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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.
“They can get into my room. Whenever they want. Oh God. They’re not going to stop. Not ever. Not until I’m gone.”
Rites of Passage left me on such a high, I’m jumping around at 5AM like a crazy person when I should have been tucked up in bed like the reasonable adult I’m supposed to be. Yet as I’ve been flirting on a slump all summer, I wasn’t going to stop reading such a captivating story : the unfairness of everything Mac had to go through because of misogynic assholes ensured to drive me furious, and I couldn’t look away.
The thing is, it would have been so easy to write Mac in an unrealistic way, to make her so successful that her kickass personality would have reeked of unbelievability, and I’m so glad it wasn’t the case. She fails, she doubts, she needs HELP, and that’s okay – no, that’s GREAT. I admire her all the same. I’ve never understood why kickass female leads had to fight alone to be strong – “valuable”. What the fuck is that?! It’s the working woman fighting to the top all over again, and that’s so sad. Why are we accepting that? Why are we condoning the wicked message that we need to be alone to deserve our success? FUCK THAT.
In my opinion Rites of Passage‘s message is way more important : don’t let anyone destroy your dreams, and don’t let your pride refuse help – your achievements won’t be diminished because you trusted others. I loved the complicity and friendship between Mac and some of her classmates. I loved that she found people to stand up for her and yet kept making her own decisions. Girl power, but not only – let’s not put all men in the same basket, alright? I also completely crushed on the love interest, which is a shock, because men in uniforms give me the CREEPS (I know how irrational that is, trust me – one of my close friends was in the military and teased me endlessly about it, but what can I say, I am weird). But YUM. I loved this adorable guy.
Military : 1 Anna : 0
About the romance : I need to stress it because I’ve read it a lot and HUH, WHAT : this is in no way a love triangle. Granted, there are two boys, but never at the same time, and the first one is already history when the second one (YUM) steals the show. If that’s a love triangle, then we’ve all been in one once in our life (what a frightening thought, I know).
I’ll end this night rambling by saying that I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending because of two opposite reasons :
– The general plot is wrapped up in a neat bow and everything felt too rushed to be entirely believable.
– The romance aspect is, WELL, we’ll say open to stay optimistic (I AM) and sadly realistic (WHY THOUGH??) but in that case I didn’t want it to be realistic (I’m so unfair, right?) (also, I feel betrayed). Aw hell, I don’t care. In my head everything goes well in the end OKAY?! Okay.
Nearly perfect as far as I’m concerned : some issues weren’t completely dealt with View Spoiler »her older brother’s suicide being one « Hide Spoiler, some parts seemed a bit over the top to me (but what do I know?), and I had to suspend my disbelief pretty hard sometimes (the hacking), but if Joy N. Hensley can interest me in anything military related, I’d say that she’s a pretty damn good author (a sequel, THOUGH?).