Rites of Passage

Rites of Passage

by Joy N. Hensley


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In this fast-paced, high-stakes debut novel, sixteen-year-old Sam McKenna discovers that becoming one of the first girls to attend a revered military academy means living with a target on her back. As Sam struggles to prove herself, she learns that a decades-old secret society is alive and active . . . and determined to force her out. Fans of Simone Elkeles and Trish Doller will love Rites of Passage’s perfect blend of sizzling romance and edge-of-your-seat suspense.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062295194
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/09/2014
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 676,453
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range: 13 Years

About the Author

Joy N. Hensley is a middle school writing teacher. She spends 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. Rites of Passage is her debut novel.

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Rites of Passage 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Bria808 More than 1 year ago
Be prepared to love this book should you be smart enough to buy it.  From the beginning of the book till the end, I was in awe. So much so that I stayed up through the night to read it because my mind refused to rest, anxious to know what happens on the next page. There was never a dull moment in this book which, as an avid thrill seeker, was a major plus. As a woman, this book is already a plus, but as a self-proclaimed bookworm, this book is such a rare treasure to find. I usually migrate towards the paranormal/fantasy/romance genre, but came across this book and thought maybe a nice break from my norm would be helpful since I've been trying to find another great book in that genre to dive into. Well, I'm glad that I distracted myself with this book and now that I've finished with it, I'm hoping that Ms Joy N. Hensley will write another book, is writing another book, or having a new one printed out as I type. In the meantime, I'll probably re-read this book again and I hope my review helps your decision to purchasing this book a lot easier. Happy Reading!!! 
GraceD24 More than 1 year ago
This book, just ugh, what can I say? I love this book. You need to read this book, I promise! It's amazing, its everything you'd want in a book.  A kick ass main character. Drama. And a secret society.  Come on!! Go buy it now!
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
   I wanted to read this one because I used to be in JROTC and wondering what military school might be like. Also as one of four of the first females to be allowed to come, the woman power got my attention too.      Sam is on this journey because of a dare. By her brother who committed suicide. She is a strong and determined girl and she never could turn down a dare. Oh, did I mention that her brother is a cadet instructor and her dad is an infamous officer who is looked at favorably at school. I loved though the character growth of her. While she was already physically and mentally pretty strong, her motivation for sticking in there and keep going despite all of the dissension and people against her very presence. She went from completing a dare in honor of brother, to wanting to succeed to help the next class of females who join the academy.      Seeing Sam dealing with the boys not wanting her and the other girls there is heart breaking. But she is strong, she tries to ignore the constant insults. She is held to a different standard and they don't make any of the drills, hell week, initiation any easier on her. She makes a couple of friends though and she has an ally in the reverend at the campus chapel. They are all put through grueling exercise and as a "worm" the school's nickname for the newbies, they have to eat quickly, walk in the gutter and other such rituals.      There is one other students that helps her a lot and there is some chemistry between the two, which of course, dating other cadets/recruits is against the rules. So they flirt around it, and she tries to deny it and stop it. Because she is determined to graduate and complete her dare in honor of her brother. She also is doing it for approval from her dad, though most of the time she doesn't admit it. She grew up learning these commands, and knowing about general procedure, which does end up helping her in some ways.      But there is one guy in particular who doesn't want her to succeed, even more so than the other girls. Maybe he can sense how determined she is and how hard she's working.... I dunno. But he is in charge of her, and takes the term drill sergeant to a whole other level. But he's actually not that high in rank. But the Drill sergeant who they call, wait for it, Drill seems to be more accepting of Sam and the other female recruits, and he tries to keep the corporal off their backs some.     I flew though this one, enjoying Sam's motivation, strength of body and character, as she fights for and adopted dream. I agree though with the other reviews that I've read, the ending just doesn't have the detail that the rest of the story does, and I wanted more. So I really hope that there will be a sequel and then I will love it completely.  Bottom Line: Amazing story of a strong girl making waves joining a previously all boys military academy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was sucha great adventure and a true showing of strength in character!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Super cute. Bummed I found it so soon because now I don't have as equal yet!!
Katie_breathofbooks More than 1 year ago
