"Exit, Pursued By a Bear" by E.K. Johnston

Hermione Winters is really looking forward to her senior year. She’s the captain of her schools championship cheerleading team and one of the most popular girls in school. She has a bright future ahead of her and she plans to make the most of her last days of high school.

But just before the school year begins her future is changed in an instant when someone spikes her drink at a party. Everyone at school knows about it and now she is being talked about for all the wrong reasons.

But Hermione isn’t going to be “that girl.” She doesn’t want to be known by what happened to her. And with the support of her best friend Polly, her parents, and her cheerleading team, she is determined to defy all of the labels being placed on her.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear, by E.K. Johnston, is a touching and poignant story about a young, determined woman and her journey to recovery and acceptance after a terrible crime.

I was pretty impressed by this book. Hermione is a young woman who has been raped (which she cannot remember because she was drugged) and this is the story of how she faces life afterward. For Hermione, it was the support system that she had in her parents, her cheerleading team, and especially her best friend Polly that was able to make her so strong. 

Johnston’s writing is so well-crafted that it is easy to imagine the surroundings and circumstances of this book. The subject matter is deep and intense but the entire time it remains a young adult book and deals with it as such. And yet, as the reader, you don’t have to be a part of that age group to relate to or be impacted by this book.

The important thing to know about this book is that for many people it will seem unrealistic. Some will have issues with the way the book deals with a sensitive topic. But for others this will be its strength. I don’t think it would be fair at all to criticize the book for its handling of the issue because what it is doing is presenting one aspect of the story and one that does exist. How we experience and respond to things in life are never the same and that is what this book shows.

This book is more than just a story, it offers hope and guidance. As Johnston writes in a note at the end, there is a support system out there for you and that is the shining message throughout this book. There were quite a few moments in this book that were extremely emotional for me. It was a quick read for me but it definitely wasn’t short on story.


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