Magan: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Rites of Passage Book CoverRites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley
Publication date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 416
Target Audience: Young Adult
Keywords: Military Academy, sexism, hazing and bullying
Format read: ARC received from the Publisher. (Thank you!)

Summary: Dared by her older brother, Amos, to join the military academy when they agree to accept females, Sam accepts. Life in the academy is far from easy. Is there a point where Sam says ‘enough is enough’ or can she prove herself despite the extra harassment?

What if you were dared by a sibling you greatly admired to do something that was so freakin’ hard you’d want to quit before you even began? Would you still go forward or just bow out?

Sam joins the DMA (military academy) on a dare from her older brother, Amos. When he passes away and the academy agrees to begin accepting females, it feels like more than just a dare to Sam. She’s gotta prove herself and not let him down. She becomes one of only four girls accepted. The majority of the guys do not want the girls there, but Sam is specifically targeted because of the military position her father holds and who her brother, Jonathan, is on the DMA campus, the corporal cadet. Sam doesn’t want preferential treatment, but many, many things cross the line, especially with her leader, Matthews, who wants her to suffer and quit.

Sam’s roommate, Katie, constantly finds ways to finagle her way out of workouts, and her friend, Kelly (a boy), seems to be on her side until Sam doesn’t want to break the strict no-dating policy. Everyone’s already watching her like a hawk, so why toe the line with something she could easily prevent? Sam is tough and strong and fights like hell to prove herself. Though her hard work is often overlooked, she is able to make some allies who commend her. Those allies, however, aren’t always around to protect her.

Let me break things down into a little Why I Loved Rites of Passage list:

  • Sam and her determination are absolutely unbeatable. Maybe she joined the academy on a whim, but she’s got a lot of fight and stamina. She’s probably one of the bravest female young adult characters I’ve encountered; I would have fled home because I couldn’t have mentally taken the torment.
  • I loved seeing a female succeed in a man’s world. Though there were countless times her achievements were overlooked (and I wanted to punch someone in the junk because of it), I was doing mental fist pumps cheering her on as she endured not only the physical training and workouts, but school and the ridicule as well.
  • There’s this subtle storyline that had me wondering what happened to her brother Amos. You can tell how much Sam is missing him and really working hard to make him proud, but why did he pass away?
  • Sam’s other older brother, Jonathan, is in a ranked position at the military academy. I wondered from the very beginning pages how he would treat his sister amongst a group of guys who clearly were so opposed to having females around. Would he be ballsy enough to stand up for her (assuming he wanted her to be there) or would he only make things worse and overlook any harassment?
  • Hensley’s writing flowed so, so well. I don’t have a lot of personal experience with the military (aside from attending Texas A&M for a year and seeing my fellow classmate suffer through his first year in the Corps) so the story really needed to be written well for me to grasp the environment and regimented lifestyle. And it was. Perfectly. The details were so crisp and I understood every ounce of Sam’s story.

To be fair, I did have one uncertainty about Rites of Passage:

  • The end felt a little abrupt. BUT, my adrenaline was also pumping and I had to finish before bed so the story buildup was there and my anticipation was high…but I needed a little more. My personal hope: that Hensley will continue writing Sam’s story. I just don’t feel like her story is over yet.

Absolutely, 100% add this book to your Must Reads of 2014 list. I think it’ll be one of my top ten favorites for the year. I’d be willing to bet on it.

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wardrobe inspired by rites of passage book

Rites of Passage: A Bootcamp Wardrobe + Giveaway

rop_bootcamp

Attention, friends, attention! Today is such an exciting day for Alexa, Rachel, and me. Rites of Passage is a review book we were all so, so lucky to receive review copies of. I DEVOURED IT. And recently, Rachel visited Austin, TX (where I live) and we could not stop talking about this book. We’re each spotlighting fun things about this incredible book (on Wednesday, I’ll do a full review for y’all) because RITES OF PASSAGE IS OUT TOMORROW. That’s right — plan a trip to your local bookstore tomorrow. You won’t be sorry.

Rites of Passage Book Cover

Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley
Publication date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 416
Target Audience: Young Adult
Keywords: Military Academy, sexism, hazing and bullying
Format read: ARC received from the Publisher. (Thank you!)

SYNOPSIS: 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.

I had this grand, grand idea of doing a Parent’s Weekend Survival Kit for Sam, but without saying too much, once I reflected back on some events in the book, I realized that just didn’t seem true her story. But of course I still wanted to window shop. I challenged myself to create a Military-themed bootcamp wardrobe because this is so outside of my norm. I don’t own anything like this in my current wardrobe, but after pulling this together, that might change. Enjoy!

wardrobe inspired by rites of passage book

  1. Dr. Martens — Can anyone else remember wearing these in middle school or high school? Anyone? I was OBSESSED. When these showed up during my search, it was like a time warp. How are these coming back in style?! They’re so heavy I hold them soley responsible for my back problems. 😉
  2. Nice Guise Leggings — If these leggings PROMISED to hide and disguise my thighs, I would buy them in a heartbeat. Right?
  3. Bomber Jacket — Something I’ve always, always wanted to add to my collection, but seems to always be out of my budget. This Forever 21 version has definitely caught my attention, though!
  4. Military Dog Tags — It’s undeniable that dog tags had to be part of the wardrobe. I love the font used on these. While I know they aren’t identical to the military ones, I think this is a nice nod toward the originals.
  5. Aviator Sunglasses — My favorite pair of aviators I’ve owned were from Fossil (like many of my favorite wardrobe staples), but these Ray-Bans are so quintessentially military. I love the variety of colors they come in, too!
  6. Rucksack Fossil Bag — This bag is listed under the men’s section, but I think it’s the perfect companion for quick trips and would be so easy to pack for a little getaway. (And the interior is orange, which I love!)

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