Rites of Passage Sets A New Bar For Girls Who Kick Butt!

Joy N. Hensley's debut novel Rites of Passage is young adult story of trials and perseverance, with a hefty dose of girl power!rites of passage joy n hensley book review

Sam McKenna is a girl who loves a good dare. When her older brother, Amos, dares her to attend Denmark Military Academy the year they start admitting girls, she can't say no.

Though Sam's mother is vocally against her daughter's decision, Sam can't let her brother down. This is especially true because it was the last dare Amos gave her before taking his own life without leaving so much as a note to explain why.

"I'm physically incapable of saying no to a dare—I've got the scars and broken bone count to prove it."

As a military brat, Sam is no stranger to push-ups and obstacle courses and has no problem keeping up with the boys, but all of her pushing does little to ease the hostility from upper-classmen who don't think girls belong in their school. Sam and the other handful of girls attending The Denmark Military Academy face resentment at every turn and sticking together is growing more difficult every day.

But Sam is determined to complete the dare, certain that dropping out will only worsen aggression toward the girls who will enroll next year. She pushes herself to do better, to ignore the onslaught from her male peers, and to resist the urge to flirt with her handsome drill sergeant, since dating within the academy will result in expulsion. To add to her stress, Sam even has to convince her other brother Jonathan, a cadet colonial, that she belongs there just as much as everyone else.

"Jonathan is the cadet colonial. You can't be all female around him. As if being female is a sickness Mom and I can get over."

Soon, the hostility from her peers turns physical, and Sam starts to realize she might be in danger of ending up with more than just a hurt ego. Sam's refusal to back down has brought light to a secret organization hidden beneath the academy that goes back years, full of prideful men and boys determined to keep Denmark Military Academy "pure" – which, in this case, means keeping girls out.

Rites of Passage will keep readers on the tips of their toes, excited but angry at the injustices Sam faces. The words thrown Sam's way are brutal and the trials she endures will leave you cheering for her to prove everyone wrong. Sam is a strong, determined young woman with something to prove and a willingness to do almost anything to prove it. Her friends are faithful and ready to follow her lead, and her motivation will leave fans inspired. She's positively bursting with girl power.

Rites of Passage published early in September of this year. Hensley's debut novel is a wonderful read about perseverance, strong friendships, family, and loyalty. The romantic subplot adds a sweet, fun element to the story and is an extremely well-written and realistic part of the narrative. Sadly, there are not yet any plans for a sequel, so we may never witness more of the action-packed story of the incredible Sam McKenna.

We recommend this novel to girls interested in an empowering story that's almost impossible to put down. We'll be sure to keep an eye out for Hensley's future novels!

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