I got an ARC of Rites of Passage this month on a whim. It looked interesting and I thought "why not?" I hadn't heard of it before, but once I got it, I started seeing it everywhere all over the internet. The other week, I saw it on my shelf, and decided to pick it up. I was obsessed like that. I loved the characters instantly, and by loved them, I wanted to stab a bunch of them. Repeatedly. But with love. The main character is part of the first class of girls at a previously all-boys military academy. Needless to say, she is not treated well by many of the populace.
Oftentimes, contemporary books don't have a clear antagonist. It's often along the lines of the main character's mind, or an oversensitive parent. In this, there is a definite antagonist, though I'm hoping for a sequel with more details. The main character Sam is pretty awesome. She goes to the school on a dare from her brother that passed away the year before. Sam is one of the few recruits made for military life, but she gets pushed to the breaking point over and over again. There's Corporal Matthews, which I want to stab for the rest of my life. Matthews is HORRIBLE to Sam. He is extremely sexist and just ARGH! But I digress. There's also Becka, on of the other female recruits, and while at first I thought she was a ditz, she really came around. Lastly, there's Drill AKA Drill Sergeant Stamm, AKA Dean. I honestly loved his character. He treats the male and female recruits the same, and is willing to help Sam when no one else will.
I really enjoyed the writing in the book. It was very to the point. There was a lot of military terminology that I didn't understand, but that was about it.
The first bit of the book was a lot of verbal abuse towards Sam and military training. About halfway through though, the plot gets jump started. Suddenly, everything starts to make sense. Characters fall into place and references start making sense. Needless to say, I loved it.
I really could see the world of the military academy. There was a good bit of vague description that I would like to know more about, but also understand. The main character didn't get to see much of campus, so we readers didn't either. Why didn't she see much of campus? Mainly because she was either busy doing military things/classes, or was in trouble for reasons and couldn't go anywhere.