Search This Blog

2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

2024 Challenge Sign-Up Post

January Reviews Link-Up

February Reviews Link-Up

March Reviews Link-Up

April Reviews Link-Up

May Reviews Link-Up

June Reviews Link-Up

July Reviews Link-Up

August Reviews Link-Up

September Reviews Link-Up

October Reviews Link-Up

November Reviews Link-Up

December Reviews Link-Up

My Progress:

16 / 30 books. 53% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (5)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut
- Delaware (1)
- Florida
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho (2)
- Illinois (2)
- Indiana (2)
- Iowa (1)
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (1)
- Maryland
- Massachusetts (2)
- Michigan (1)
- Minnesota
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey (1)
- New Mexico (1)
- New York (5)
- North Carolina (4)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (1)
- Oklahoma (1)
- Oregon (2)
- Pennsylvania (2)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina (1)
- South Dakota
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (3)
- Utah (1)
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (2)
- Washington (2)
- West Virginia (1)
- Wisconsin (1)
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.* (1)

- Australia (2)
- Canada (2)
- England (12)
- France (1)
- Indonesia (1)
- Ireland (4)
- Italy (1)
- Scotland (2)
- The Netherlands (1)

My Progress:

38 / 51 states. 75% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

33 / 50 books. 66% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

50 / 52 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

42 / 52 books. 81% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

30 / 40 books. 75% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

16 / 40 books. 40% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

11 / 25 books. 44% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

21 / 26.2 miles (2nd lap). 80% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

30 / 100 books. 30% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

75 / 104 books. 72% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

50 / 52 books. 96% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

90 / 165 books. 55% done!
Wednesday, March 18, 2015

YA Military School Novel A Fast-Paced, Girl-Power Thrill Ride

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Sam McKenna's never been able to back down from a dare.  Especially when it comes from her older brother, Amos.  In the wake of his suicide, 17-year-old McKenna is more determined than ever to fulfill the last challenge Amos ever flung at her.  Even if it's a crazy one.  And trying to get into the prestigious, boys-only Denmark Military Academy is insane—especially when you're a girl.  Still, Sam manages to break the barrier and become one of the school's first female cadets.  That's when the real nightmare begins.  

No one wants Sam to survive her first year at DMA.  Not even her brother, Jonathon, who's a cadet colonel at the school.  That becomes clear almost as soon as she steps onto campus.  Not only is she forced to work harder than her male counterparts, but she's mocked and abused at every turn.  Although she finds allies in surprising places, she soon begins to suspect that an archaic secret society is still at work on DMA's campus—and it wants her gone.

As Sam works to expose the school's dark side, she struggles to fit in, to outlast her tormentors, and to help the two other female cadets stay strong in the face of brutal intimidation tactics.  Then, there's her strong, but embarrassing attraction to her drill sergeant.  The longer Sam stays at DMA, the more dangerous her situation becomes.  Can Sam survive her brother's dare?  Does she even want to?  Is it really worth it, when the society is so obviously out for her blood?  Sam has never known when to quit.  This time, her stubbornness could cost her her life ...

While the premise behind Rites of Passage, a debut novel by Joy N. Hensley, isn't very original, it still makes for an intense, action-packed read.  With Hensley's insider's view of military academy life, the details of Sam's experience ring with authenticity.  Sam, herself, is empathetic and admirable—an easy character with which to side.  I definitely cared about what was happening to her.  The thing that bugged me about her story, though, is that it's all about a tough, kick-A heroine who can take care of herself—and yet, Sam repeatedly gets rescued by all the guys around her.  Solving all of these problems on her own, with only minimal help, would have made her a more inspiring character.  All in all, though, I enjoyed Rites of Passage.  It's fast-paced and compelling, a solid debut that makes me curious to see what the author will do next. 

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a dozen or so F-bombs, plus milder invectives), violence, and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of Rites of Passage from the generous folks at HarperCollins via those at NetGalley.  Thank you!


  1. I don't know that I've read a book like this with a girl as the main character, but I've read more than one with a guy. The hazing, etc. at military schools and academies. Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy and Dress Grey by Lucien Truscott - both read by me years and years ago.

    1. I've seen RITES OF PASSAGE compared to DRESS GREY, although I haven't read it. I couldn't think of any others with a girl at military school either ...

  2. I'm disappointed to see that she still has to be rescued by guys. Maybe pure feminist agenda wasn't the authors goal??? I also find it funny and maybe symbolic that the main characters name is Sam.

    1. Yeah, I don't know what the author's goal was. I just thought it was weird that Sam (short for Samantha) kept getting rescued. Once or twice, okay, but it's like every time she was in trouble, there was a guy there to help her out. I wanted to see more of her rescuing herself -- and I'm not a feminist at all.

  3. Sounds cool. I agree though - I don’t like it when girls, not matter how kick-butt, still need to be rescued.

    1. Me neither. She can get helped out once in a while, but it mostly needs to be her doing the butt-kicking.


Comments make me feel special, so go crazy! Just keep it clean and civil. Feel free to speak your mind (I always do), but be aware that I will delete any offensive comments.

P.S.: Don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away. I have to approve each one before it posts to prevent spam. It's annoying, but it works!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Homecoming by Kate Morton


The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King

Followin' with Bloglovin'


Followin' with Feedly

follow us in feedly

Grab my Button!

Blog Design by:

Blog Archive