A common theme that I have seen about this book in reviews is that it makes people angry. And it certainly did not disappoint in that aspect. So many of the male characters made me angry at the way they treated the female recruits, and especially Sam. Despite how angry it made me, I absolutely loved this book. Plus, I feel that only an amazing book can make someone feel all the emotions the way that this book does. This will probably be one of my favorite books of all time. It is so powerful and so well-written. POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD Sam McKenna is one of the strongest characters that I have ever read. I've seen her compared to Katniss, and I'd say that that description fits. She could certainly hold her own against Katniss in a battle. The things that Sam goes through during her year at the DMA are horrifying and awful, but she never really considers dropping out or quitting. I admire her true determination. I definitely would never go to military school, just for the military training itself, but she endures so much beyond just the training. I can't even being to truly imagine it. The drills that all of the company goes through are difficult enough, with all the pushups, and the miles that they have to run each day, but Sam is subjected to so much more than that. Many of the boys in this book made me extremely angry. One of these was Corporal Matthews, who was in charge of the company that Sam was in, Alpha Company, and ran many of their drills. He was a misogynistic jerk. He was the main person who treated Sam horribly because she was a girl. Sure, he was a harsh commander to all the boys in the company too, but he treated Sam differently than how he treated them. He acted like she was inferior and holding up the company, when she doing better on the exercises than some of the boys. He was both physically and verbally abusive to her. Some of the other boys weren't much better. Luckily, her own company is mainly supportive, especially Kelly, though he does go through a part when he isn't as supportive, and starts becoming distant from her. The relationship with Drill is very well written in the book, since it is a relationship that is forbidden for Sam. It is clear from the beginning that she finds keeping her position and succeeding at the DMA more important than dating the guy that she likes. Drill is in a higher position than her, as her drill sergeant, and it is obvious from the beginning that he isn't going to treat her differently than any of the guys. He will expect a lot from her, just like he expects a lot from the boys, but he isn't going to try to get her to quit. I loved him, and how sweet he was to Sam, especially when their relationship really started to begin. I thought they made a really good couple. If you like YA contemporary, read this book.
Bree Leann More than 1 year ago
OMG I don't have words. I read this book around January and I've forgotten some of the plot but I know I enjoyed it very much. Hazing is unacceptable and to see what goes in at military academies is mind-boggling!!!!! I'll always like Sam's courage (along with the rest of the girls) and what they did was truly AMAZING!! :D
Tween_2_Teen_Book_Reviews More than 1 year ago
First Impressions I got an ARC of Rites of Passage this month on a whim. It looked interesting and I thought "why not?" I hadn't heard of it before, but once I got it, I started seeing it everywhere all over the internet. The other week, I saw it on my shelf, and decided to pick it up. I was obsessed like that. I loved the characters instantly, and by loved them, I wanted to stab a bunch of them. Repeatedly. But with love. The main character is part of the first class of girls at a previously all-boys military academy. Needless to say, she is not treated well by many of the populace. Characters Oftentimes, contemporary books don't have a clear antagonist. It's often along the lines of the main character's mind, or an oversensitive parent. In this, there is a definite antagonist, though I'm hoping for a sequel with more details. The main character Sam is pretty awesome. She goes to the school on a dare from her brother that passed away the year before. Sam is one of the few recruits made for military life, but she gets pushed to the breaking point over and over again. There's Corporal Matthews, which I want to stab for the rest of my life. Matthews is HORRIBLE to Sam. He is extremely sexist and just ARGH! But I digress. There's also Becka, on of the other female recruits, and while at first I thought she was a ditz, she really came around. Lastly, there's Drill AKA Drill Sergeant Stamm, AKA Dean. I honestly loved his character. He treats the male and female recruits the same, and is willing to help Sam when no one else will. Writing I really enjoyed the writing in the book. It was very to the point. There was a lot of military terminology that I didn't understand, but that was about it. Plot The first bit of the book was a lot of verbal abuse towards Sam and military training. About halfway through though, the plot gets jump started. Suddenly, everything starts to make sense. Characters fall into place and references start making sense. Needless to say, I loved it. World-Building I really could see the world of the military academy. There was a good bit of vague description that I would like to know more about, but also understand. The main character didn't get to see much of campus, so we readers didn't either. Why didn't she see much of campus? Mainly because she was either busy doing military things/classes, or was in trouble for reasons and couldn't go anywhere.
DahlELama More than 1 year ago
This book actually got on my radar because I specifically stated on Twitter I wanted to read something set in military school, and someone immediately mentioned it to me. I had such high hopes for it, I didn't think there was any way it could live up, but I read it nearly in one sitting, and it remained exactly what I'd hoped it would be through and through. I don't know if there's another book coming, but given the way certain things ended (not cliffhanger-y, for those who are wary of such things, just...definitely set up for more resolution) I'd certainly hope so, and then buy it on release day. Honestly, I want more so much I'd probably give to a Kickstarter of a sequel. It's sort of like LORDS OF DISCIPLINE meets FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS, which is such a great combination. This book is at times sad, at times infuriating, at times hot, and at times inspiring, and overall, definitely one of my favorite debuts (and overall reads) of 2014.
