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Exit, Pursued by a Bear

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  10,623 ratings  ·  2,123 reviews
“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 c
Hardcover, 243 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
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Heather Babcock Hermione is also the name of the king's wife in "A Winter's Tale". She is unjustly accused of cheating on her husband and giving birth to a bastard.
Continental Drifter Not all Canadians, let me tell you. And this book got published by an American publisher so there are, I think, a lot of Americans who get it. Honestl…moreNot all Canadians, let me tell you. And this book got published by an American publisher so there are, I think, a lot of Americans who get it. Honestly, I think the root of the difference lies in national mythology. We Canadians think of government as us, that is, we are the government and the government is for us. In investing in a government that provides health care for everyone, that funds decent schools and heavily subsidizes university so that it's affordable for most families, we build a society that is more empathic, and more cohesive. Also, we have fewer illusions about the "self-made man" than Americans. Nobody is self-made. Nobody can take credit for their genes and parents, social class and community. And even people who defied the odds of bad parents, low social class, and unsupportive (or even hostile) community, can't take credit for a genome which made them able-bodied and mentally normative (usually). Countries like Canada, and to an even greater extent, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway and Sweden, invest in ordinary people as a matter of policy. Individuals know that they aren't totally screwed when they face bad luck or make, and regret, bad decisions.

Social stability like that breeds secular, progressive attitudes that reject patriarchal mores that cause victim-blaming and slut-shaming. Things like abortion are seen as necessary medical procedures and are fully covered by government health care because we trust the women seeking them as having the capability to decide that it's necessary for them (and while abortion is legal throughout a pregnancy, its easy and no-cost availability ensures that the vast majority of abortions happen in the first trimester). And while Hermione's experience is at the positive end of the spectrum (for someone who's been raped) even here in Canada, most Canadians, including the vast majority of teachers, doctors and therapists reflect something close to the ideal that we see in the book. Cops, and the justice system I think still have a ways to go to get to that level, but in many cities, there are serious efforts being made to educate the law enforcement and justice employees about rape culture and its pervasive impact on society.

We're not perfect, so don't put us on a pedestal. But E.K. Johnston has written a great book that gives I think the best model of how the family, friends and community of a rape victim should behave (believe her, support her, give her what she actually needs, trust her decisions and let her heal in whatever way she needs to, because there's no wrong way). This should be required reading in high schools throughout the world; it is truly phenomenal.(less)

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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  10,623 ratings  ·  2,123 reviews

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Emily May
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
“I’m not going to quit, Florry.” I look up and see that Polly has turned around again, and that Caledon is looking at me in the mirror. “I am not going to quit.”

I think some people will have issues with this book. I get that. I really do. But I also think the ultimate strength of Exit, Pursued by a Bear is that it is not a typical story about a girl who gets raped and is consumed by it. Those stories absolutely matter and they are oh so very important, but there are many different experience
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
There is something just so undeniably beautiful about Exit, Pursued by a Bear aside from the accomplished writing and powerful subject matter. I could not put this down from start to finish.

Hermione Winters is co-captain of her high school cheerleading team. She is beautiful, popular, and excited to start her last year of cheer camp. It was quite contagious because even I was excited for her, yet I knew what was to come. One night everything changes when someone slips something into her drink.
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Dec 08, 2016 rated it did not like it

So Exit, Pursued by a Bear is a short book about a senior co-captain of her school's cheerleading squad, and how she deals with the aftermath of being sexually assaulted at a summer camp.

I don't know what I really expected from this one, but it wasn't this. I was not even KIND OF compelled to keep reading this, but it was just so short, so I finished it if only to keep from adding another book to my DNF shelf. I just don't understand the point it's trying to make, I guess. There was no deeper
Elle (ellexamines)
I don't know what it is about this book that makes it so fucking heartbreaking. I don't know why it was so powerful or why it sat so right with me, why it left me crying at 12:30 am after I'd read the whole thing in one sitting. But holy god, if I didn't love it.

