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Rite of Passage Paperback – February 1, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Fairwood Press, Inc (February 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978907825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978907822
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,235,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
As someone who has always been, and always will be, a child at heart, I find that reading this book is like going home and then coming back again. I re-read it at least once every two years, and no, you can't have my falling-apart copy. You can't even borrow it. I'd sooner loan you one of my arms or legs.
In the beginning, the story may remind you of Heinlein's novella, Universe. But where in that work the punchline is the science, in this one it's the humanity. A young girl works up to, and then works through, her rite of passage to adulthood, and in the process gains much and loses even more, as always happens when we grow up. Be warned: it's not a "kids' book" though. This is for adults who remember, or who want to remember, what it was like to make the transition-- all the joys and all the sorrows. It's also great for young teens who are going through the process right now.
Reviewers who think the politics and the moral issues are oversimplified have missed the point. When you're that age, politics and morals ARE that simple. Would they could always be.
One of my 'top six best science fiction works of all time' picks.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read a lot of science fiction as a teenager and young adult...the best way to describe this book is 'charming'. It is definitely science fiction, but the focus on the lead female adolescent character and how she changes as she explores her environment, makes the book very accessible for younger readers.
While the book provides typical thought-provoking content in the plot and situations, the real beauty is watching the lead character change mentally and emotionally from a teenager to a young adult.
This is my favorite coming-of-age story...I can't believe it is out of print. Get a paper copy if you can (I've seen it in some used book stores)
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Format: Paperback
At the end of the 22nd century, Earth has been destroyed and humanity has been divided into two distinct factions: those that live on Ships and those that live on a Colony. Residents of the Ships live in an advanced technological society that meets all a person's basic needs. Residents of a Colony live under conditions that are more akin to the 19th century instead of the 22nd.

Within this milieu, Mia Havero is growing up. As she comes of age aboard a Ship, Mia's notions of the world around her are reshaped and reformed from those of a child into those of an adult. When a member of a Ship reaches the age of 14, each member of the Ship undergoes Trial. A period of 30 days where they are dropped on a Colony world to fend for themselves. If they survive, they return to the Ship as a full adult and member of the Ship's community.

Rite of Passage is a wonderful coming of age tale. Mia's growth from a child who is upset at being uprooted from her traditional home -- being moved from one section of the Ship to another when she is 12 -- all the way to a young woman whose decision making processes mature into a very capable and thoughtful young adult are written exceptionally well. At every stage of Mia's growth, the decisions she was making and the explorations she was undertaking made sense given her age.

For Mia, her Trial coalesces all that she has learned aboard Ship. She no longer has to rely on what other people think and believe -- whether that be her father, her tutor, or even her friends -- but can now make up her own mind in a logical, reasoned process. In essence as well as in fact, she has become an adult.

Panshin's Rite of Passage is highly recommended to anyone who can relate to -- or remember -- the world at first slowly unfolding and then, as time passed, dramatically unraveling into the multi-faceted, multi-hued tapestry that any adult can recognize in the blink of an eye.
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Format: Paperback
On a list of my favorite novels of all time, Rite of Passage would be in the top five, maybe even number one. Not because it's great science fiction; as hard sci-fi, most of what it tries to do has been done better by other authors, notably Robert A. Heinlein. Summarized (as many reviewers here have already done), the story is simple, even simplistic: Mia Havero, a tween-age girl living in a future, asteroid-size spaceship, has to become an adult in her society by surviving trial, thirty days on a planet.

I reread this book right after reading the Hunger Games trilogy, which brought some of the defects of Rite of Passage into high relief. How did Trial get started? How did this society, all things considered a decent, civilized society in contrast to the Hunger Games' Panem, allow this tradition to take hold? Especially as it seems to fail in its stated purpose of population control: In most Trial cohorts, few children actually die. Furthermore, the demographics of the ship seem a little sketchy, but I didn't work them out.

Still, none of this is what makes Rite of Passage great, or diminishes it. It is perhaps my favorite book because it, more than any other, shaped my life-long ethics. In Rite of Passage, Trial is merely the backdrop for Mia Havero's own maturing ethics. The story begins with Mia as a self-centered 12-year-old, as most pre-adolescents are. She is not unlikeable, not at all, but it is only through a series of events -- as prosaic as her family moving into a new apartment or as dramatic as Trial itself -- that she begins to understand how her actions, her very existence, affect everyone around her.
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