A Story That Deserves To Be Read // REVIEW: Exit, Pursued By A Bear by E.K. Johnston

Title: Exit, Pursued By A Bear
Author: E. K. Johnston
Publication Date: May 2nd 2017
Publisher: Speak (Penguin Random House)
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: PRH International (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Amazon US || Amazon UK || Barnes and Noble || The Book Depository || Wordery || Kobo || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: "This story of a cheerleader rising up after a traumatic event will give you Veronica Mars-level feels that will stay with you long after you finish." ~ Seventeen Magazine, Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak for a new generation.
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 she knows 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.
Actual Rating 3.5 Stars

Before I begin:

Books about rape or any kind of sexual abuse are VERY VERY important reads to me because I live in a culture where victim blaming is widespread and girls don’t speak up for the most part when they are violated.

When I heard about Exit, Pursued by a Bear, more than a year ago I knew I would read it at some point or the other. It had a story that involved rape that hasn’t been handled before specifically one involving pregnancy, the head cheerleader and a date rape drug.

And so, when I picked it up two days ago, I was very excited. The book had its plus points and its drawbacks but let’s break them down:


1.       NO VICTIM BLAMING: I wanted to applaud this book when it didn’t go through the whole “the girl was asking for it,” arc because THERE SHOULDN’T BE A QUESTION ABOUT THIS. Nobody who has ever been raped has asked for it and NO MEANS NO. The one time it did come up, it was handled positively and I loved it. I wish the world didn’t victim blame and this aspect of the book made me very happy.

2.       STRONG FRIENDS = STRONG SUPPORT SYSTEM: Another thing was that all of Hermoine’s friends didn’t magically abandon her but STUCK WITH HER at all times, supported her and they were just there for her. Exit, Pursued by a Bear broke the stereotype of “catty” cheerleaders and showed that these cheer teammates and friends were true friends and also a support system for Hermoine.


1.       THE LACK OF EMOTION IN THE WRITING: Hermoine was raped after the she was given a date rape drug. She was left in a lake to die until she was found. It’s gruesome, it’s horrible that a human could have the capability to do that. I felt violated sitting in the confines of my room but I NEVER felt it from Hermoine. She actually addresses it too – the fact that she couldn’t remember the rape and hence didn’t feel like it happened to her but some other girl WHICH I UNDERSTAND, and it’s definitely a new perspective but it all felt so mechanical to me. I feel like a little more emotion in the WRITING of Hermoine could have gone a long way in this book.

2.       THE BOYFRIEND: Leon McKenna was a POINTLESS character. They were never really serious, it was as if he just existed to create some unnecessary drama. I didn’t understand their relationship while they were together, I didn’t get the reason for his jealousy because it was mentioned briefly in hindsight and I DEFINITELY DIDN’T UNDERSTAND how he could tell people those things about Hermoine. REALLY?

I could never say this was a bad book – it’s a good story that handles a very important topic.

I could never not recommend this book – we should all be reading these books to understand and grow as human beings. So pick up Exit, Pursued by a Bear, or pick up Patty Blount’s Some Boys or Louise O’Neill’s Asking for It – they deserve to be read. The characters are fictional but their stories happen every day to boys and girl around the world.

Go read this book. It deserves to be read. These stories need to be heard. 
E.K. JohnstonE.K. Johnston had several jobs and one vocation before she became a published writer. If she’s learned anything, it’s that things turn out weird sometimes, and there’s not a lot you can do about it. Well, that and how to muscle through awkward fanfic because it’s about a pairing she likes. You can follow Kate on Twitter (@ek_johnston) to learn more about Alderaanian political theory than you really need to know, or on Tumblr (ekjohnston) if you're just here for pretty pictures.
What are some of the best book you've read that handle rape or sexual abuse? I'm always looking for more books that take it on well and I'd love your recommendations!
Have you read any other of E.K. Johnston's books? What did you think of them. 
I can't wait to hear from you!

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