I first read this book more than 20 years ago. I remembered some of the basics of the plot but not too much more. It's the story of Mia Havero, aged 12 when the story begins and 14 when it ends. She's one of a number of priviledged survivors of a catastrophe, caused by unlimited population growth, which destroyed Planet Earth. She lives on a spaceship created in an asteroid, with access to education and technology, while less fortunate descendants of Earth's survivors live on colonies on planets scattered throughout the galaxy. In order to control population growth, the citizens of the Ships are sent down to planets for 30 days after they turn 14, to survive as best they can with some pretty extensive training and a limited amount of supplies and tools. This is the Rite of Passage.
The story is told in 1st person and at times I felt it went into a bit too much detail, but Mia's voice is very convincing and I was impressed that the author -- who I think was in his 20s at the time he wrote this -- could write from the point of view of an adolescent girl so well. The future society he's created is very interesting and the book is a fast, easy read. But it's not simple. It raises a lot of moral questions which, when I read the book for the first time in my teens, mostly passed me by. After rereading it recently, I was left feeling actually quite shocked by the ending. The book is very thought-provoking, and like the best science fiction, it raises more questions than it answers. Highly recommended -- I gave it 4 stars only because I think it could have been a bit more tightly written and/or edited.