Exit, Pursued by A Bear
EK Johnston
Dutton Books for Young Readers
(March 2016)
Hermione is cheerleading captain, but when she’s drugged and raped at cheerleading camp she becomes infamous for something more than how high she can fly. Exit is a well written foray into the Canadian cheerleading culture and a study in friendship more than anything else. The relationship between Polly and Hermione is heartwarming and has an intimacy that would be hard to match in even some teen romances on the shelves. The book centers around how Hermione copes with what happened to her, but I wouldn’t not necessarily recommend this book to survivors. While every assault is different, Hermione has an uncommonly supportive network of family, friends and even schoolmates. The one rumor spread is promptly redacted by the perpetrator and there’s almost no public fall-back on her part, which I find to be unrealistic even in this day and age. The nature of the assault also absolves her of ever having to deal with what happened during the rape or even during the rape kit. It seems very antiseptic and safe, but assault isn’t like that. I will say that the frank and non-judgemental approach to her abortion was refreshing. This could be helpful to someone, but as an “issue” book I wouldn’t say it’s terribly effective. If you’re looking for that I still contend that Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is the gold standard, but as a serious contemporary I think this is a fine read.

This Book is perfect for:

  • School book clubs, especially the cheerleading squad
  • Contemporary Fiction lovers who have a hopeful side
  • Sports lovers who may not know they are
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