Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K Johntson | Review


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Rating: ★★★★☆

Trigger Warnings: rape, sexual assault, spiking of drink, abortion, PTSD

Release Date: March 15th, 2016

Pages: 248

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads blurb:

Veronica Mars meets William Shakespeare in E.K. Johnston’s latest brave and unforgettable heroine. 

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of… she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale. 

M I N I   R E V I E W

After reading the horrible storm that was Zenith I needed a book that was all about girl power and friendship. Exit, Pursued by a Bear was exactly that book. Though, upon completion, I’m really wondering why this book isn’t talked about more. The events of which are terrible but the message and support network that is within it is truly inspiring and beautiful.

Hermione is a popular girl. She is a cheerleader and she is pretty damn nice. This year is her year. She and her best friend are co-captains of their squad. She is attending her last cheerleading camp and despite the fact, her boyfriends kind of being a jerk all is right in the world. Until the last night of camp where she is drugged and raped, tossed in the lake like an afterthought. She then ends up pregnant. All of this something she’d never dreamed of happening to her. Hell, no one dreams of this happening to them. It was pretty damn heartbreaking.

It was interesting to read about abortion in a young adult book. I am personally pro-choice. I believe a woman has the choice to get an abortion and shouldn’t be shamed ever for what they do. I really believe if you would rather choose to support a fetus over the woman wanting the abortion you’re a dickhead. That’s neither here nor now. Hermione had such an incredible support group throughout the book. It was refreshing to read about adults who were present and ready to support her.

I loved that everyone in her town supported Hermione as well. I’ve read a few books where a sexual assault happens in a small town and the girl is instantly a pariah. It’s beyond frustrating because, at the end of the day, these girls need to know they’re supported and believed. That their story is the truth and shouldn’t be ignored.

Overall, this was a simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming story about a girl learning who she is after a traumatic event. Learning how to react and be herself. Learning that this isn’t the end for her. I truly recommend this story. I wasn’t expecting Exit, Pursued by a Bear to make me feel like I did but boy, it was incredible.

Happy reading everyone!

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