21 January 2015

Drop Everything and Read: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Sometimes there are long periods where I read lots of good books but none that truly shines bright like a diamond wows me. This is why I'm so happy to have discovered Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley. It wowed me and then some.

To be honest I wasn't really that excited to get started on this book. The cover is too bland and unappealing to me. Plus, it looks really intimidating. Dog tags on a black background? I didn't have to read the synopsis to know that it's not an easy breezy book. I get nit-picky over book covers so YES, I read too much into the cover of this book. But I read it anyway with a lot of enthusiasm and determination to devour it in one sitting (I didn't but let's pretend I did) because I had to know what my blogger buddies were gushing about. Whenever any one of them obsessively recommends a book, I do my best to check it out.

So I did. And I'm glad I'm weak against peer pressure because dudes, Rites of Passage is AMAZING

What sets this book apart from most young adult contemporary books is how it'll captivate readers in spite of all the terrible things that goes down in ninety percent of the story. Okay, I'm not doing a very good job selling the book. What I mean is: reading the book will take you on a journey -- one that's difficult and often unfair but will keep you flipping pages. That's how engaging it is.

Our protagonist, Sam, has to deal with the harsh reality of joining a previously all-male military academy. Now if you think this is just your typical case of bullying in school, you're wrong. I can't even begin to describe how much pain -- both physical and emotional -- Sam had to endure all throughout the book. I don't know if I'm just a masochist like that but I love books that get me riled up for all the right reasons. I got so torn up with frustration by the unfair and brutal treatment to the female recruits -- especially to Sam. All the verbal and physical abuse she was taking made me feel so furious and believe me I wanted to rage. (but couldn't because I didn't have an outlet other than status updates online) It's like all my feminist buttons were being pushed! I hated the characters and the circumstances they were in but I eagerly read on because Sam is the perfect example of a genuinely badass protagonist you'd continuously root for. 

(Also, I feel that this is important to share with you all, there is an equally badass love interest. Forbidden recruit-drill sergeant romance, anyone? *winks*)

Towards the end of the book, when good things were FINALLY happening, I cried out of pure joy and relief that all of it was temporarily over. It's been a while since I felt this moved by a book. I think in that way, Hensley was successful in reaching out to her readers. 

Rites of Passage is a compelling and well-paced novel that shouldn't be passed on. You just have to experience this book.

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  1. Shine bright like a diamond huh? LOL! I've wanted to buy the book for a long time since the whole concept is really intriguing! Awesome review!

  2. I just read the synopsis to this, and ohmygod, I WANT. Awesome review, ate Sab! :D

  3. I have to finish this ASAP gah

  4. i really want to read this - it looks so good! glad you enjoyed it x

  5. I have it on my shelves, I'll definitely pick it up soon!!!