Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Rites of Passage by Joy N. HensleyRites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

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.

Who wants to hear about how I was let down by another anticipated release? Oh, you do? Excellent! Then stick around, because Rites of Passage is one of the most disappointing books of my 2014 reading adventure.

What I Was Promised:

  • Fantastic female characters who take matters into their own hands
  • Hot romantic happenings
  • Exciting military training

What I Got: 

  • A fairly bland main character in the form of Sam McKenna. I was ready to be wooed, I truly was, but Sam failed to keep my attention. I didn’t find her enticing at all, although I did appreciate at least some of her characterisation, like how she suffered under the rule of her military father and, later on, her fellow students at the military school, and how she still held her ground. Unfortunately she was unable to captivate me because she was so damn boring. What was her personality? I still don’t know despite having finished the book.
  • A romance that was neither hot nor romantic. I don’t know, I just didn’t feel the chemistry. You might argue that this book is more about Sam than some guy, which is kind of true, but if romance has to be included then I want it to be steamy. This thing between Sam and that guy (whose name I neither learnt nor cared for) wasn’t steamy. In fact, I was falling asleep when they were together, especially since all of their kissing (almost or otherwise) scenes were described EXACTLY THE SAME WAY. There is only so many times that I can read about someone being pinned against a wall and (nearly) kissed before I grow bored, and this is coming from someone whose favourite kink is Wall Sex.
  • The military training was also the most boring thing. It just kept on happening and I really didn’t care for it. Reading about the way the guys treated Sam was disturbing, and was almost enough to make me care, but the rest of the training bits were dull.
  • Oh, oh, and can we talk about how Sam forgives a guy who treats her like absolute shit and goes along with the bullies, and yet she tells a girl who’s been sleeping with the opposite team to basically fuck off out of her life forever? What is this bullshit. They both deserved to be excluded from Sam’s life but nooooo, this guy is apparently her best friend forever and so very trustworthy. Ugh.

Rites of Passage was not the book that I was expecting, clearly.

2 comments on “Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

  1. Nicole @ The Quiet Concert 15/12/2014 5:16 am

    Aww, it makes me sad that this one let you down. I didn’t really have any expectations going in and I loved the tense military setting and was inspired by Sam’s strength but I wouldn’t really call the romance a romance and the ending definitely supported that hah.

  2. Lauren at Bookmark Lit 17/12/2014 7:35 pm

    YES FINALLY. I’ve been waiting and hoping for someone to share the same thoughts as me on this one. I found the military training to be repetitive and the hazing was cringe-worthy. Like REALLY, NO ONE can do something about this?? She needed to get over her pride and tell someone what was going on. I can’t even deal. I thought she, otherwise, was kind of a badass for sticking to her guns (in other ways) and staying there when everything else was forcing her out. I was really bored throughout and the only moments that got some emotion out of me were the hazing ones that made me ANGRY. I don’t want to be angry throughout 50% of a book and bored the other 50%. AND don’t even get me started on that ending.

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