This was a good book. Not a great book but a good one.
Plot-wise this is a book you can shelve with The Hunger Games, Divergent, and especially Emma Pass' Acid (also reviewed by me!)
Set in a sexist dystopia where women are raised to be wives and mothers, teenagers resemble the housewife characters in stories such as The Help, and men are groomed for an 'assignment', a job that the nameless big boss known simply as 'The Cardinal' has picked out for them. The novel opens before protagonist Rebecca's acceptance ceremony (a cross between a ball and Panem's reaping ceremonies). Rebecca is out shopping with her overbearing mother and best friend Cheryl for-wait for it-dance cards for the next evening's ball. This is when we first notice that Rebecca is different. Instead of buying a futuristic iPhone-esque dance card like everyone else, she buys something a bit more traditional. Baby blue and requiring actual writing (gasp!), Rebecca's dance card is adorably old-fashioned and noticeably different. The story continues as Rebecca meets rich, blonde, charming Eric. He's perfect, his dad is a doctor, meaning he will probably be selected for the same 'assignment', and he's signing her dance card early. It's obvious, they're meant to be. You see, the pressure's on: if Rebecca isn't married soon she will be forced into an arranged marriage. That's the whole point of the ball-to meet eligible bachelors. Not that many of these marriages lead to love, as Rebecca learns later on.
Then the hour arrives. Rebecca and Cheryl are dressed in silk and tulle and satin, their hair is perfectly curled, their gloves pulled up to their elbows. The acceptance ceremony has begun. All sixteen-year olds in this American dystopia must be presented to the 'Machine' so they can filter out the 'criminals', those detrimental to society. If the 'Machine' flashes red then, the person touching it is a criminal and will be sent to the PIT. At least that's what people think. The 'Machine' only filters out criminals, but when it decides Rebecca deserves the PIT everything she thought to be true is thrown into conflict. She isn't a criminal, at least she doesn't think she is, but if that's what the 'Machine' says then....
But at the PIT she meets friends, meets a group of people who prove that criminals aren't the only people sent to the PIT. Homosexuals, intellectuals, people with a mind for revolution, people who can't have children, people with mental or physical disabilities. Her experiences in the PIT prove that the Cardinal isn't who she thinks he is. He is small-minded, prejudiced, sexist. And like Katniss, Tris and Jenna before her, Becca is now primed for revolution.
The main letdown of this well-worn plot (and what sets it apart) is the romance arc. This book isn't supposed to be original, but the romance line is too predictable, too unrealistic and Rebecca's fixation with men becomes slightly annoying. Unlike other dystopian heroines love isn't something on the side for Rebecca, it is everything. It is the driving force behind her actions-she can't stand to be separated from her significant other. This book advocates the power of true love it in a way that other dystopians I've read haven't.
Rebecca isn't as compelling or interesting as the other YA dystopian heroines I've read. Not that I particularly like those heroines: Katniss, Tris, Jenna and now Becca were all hard for me to read, like, and identify with. They are overly brave, overly moral, overly devoted to their partners. The heroines I love are multi-layered, strong and interesting. Of all the dystopian heroines, I like Katniss the most but I feel as though she has never had a bad thought; she is too pure. Strong-yes, brave-yes, rebellious-yes, realistic-no. But we don't read dystopians to find realistic heroines. We read dystopians for rebels, fighters. Proud, strong, moral, protective girls who are so much better than us. But Rebecca doesn't fit this bill. She is a romance heroine. Devoted and daydreaming with a sprinkle of revolution, of bravery, of persuasion.
Other characters aren't as three dimensional but, compared to other YA love interests, the male lead is disappointing (in my opinion). When you can develop a crush on a book character in a YA romance, it's a good thing. Compared to The Mortal Instruments' Jace, The infernal Devices' Will (and Jem), and the Tiger's Curse series' Ren and Kishan, Rite of Rejection's hero isn't swoon-worthy.
This being said, I did enjoy the book. Like I said, It was not a great book, but a good book. And I strongly recommend it to readers who like a bit of romance in their dystopians, fans of Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth and especially Emma Pass.