Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Thursday, September 18, 2014 with 3 comments
Title: Rites of Passage
Author: Joy N. Hensley
Series: n/a
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: September 9th, 2014
Source: Received from Publisher via Edelwiess
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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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 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.

I really loved this book. I kind of knew I would just from reading the the description. You see, I went right to basic training after high school. Reading Rites of Passage brought back so many memories of those times. If I wasn't writing this review on the fly, I'd scan some pics to share with you. I wasn't Alpha company like Sam, but I was Bravo, and when I was sent to Fort Sill, OK for basic, I was part of the first female group to receive training there. Now, we weren't the first female soldiers on base or anything but it was an adjustment for the Drill Sergeants. They had never dealt with training us dainty things.. so I could relate.

There wasn't any kind of secret society trying to get us out like there was for Sam though. And let me tell you that shit pisses me off. I loved to hate some of the uppers in this book. Sam, I adored her. And there is so much she's going through. There is a reason she signs up to do this, and its rather heartbreaking. 

While I found a little of the secret society stuff to be a bit over the top, it was very interesting and kept me on my toes, just waiting for the next bad thing to happen. 

What really kept me picking up this one was the slow burn sexual tension that develops between Sam and her Drill Sergeant. Now keep in mind, this is a military academy, so when you think drill sergeant, we aren't talking about adults. I know some readers shy away from stuff like that, so I want to point out that he's no a pedo, he's an upperclassman. And oh my.. I wanted him for myself. I had old man Drill Sergeants. *boring* They were funny though. My fav one used to yell "What the Fuck Chuck!" all the time. 

I would definitely recommend Rites of Passage. I really enjoyed it. :) 

About the author:

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.

Find Joy:

Website | Twitter FacebookGoodreads


  1. I'm SO excited for this one!! I literally hadn't heard of it till this week, but now it's highly anticipated in my flailing little brain. It sounds different and, from all I've heard, really gritty and heart wrenching. YUS I NEED THAT. I don't like my feels intact anyway.

  2. Oh, damn, April. I've seen lots of buzz for this one, but I wasn't sure. You've convinced me. I LOVE a slow burn romance. Also, I was *this close* to joining the Air Force...I think I've told you that before. Crazy. Sometimes I wish I had, but then my life would likely be a lot different than it is now.

  3. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I read this one recently too, and I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY enjoyed it! I didn't mention the sexual tension in my review, but YES, this factor was so well done. It was pretty hot! I'm still thinking about Drill these days... haha. But Sam was fierce, and I loved how driven she was. Though I didn't choke up, the family issues in this story really made me empathize with Sam; my tummy churned during some of those heartfelt moments. I don't know why I didn't mention this in my review either. I kinda wanted to keep it short, I guess. :P But this story was awesome -- even if a few things were little much, like you point out, it was still very good. It was entertaining and thoughtful at the same time. It was a fantastic debut, for sure. :)

    Marlene @ The Flyleaf Review


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