by Joy N. Hensley
Genres: Realistic Fiction
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
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.
Alright, I’m sold. *winking* I’ll be reading this one, K.!
Sweet, enjoy my friend!
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!
I found it to be fresh, and well done Tressa 🙂
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.
I tweeted her too, she said no contract yet…so fingers crossed!
I’m been seeing so many good reviews for this! I definitely like the sounds of this and no cliques makes me even happier!
Glad to hear you enjoy it! Thanks for the review!
Enjoy Candace, it was well done!
That’s too bad the ending wasn’t full wrapped up. I’ve heard this book is AMAZING! I’ll definitely be thinking about getting a copy.
I’ve been reading so many wonderful reviews of this book lately, I can’t believe I haven’t bought myself a copy yet! I can add your very lovely and convincing review to the list now. I’m definitely going to get it the next time I’m at the bookstore. 🙂
Woot..enjoy. Worth the read, and something fresh and different for Fall.
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
My fingers are crossed we get it!
I can’t even tell you how pissed I am about not grabbing the ARC. This is so my book. I’ll HAVE to fit it in when I get a chance.
Been there, done that my friend.
Gosh, I’m so obsessed with this book. And I completely agree, this needs to be a series asap. I need more!!! LOL 🙂 Thanks for the review, Kim. If you have time to check it out, here’s my review of Rites of Passage. 🙂
Will check out your thoughts Camille, glad you want more too!
This sounds like a great read Kimberly! I have read a few reviews and they have been positive. Having the brother commit suicide is just heart-breaking and only a strong person can get through his last wish… Fantastic review, I hope there are more!
Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace
Yeah that was a sad aspect. Thanks Naomi 🙂
Sharon - Obsession with Books
You had me sold at fleshed out characters and forbidden romance! I’m definitely adding this to my tbr pile.
A lovely review Kimba! 🙂
Sharon – Obsession with Books
Ooo sweet, enjoy Sharon 🙂
Although this book sounds awesome, I’m going to wait to see what you have to say about the others. You have an instinct for this type of thing, so I’m convince there will be more.
Great review 🙂
Anna from Shout with Emaginette
*fingers crossed we get at least a second book.
I’ve heard that the ending was a bit more open-ended than most readers wanted so I’m prepared when I read this story (or at least, I think I am. Maybe.). But I can’t wait to read it.
The ending isn’t too bad Mary, but the possibility is there for another book.
Braine Talk Supe
I read Brandi Kosiner’s review of this one too and y’all are in agreement. I love the premise of this story and I can tell the execution was really good.
Yeah a lot of our peeps like Maja , Ali, Nick and Brandi all loved this one 🙂
I keep reading fantastic reviews of this one and the more I read the more I feel like I must read it! I like that the romance isn’t a focus as I think that could minimize the whole concept of the book. Great review!
Agreed, it is there, but her focus is on succeeding.
Everyone sure seems to be reading this one
Yet another glowing review that notes the open ending. I have set aside time for this one, but I am disappointed that the ending is left open they drive me nuts!
The ending isn’t too open, more of “the possibility exists” for another book.
I keep seeing this one and all the reviews are really wonderful so I’m happy to see you had a wonderful time as well. I really need to try it as well. thanks for your review!
Hope you get to experience it for yourself 🙂
It seems lots of folks have been reading and reviewing this one…thanks for the review!
Thanks Angela, it was fresh and I liked it:)
For some reason I am having a tough time deciding if I want to read this one. I don’t know why. I do love secret societies. I will add it to my TBR and hopefully the mood will just strike. 🙂
I hope you find yourself in the mood soon Kay, and would love to hear what you think 🙂
Sounds like a great read Kimba and hey girls can do anything boys can do and better. Thanks for putting this on my radar!
That’s right girls rule and boys drool 🙂
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.
Wow, that is hard, but I can see it happening.
I am doing a happy dance over here Kim! So glad you loved this too. I have seen a few negative reviews for this the past couple of days and it sucks because I just think this was fabulous.
I am glad we agreed. Thanks Ali!
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!
It wasn’t too bad *the ending* except there is the possibility for more development.
So glad you loved this, Kim. I agree on everything with you, especially the ending! I need more! 🙂
Yay, glad we agreed 🙂
Great review. I’m curious what the secret society is all about. I was thinking it would be hard to pull off the female protagonist without her being whiny. Sounds like she’s tough enough and some forbidden romance would add a little fun. A shame about the open ending. There must be abother book coming even though it’s not mentioned,
She grew up with a military Dad, so no whining allowed 🙂
I’m not certain at all I’ll read it – the manly military atmosphere, I’m afraid it would make me angry and bring back some chauvinistic bad memories 😉 But great review !
Yeah there are some moments where the male ego needs to be squashed but the protagonist does so 🙂
Does she ? Great, I love a strong woman 😉
I’m hearing so many good things about this one! I must read it some time!
Enjoy it when you do Bieke 🙂
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*
Enjoy Cait, I quite liked this and reviews I have read have been favorable.
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! 🙂
It was quite good, and I am hoping we see more books develop.