Oh my, another contemporary/realistic read for me? 😮 Shocking, I know but after reading this book and truthfully after reading the description of the book, I felt this would be an important read. Tackling subjects like what happened to the main character in the book is extremely important. We, as readers and as people, need to know we are not alone in our experiences.
So here’s my disclaimer: The book’s main character was raped. This is a trigger warning.
And if this happened to you or anyone you know, please know you are not alone. There is help and hope in even the darkest times. I will reiterate what the author herself said: There is support for you. If you live in the US, there is the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (http://www.nsvrc.org/organizations) and the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN — http://www.centers.rainn.org).
Title: Exit, Pursued by a Bear
Author: E.K. Johnston
Publisher: Dutton Books
Release date: March 15, 2016
Length: 248 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (taken from Goodreads) “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.”
My rating: 4/5 stars
For some reason, I seem to start out most of my reviews of contemporary novels with “I wasn’t sure I would like this” because that’s been the case a lot. I mean, a cheerleader getting raped? I sort of just metaphorically rolled my eyes but I found myself relating to Hermione and that’s what made me love this book. As I stated before, the subject of this book is important for anyone to read, young adult or otherwise.
Hermione is surrounded by such a strong group of friends. Her best friend, Polly, is her go-to girl and she sticks by Hermione’s side through everything. Hermione also has great parents though at times they seem distant and confused because they aren’t sure what will trigger their daughter. Hermione also has a funny, cool therapist that she genuinely seems to connect with. Just about every single person in Hermione’s life supports her and the decision she makes in regards to the outcome of the rape–her cheerleading coach, her teammates, the police officer, etc. I find that just so so so important in a situation like this because it’s a reminder that we are not alone and there are people who will go above and beyond to comfort us through dark times.
And Hermione herself is a strong character too. She doesn’t break down or fall apart afterwards. She continues on with her life–not like nothing ever happened, but she knows it’s something she will live with the rest of her life but she’s not letting it control her or frighten her from continuing doing the things she loved to do before she was raped.
The book ended well, too, although I longed for a bit more and it did feel slightly rushed and left me with a few questions but I think the author did that on purpose–to let the readers decide to do with the information we were (and weren’t given).
Anyways, I’m definitely adding this book to my collection.