Exit, Pursued By A Bear by E.K. Johnston is a story that is a must read for every young teen. Especially women, but definitely also men. we follow Hermione, popular girl, cheerleading co-captain, absolute sweetheart and known to everyone in her small town. She’s off to cheer camp with her best friend Polly and is ready to make this her best year yet because it is their last year. She is sure that everything will go according to plan, that they’ll have the time of their lives. More than that, all the girls in their year are determined to refrain from sexual activity for reasons you’ll come to read.
Alas, things go very wrong on a very special night and the thing is, you sort of see it coming but only right before it happens. But then it’s too late. Hermione is raped and her whole life is about to change, but she refuses to let it.
I have many thoughts on this book. But let me start off by saying, if you’re someone who has suffered from any sort of sexual assault, whether it be someone feeling you up on a bus or something as extreme as rape, this book is not going to help you feel better. Having said that, I will say that if you are young and lucky enough to have not experienced anything like that then this is the perfect book to read. No, I’m not bashing the book. It is a great book, i’ve said it’s a must read, but it isn’t something you read for closure or to feel like, “Hell yeah, you go girl.” It’s more like something you read to educate yourself on how the experience might be different for someone else.
The writing is more pretty and happy than dreary so if you’re worried about triggers there are none here. Don’t worry. It is perfectly appropriate for the age groups so there’s no graphic details and it’s pretty surface. But I will say the writing pulled me in and I was relieved for that. I was worried it would either be awfully sad or absolutely fake and it found a lovely balance between talking about things and showing there is a life beyond a tragedy.
This is the BEST PART OF THE WHOLE BOOK. I absolutely adore Hermione’s Never Say Die attitude and how she is determined to not let it affect her life beyond how much it affected her life. I didn’t agree with certain things she did but then I’m not a teenager so…. Anyway, her friendships and the way people treat her is something everyone should focus on. It shows that there is a way other than victim blaming and shaming, it shows that the right way to react this is to surround the victim with love and affection! And this is where the book shined. I’d recommend this book for everyone mainly to help them learn how not to judge someone and to ignore people who are judgemental.
To sum up, read this without worrying about trigger warnings. Because she’s unconscious for the assault there isn’t any graphic detail and the main story is about how she deals with it and how her friends an family deal with it. It was a great and quick read.
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.