam. At right about 20% of the way through the book, I really started getting into it and I didn’t want to stop reading it. Sam was not the only girl there, in the beginning there are 3 other girls along with her. By the time I really started to get into it, Sam was left with Katie Quinn and Bekah Cross as her only two fellow females.

Sam was an amazing character. She was so different from the way girls are normally in books. She was focused on her goal and that was to make it at the DMA. It was more than a dare to her. She felt like she needed to make her dad proud of her. She felt like she needed to show all the guys at the DMA that she was every bit as strong as they were and that she belonged here. She wanted to prove to her older brother, Johnathan that she belonged here and that she wouldn’t be expecting special treatment. And of course Amos. Amos hung himself, but not before he dared Sam to join the DMA’s first female class.

 What I really enjoyed was that she wasn’t totally boy crazy. She had goals and she wasn’t going to allow a brief flirtation with Liam Kelly, ruin anything. Even her attraction to drill sergeant Dean Stamm won’t ruin anything for her. Or at least that’s what she says initially. Things sort of take a turn around Christmastime.

Things were anything but smooth sailing for her though. She was constantly harassed by Matthews as well as other upperclassmen, but she refused to allow that to stop her from reaching her goals. She wasn’t scared off easily which I really enjoyed. Even when the bullying started getting really bad, Sam refused to back down. Awesome!

I know a lot of people didn’t love the ending but I definitely did. I was okay with it being open ended, but of course I wouldn’t mind if the author decided to make this one into a series. It could happen with the way the ending left it. I finished the book earlier this week and I’m still thinking about it! I am giving it 5 stars and I cannot WAIT to get a finished copy of this.