Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

September 11th, 2014 kimbacaffeinate Review 60 Comments

11th Sep
Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley
Rites of Passage
by Joy N. Hensley
Published by: HarperCollins
Genres: Realistic Fiction
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon
Goodreads
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

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

Rite of Passage by Joy N. Hensley was such a great read. It offered suspense, an active protagonist, danger and a side dish of forbidden romance all in a military academy setting. Hensley allowed me to slip in become fully engaged with the characters, action and suspense.

Sam McKenna is a military brat and the only sister in a family of boys. When her older brother dares her to be one of the first class of girls to attend Denmark Military Academy, and he commits suicide she accepts his challenge. Hensley creates tension from the onset, as Sam along with a small group of girls enters the academy. The boys do not want her there and to make matters worse a secret society is determined they fail no matter the costs. Unsure of friend or foe our tenacious protagonist refuses to back down.

The suspenseful aspects, allies, enemies, family interaction and secret societies were wonderfully done and are best left to be discovered by the reader. Rites of Passage offered fleshed out characters with unique voices and Hensley steered clear of cliques. Hensley had me unsure of some characters, loathing others and cheering for Sam and her unit. The writing was balanced, as the author gave us a real feel for academy life, the surroundings and at the same time developed the plot and characters. The forbidden romance that develops never took away from the main plot making it a sweet side dish and one I am desperate to see devolved.

What kept this from being five cups of coffee was the ending. While the main issues are mostly resolved, it was also open-ended. Rites of Passage needs to be a series. I need to go back to the Academy and see what develops from the remaining threats to the romance. We get hints about next year..but there is no information on a second book.

Rites of Passage was an intense, captivating tale with realistic characters and a well-developed storyline that kept this reader fully engaged.

About Joy N. Hensley

Joy N. Hensley is a former middle school teacher. She used to spend her twenty-minute lunch breaks hosting author Skype chats for her students. Once upon a time she went to a military school on a dare. She lives in Virginia with her husband and two children, finding as many ways as she can to never do another push-up again.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads everything fiction in YA, NA, and Adult. She's a self-professed Whovian, Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat... Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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60 Responses to “Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley”

  1. Trish

    Well hopefully, it will become a series as it sounds really promising. I love the military setting and the secret society and forbidden love themes. I’ve already had my eye on this one but you just pushed it higher up the list Kim. Great review, thanks for reminding me that I need this book! 🙂
    Trish recently posted…Book Review : Found by Harlan CobenMy Profile

  2. Cait

    Fleshed out characters with unique voices??! I am SO in. I’m always into a book for the characters (though awesome plot is obviously brilliant too, I admit xD) and I’ve been seeing a bit of this book around lately but hadn’t read any verdicts. With the military setting? Sounds right up my alley. 😉 *dashes to goodreads*
    Cait recently posted…10 (Awesome) YA Authors You’ve Probably Never Heard OfMy Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Enjoy Cait, I quite liked this and reviews I have read have been favorable.

  3. Jenea

    I am really looking forward to read this one, too bad about the open ending though. Don’t care for those. Sam sounds wonderful. Great review!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It wasn’t too bad *the ending* except there is the possibility for more development.

  4. Lark

    Sounds like a good book, Kimba, but one I might find painfully reminiscent. A young friend of my daughter’s (and mine) was hazed out of VMI; it was pretty traumatic and her personal safety was put at risk. (Though to the superior officers’ credit, the doctor and the commander both took her seriously.) She’s a tough young woman and not a quitter, so it was pretty bad to get her to leave.
    Lark recently posted…Ho-Ho-Ho Readathon sign-upMy Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I hope you find yourself in the mood soon Kay, and would love to hear what you think 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      The ending isn’t too open, more of “the possibility exists” for another book.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yeah a lot of our peeps like Maja , Ali, Nick and Brandi all loved this one 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      The ending isn’t too bad Mary, but the possibility is there for another book.

  5. Siiri

    Eeeep! Everyone keeps loving this 🙂 I actually wasn’t expecting suh love after first seeing the cover, but it has definitely grown on me and the love that people keep piling is just wow! So happy you loved it, Kimberly! Sam sounds like a wonderful character and I am always down for a good romance 😉 Yeah, I’ve heard that the ending was a tad open and some people are really hoping for a sequel. I hope there’s a sequel and you can all get your answers 🙂 Great review, Kim!

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Woot..enjoy. Worth the read, and something fresh and different for Fall.

  6. Jennifer

    I loved everything about this book, and I did ask if it was going to become a series and the answer was “hopefully.” So I guess it depends on how well Rites does.

  7. Tressa

    I’ve heard mixed things about this one, but I’m going to give it a try. A few bloggers who I trust liked it, so I’m hoping I will too. We’ll see. Thanks for the review!