Monday, March 28, 2016

Review: Exit Pursued by a Bear by EK Johnston

Exit, Pursued by a Bear “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.

My Review: 5 Stars

I really loved this book and how it dealt with so many things in a different way than I've ever seen before.  It showed a rape victim who was surrounded by support and refused to be seen as a victim.  It showed cheerleading as something that takes a lot of athletic ability and should be respected for it.

Hermione is the main character of the book and she is a great one.  She is raped at cheerleading camp, and she doesn't remember any of it.  She doesn't let this define who she is.  That doesn't mean that things are easy for her, because she still does struggle.  But she doesn't want people to see her as "that raped girl."  She wants to continue cheering with her team, and competing with them.  She isn't going to give up because something bad happened to her.

One of my favorite characters in the book was Polly, who is Hermione's best friend.  She is so supportive and is there with Hermione through everything.  She is also the type of person who is very good and sticking up for people, and people are a bit intimidated by her, so they listen to her.  I loved reading about the friendship between Polly and Hermione.  And while most of Polly's story was shown in relation to Hermione's story arc, she also got her own story arc, which I loved.

I also enjoyed reading about Hermione meeting her therapist and her interactions with him.  Even though she jokingly said he was the worst therapist ever, I think he was really good for her healing process.  (Despite the comments that he made about cheerleading and cheerleaders).  It was really important for her that she had someone who wasn't going to try to make their career out of writing books about working with her or something like that.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


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