She never turns down a dare, so why would she when her older brother Amos, dares her to enter the Denmark Military Academy or the DMA to those in the know call it? And Sam would know, because her family lives and breathes the military. Her dad went to the DMA and both her older brothers.
But here is the problem. The DMA has been an all boys school, until this year. When Sam and four other girls brave the all male tradition of the school and have been allowed to enroll. To make things even harder for Sam, her brother Jonathan is the cadet colonel. Which means he’s basically in charge of all the students. However, this doesn’t make things easier on Sam.
Not only does she have to do all the physical drills the same as the boys, she has to deal with all the hazing of the new class of students, and more, because there is a whole group of people, students and parents, that don’t want any girls at their school, including Sam.
As things get rougher and rougher for Sam, she realizes that it might get to the point where only her death will make things settle down at the DMA. Only a few close friends and her Drill Sergeant Stamm keep her sane, and safe, as best they can.
In the midst of all of this, Sam begins to develop feelings for her Drill, and is thrilled when it appears they are returned. Of course, no way can they let anyone know about it, or Sam and Drill will get kicked out of the DMA. Plus, she feels that the last dare she made with Amos has to stand, because Amos is dead.
Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley is a fast paced, edge of your seat, what the heck is going to happen next kind of book, in between lots of military jargon. Really a great read.
Highly recommended for 8th graders and up.