In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
Series: The Song of the Lioness #2
Alanna is gradually growing up and more and more people are learning her secret. Alanna is forced to battle more forces aimed at Jonathan and some of them cannot be fought with a sword. Alanna finally passes the tests of knighthood, she fights her arch nemesis and her secrets are revealed. I can remember my first time around being mildly skeptical at the end of this book, but it is definitely worth it to continue on.