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Monday, September 15, 2014

NICOLE'S REVIEW: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Title: Rites of Passage
Author: Joy N. Hensley
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: September 9 2014
Publishing House:  Harper Teen
ISBN: 0062295195
Source of Copy: 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 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 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 driver 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.

        (Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Normally, I wouldn't even bother to pick a book like this up. The cover wasn't exactly the most appealing and the genre? Contemporary. I rarely read contemporary. So I'm really thankful to whatever force made me download a copy off of Edelweiss because this book was amazing. I couldn't put it down (I tried) and read it late into the night. It was worth the loss of sleep.

Sam McKenna is incapable of turning down a dare. Especially not when it's the last one her brother will ever give her. So she packs up and hauls herself over to a prestigious military school, becoming one of the first girls to join the ranks. She's a military brat so she's expecting long grueling hours of rigorous training. What she didn't expect was the hostility towards her, the brutal hazing and the taunting coming from some of the cadets who think that girls don't belong in military school. Add to that her startling attraction to her drill sergeant and uncovering a secret society determined to force her out, Sam isn't sure who to trust and she's got to make it through the year.

I love this book to bits. Sam and I could not be more different but it was the easiest thing in the world to connect with her character. She's physically and mentally strong with a terribly pragmatic mindset. I loved her tone of voice and the glimpses of femininity that pop up once in a while. She might be in a male-dominated school but Sam can bring it just as much as the boys. When all that hazing started and some idiots started picking one her I just wanted to tell them all to stop. When she was left all alone, wondering just how she was going to push through I wanted to tell her that I was cheering for her. And that she should totally smack those boys around because I was pretty sure she could have taken them. 

Then there's Drill. The totally swoon-worthy drill sergeant whom Sam can not have a relationship with. He's the one person she can truly trust and they're so perfect for each other that sometimes I just wanted to reach in and bump their heads together and scream 'KISS DAMN IT. KISS.' The story isn't romance driven so savor the moments guys. Savor. Them. Also, while Drill may be macho and definitely alpha, he's no douche and he respects Sam's strength and determination and admires her for it. He doesn't treat her any different than the other guys.

You know what else I love about this book? The secret society. It didn't sound like a bunch of utter bull and Hensley managed to seamlessly weave it into the story which made it seem believable and totally creepy. The hazing was brutal too and I'm pretty sure I couldn't have survived that, even if I wanted to. 

So I'm giving this book a 4.5 and I really recommend this to everyone. I'm practically shoving it in people's faces. The book practically oozes tension and suspense, boasts a protagonist who's got a great character arc and the pacing was just perfect. I'm really, really hoping a second book happens because while the book ended well it's just one of those books I wouldn't mind seeing more off. Girl power please. 

Can't wait for my own physical copy of this book and I'm buying anything with this author's name on it, no questions asked. You have totally restored my faith in contemporary. 




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