on March 15, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
“I love you,” Polly says suddenly when I’m almost to the door.
“I know,” I say.
Hermione Winters has been a flyer. She’s been captain of her cheerleading team. The envied girlfriend and the undisputed queen of her school. Now it’s her last year and those days and those labels are fading fast. In a few months she’ll be a different person. She thinks she’s ready for whatever comes next.
But then someone puts something in her drink at a party, and in an instant she finds herself wearing new labels, ones she never imagined:
Victim. Survivor. That raped girl.
Even though this was never the future she imagined, one essential thing remains unchanged: Hermione can still call herself Polly Olivier’s best friend, and that may be the truest label of all.
Heartbreaking and empowering, Exit, Pursued by a Bear is the story of transcendent friendship in the face of trauma.
“I love you,” I say, because I really, really do.
“I know,” says Polly.
I have never read anything like Exit, Pursued by a Bear. It’s such a unique story. It has some very touchy subjects but they are handled so well. Hermione was drugged and then raped at cheer camp. She doesn’t remember a thing but the rape results in pregnancy.
The book really revolves around Hermione’s struggles afterward but not in an all encompassing ‘I was raped’ way. Hermione doesn’t remember the rape so she doesn’t feel very different. She knows she should. I liked this take on trauma. I also liked that it wasn’t a secret throughout the book. People knew about the assault and that made the story even more fascinating.
Hermione was a magnificent character. She was so strong. She was easy to relate to even if her situation was something I’ve never faced. She just wanted to be a normal girl again. The secondary characters were fabulously done as well. I loved Hermione’s best friend, Polly! Seeing the friendships between all the cheer squad members was great. I loved how they stood up for Hermione.
I’m really happy with the way the pregnancy and abortion aspects were handled. I was a little worried things were going to go in a different direction. I felt like this played out realistically. It’s handled with grace and its significance isn’t lost it the story.
Exit, Pursued by a Bear is a new gem in the YA world. The story is heartbreaking and beautiful. The backdrop is an awesome, tight nit cheerleading team. That adds so much uniqueness to the story. I really enjoyed this book. I’ll definitely be reading more by E.K. Johnston in the future.