Select one of the keywords
Exit, Pursued by a Bear    by E. K. Johnston order for
Exit, Pursued by a Bear
by E. K. Johnston
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

E. K. Johnston takes on a tough issue (rape and its aftermath) in Exit, Pursued by a Bear, but she handles it beautifully, with unexpected humor and with heart. Our heroine is small town Palermo Heights' super popular cheer-leading captain Hermione Winters. There's Polly Olivier (her co-captain and BFF) who has her back throughout ... and there's boyfriend Leo, who doesn't.

It happens at a cheer-leading camp. Hermione and Polly attend with their team, proud to be part of the Fighting Golden Bears. They are each assigned a cabin to look after, and take care of the younger girls, whom they mentor. Hermione is unsure of her relationship with her boyfriend, who's always watching her - 'Leo seems to have the answers, and I'm not sure I know the question.'

There's a dance. Someone spikes Hermione's drink and then rapes her. She wakes up in a hospital bed. Polly is there, and stays with her. Hermione returns home to devastated parents and then back to school after the summer holiday ends. There are Facebook rumors, nasty gossip that she was asking for it, and other consequences to deal with. And there's even humor amidst the anguish as everyone makes their adjustments.

Though Leo isn't there for Hermione, so many others are, from Polly and her parents to Reverend Bob and Officer Plummer. Her psychiatrist warns her of the triggering of lost memories and assures her, 'You seem like the type who eats fear for breakfast.' Then comes the Halloween dance - and Hermione begins to recall what happened.

This is an amazing story and Hermione a wonderful character. I really wish that all rape victims were as strong as she is and that they could obtain the degree of support that she has here, but I'm sure that's not the case.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Teens books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews