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.
How do I even begin to describe this book? I…I…THIS BOOK IS AMAZING!!! Yes, that is a good place to start. Have you ever read a book that you simply can’t put down, a book that pulls at your heartstrings, a book that claims your attention and never lets go until the end? And when you reach the end, you have a tear in your eye because it’s over? That is what happened to me while reading Rites of Passage.
I was hooked by the very first sentence: “I’m physically incapable of saying no to a dare- I’ve got the scars and broken bone count to prove it.” Now, I don’t know about you, but that sentence alone was enough for me to know that I would enjoy the book. Seeing as the first sentence hooked me in, I had high expectations for the rest of the book. Not only were my expectations met, they were actually surpassed!
The main character was Sam, a girl whose father and brothers all went to the Denmark Military Academy. The DMA has always been for guys, up until this year when girls were admitted into the incoming class. You may think that Sam, who was one of the girls admitted, entered the DMA because of her family, but no, that was not the true reason. The reason related back to the very first sentence of the book- a dare. Sam was dared to enter the DMA, so that’s exactly what she did.
Now being one of four girls in a school with all guys might sound intimidating, but that was the very least of Sam’s concerns. All that she wanted to do was stay in the DMA and prove her worth to everyone around her, especially the haters, who certainly weren’t quiet about their annoyance with having girls in their classes. While many people might give up at that point, Sam didn’t, which is one of the qualities that I love about her.
As the book continued, Sam started to realize that not only was she being hazed by some of the boys, but she was also being threatened. The threats started out as empty threats, but as the book continued, they didn’t seem so empty anymore. With the help of a few friends at DMA, she realized that she was tangled into a web of secret societies, deceit, and blackmail.
Okay, with that being said, let me somehow pull all of my emotions together and explain why this book was so amazing. First of all, I connected with all of the characters, whether they were good, evil, or both. If you look at my status updates on Goodreads while reading, you can tell that I not only loved the characters, but I also loved the interactions between them. While reading, I could feel the sense of loyalty, pride, and courageousness that Sam and her friends felt. I honestly felt as though I was going through the DMA with Sam, not just reading about it.
Overall, this book was phenomenal. Rites of Passage was definitely one of my favorite books that I read this year, if not one of my favorite books of all times. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone and give it 5/5 stars.