kimberlyfaye More than 1 year ago
Let's hear it for strong, kickass female lead characters in a realistic young adult novel! YA has some great female characters, but I've never run across one quite like Mac before... at least in realistic fiction. I loved this girl. She was strong and determined – to a fault, some might argue – but still realistic and likable. She went through so much crap throughout the course of this book, but she her determination didn't waver. That might have started because of her older brother's dare, but I have no doubt that, by the end, it had more to do with her attitude and unwillingness to be pushed around than the dare. She had something to prove and no one was going to stop her... no matter how hard they tried.  Being perfectly honest, this book was a little slow to start. I'd heard so many great things about it that I never once thought about setting it down, but it still took me some time to get fully invested in the story. There was a lot of military jargon and tradition in the beginning, but I don't see that as a bad thing. I considered it world building. I feel like I learned something. Several somethings even. I felt like I was right there with Mac as she went through the trials and tribulations of being at DMA. When the story took off, however, it went hard and didn't stop until the end. I didn't expect edge-of-my-seat suspense and action from this book, but that's precisely what I got.  There was a lot to love about Rites of Passage. The characters are high on the list. I've already said how much I loved Mac. My second favorite was Drill. Oh my god. Can Drill have a book of his own, please? Sigh. I loved him so much. For awhile there, it seemed like there might be a bit of a love triangle in this book, but I was thrilled to see there really wasn't. I loved how Drill watched out for and protected Mac without being too alpha male and without stifling her. The thing between them was, of course, completely forbidden. Military rank and all that. I want to say it's the fact that it's forbidden that made it so damn sweet, but the truth is, they were just so perfect for each other. They were connected in ways Mac didn't even realize at first.  This book was chock full of interesting characters. Some in good ways and some in bad. It seemed as though everyone was keeping secrets and they weren't always what I thought they might be. I didn't really ever feel like I could predict what was going to happen next or how everything would work out in the end and I LOVED THAT. I read so many books and a good portion of them are utterly predictable. Rites of Passage was far from that. In addition to the action and suspense, there were just the right amount of twists and turns.  My only complaint about the book – and it's a tiny one – is the ending. If this was the first book in a series, it would be perfection. As a standalone, it feels a wee-bit unfinished. That might just be because I had connected with these characters on a deep level and I'm greedy and wanted more. (Of course, I also have my fingers crossed the author will decide to write a sequel. Perhaps of the new adult variety. But I'll take anything, seriously.)  If you love strong female characters, great action and suspense, and sweet forbidden romance, look no further. Rites of Passage is a great debut novel and I'm looking forward from much, much more from Joy N. Hensley in the future!  I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didnt know at first if i would like this book. I was just looking for a book at my local library and this one just happened to catch my eye. After reading the first paragraph i was hooked. I read this book in two days (it would have been one but i had to sleep at some point) I have to say, i was a little disappointed at the end when Sam and Drill couldnt be together they were so cute together. But what can you do? I really hope Joy Hensley writes another book like this!!! I lived the thrill and excitment of this book.
Cupcakegirly More than 1 year ago
The line for Drill starts behind me. What I LOVED: Drill. The end. (Okay, so not really.) Rites of Passage is an empowering story, one that female AND male readers alike will appreciate and enjoy. (My 14 year old son read it and LOVED it!) Well-written, fast paced and action packed, once I started reading, I found it incredibly difficult to put down! When I finally did though, I felt the urge to do a hundred push-ups. I made it to twenty three before deciding it wasn't necessary to try and kill myself. Because, you know, push-ups suck. Sam McKenna is the perfect blend of fierce determination, vulnerability and feminine strength. (I could totally relate to her not ever turning down a dare. I too have been known to do crazy things just because someone dared me, although nothing quite like joining what is essentially a "boys only" club.) But I LOVE that Sam refuses to give up when things gets tough. She doesn't she allow those around her to break her spirit either, even when the people closest to her encourage her quit. Go home. Find a different way to prove herself. Sam just keeps going. (For the record, I would've gone AWOL the first time someone screamed for me to drop and give them twenty.) And then there is Drill. The romance in this story definitely kicked my heart rate into gear and had me fanning my face a few times, but it stays realistic and doesn't overshadow the more important themes of honor, courage and loyalty. Kudos to Joy Hensley for that because if it had been me, "PT" would have stood for, "Pucker-up Time." ;) What Left Me Wanting More: Nothing. Final Verdict: Read it!