I received this book for free from HarperTeen in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Rites of Passage by Joy N Hensley
Published by HarperTeen on September 9th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Buy on Amazon
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.
It’s been a while since I listened to a good audiobook. I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Not only was the book itself great, but the narrator was perfect for it. In this day and age we don’t think as much about gender equality as we used to, but gender roles sadly do still exist. I love that this was a YA book that explored that, and shows a strong female character fighting for what is right. Not only for herself, but for others to follow. I love a good military story, and this one was great. I think it was enhanced by the audio since it really helped to put the emotion of the characters center stage. I wouldn’t say this was full of action, but there was plenty of spots that got my heart pumping a little. The character development was great, and the story really kept me interested.
Sam is the younger sister in a military family. Her father is military, her brother Jonathan is at the academy, and her brother Amos was military before he died. In fact, part of the reason she is so determined to make it through military school is because Amos dared her to do it. Except, most of the people at the academy are not so thrilled about girls going there. She quickly learns that not only are they not happy about it, but there are some people who will stop at nothing to get her and the other girls out. Sam is one of those tough girls that you absolutely have to love. She was not willing to give up, and she endured some rough shit. Some would think of her as stubborn, but I thought of her as awesome, brave, smart, and one badass chick. She was better than most of the guys on her team, but she never was cocky about any of it. And especially when things got really rough, she was more determined than ever to prove that females belong there just as much as anyone.
There was a bit of romance, but it was very subtle. Obviously there were a lot of other things going on, so romance wasn’t front and center. Add the fact that it’s Drill, that makes it totally forbidden. The only thing is, he returns the attraction. He also shows that he believes in her and is there for her no matter what. He knows that he has to walk a fine line so as to not let anyone know what is building between them, both for his safety and hers. I thought it was really sweet and they were great.
Since I listened to the audio of this, I have to say that it was really great. The narrator had the perfect voice for Sam. They also did well with the other characters so it was easy to tell who was talking when. She brought the emotion to the story without being excessive. I felt like I was there with Sam a lot of the time while I was listening. It was realistic. The story was intense at times with the things that the characters went through and I was glad I got to feel that through the narrator, where I might not have felt it as strongly reading it on my own. Overall this was a fantastic story and the audio version made it even better for me.
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