Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Title: Rites of Passage
Author: Joy N. Hensley
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: 9 September, 2014
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

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.
Review by Nara

I definitely seem to be a bit of a black sheep with Rites of Passage. With floods of positive reviews coming in, I was looking forward to reading this book. Unfortunately, I was greatly disappointed in most aspects of the book, including the plot, the romance, the writing and the characters.

I can't deny that Sam is a strong and determined character, but I never really felt like I was interested in what happened to her. Sure, she's facing all these difficult situations, everyone seems against her and even her "friends" aren't necessarily reliable, but everything felt a bit over the top. And Sam herself just seemed very flat and underdeveloped to me.

In general, the romance didn't really seem that well developed either. It was definitely a slow burning romance, but I felt like I didn't really understand why the love interest liked the protagonist. The most annoying thing about the romance though, was that is wasn't resolved. I can understand that a lot of the time in contemporaries, the romance is left open, but this one was completely left hanging. I'm not sure if this was done so that the author could leave things open for a sequel, but it certainly wasn't something I liked.

And the plot- so. Much. Drama. The whole book was just Sam being attacked by person after person for being a female in the military academy. It seemed like a very cliched portrayal of sexual discrimination (although that being said, I'm surprised there weren't more menstrual jokes and things). It got a bit tiring and repetitive reading about so many people abusing her. I also feel like there were several plot threads which weren't tied up quite as nicely as I would've liked.

All this being said, it does seem like a lot of other people in general have really enjoyed this book, so I'd say that if you find the blurb interesting, it could be worth giving the book a read.

It was okay

Overall: 4/10
Plot: 2/5
Romance: 1/5
Writing: 2.5/5
Characters: 2/5
Cover: 3/5