What's important about this book, to me, is the emphasis on friendship between women as a process for healing. As you'll probably know from the blurb, this book focuses around sexual assault. But it is a very different narrative from so
Charlotte May
Finally a 5 star book in 2020. And what a book it was!!

Hermione Winters is about to enter her final year of high school, before that though her final Summer at cheer camp. Along with her best friend, fellow co-captain Polly; Hermione is determined for this to be their best year yet.

However her entire world is rocked when her drink is spiked, she is raped and left unconscious in the lake. When she is found she has no memory of the attack - no idea who it could have been and the lake washed away
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

I wasn't sure I was going to read this book because it is about rape and I tend to be careful reading those kinds of books for personal reasons. I mean I can skim over them if they are too explicit. BUT this book is so freaking awesome! I know that sounds weird about a book where the girl gets raped but there is so much more to this book than meets the eye.

I'm guess I'm going to add some SPOILERS if you want to call them that because I'm not going to tell you who did it or anything like that. I
Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
An interesting take on the rape survivor's story. I liked some things and I really didn't like some things so I'm on the fence about the rating. Video review to come!
C.G. Drews
I expected this one to be a really confronting and hard-hitting story. It tackles the devastating topic of rape really respectfully I feel, just a lot of emotions??? So much. Although I was surprised at how mellow the story felt overall? It wasn't just a breakdown, it was a rebuilding (which is good I think!). But I'm sure if it's because I read it over several days when I usually read books waaaay faster, but I felt a bit detached and was kind of expecting the characters to be more dy ...more
Initial reaction: I am most definitely in the minority of opinions surrounding this book. Having said that, "Exit, Pursued by a Bear" definitely has its heart in the right place and I think had the intention of being an inspiring read with a protagonist who, in the aftermath of her rape, faces life with much conviction and purpose to not allow the experience to define her or what she wants. That's awesome, I have no contention to that since every person's experience with coping with the aftermat ...more
Lala BooksandLala
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: hard-hitting
If I am COMPARING this to other young adult novels that deal with rape, yes, I definitely concur with the general population that this is a 4 or 5 star read. It is an important story and by showing a contrasting reaction made by the main character and her peers compared to other books of this genre, it evokes a different reader reaction as well.

However, rating it as a story on its own, I was not a huge fan. You must admit, we've all read an averagely written book but that we gave a high rating b
Summer (buttermybooks)
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever read a book that was so beautifully put together and perfect that you find yourself thinking about it for days after you’ve finished? That was me with Exit, Pursued By a Bear.

Starting this book, I don’t think I knew just how profoundly it would impact me. Immediately after I began reading; I felt this impending sort of doom. Everything in Hermione’s life was a little too normal. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. After about 50 pages, that shoe not only dropped but it broug
✨    jamieson   ✨

Exit, Pursued by A Bear is a book recommended to me quite a bit, and I've just seen a lot of hype for it out and about. I decided to read it for TheReadingQuest as my buddy read challenge.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: before I get into anything, the book has the following triggers which will be discussed in this review: rape, sexual assault, alcohol spiking/drugging, alcohol use, abortion & discussions around abortion

Exit, Pursued by a Bear primarily deals with the rape of a girl call
A finished unsolicited copy was provided by the publisher for review.

I heard about this one from a couple of bloggers. They were raving about it. And then when I attended Indigo's Summer Preview event, one of the hosts raved about how much they enjoyed it too. It's not a fluff book at all because it deals with rape. The one thing I remember her saying was how much she liked how the teenage girl handled it. And after finishing it, I completely agreed.

I know this is a highly unrealistic portrayal
I really, really liked this. For one thing, I've been looking for a cheerleading YA, so A+ for that. For another, I think it's really, really important to show different kinds of post-sexual-assault narratives, and one this full of positive support is one we really haven't had, especially with an abortion at its center. Hermione, too, is a different kind of heroine, and I think that's equally important - the more narratives and personalities we have, the more we dispel the myth that there's a "r ...more
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that could easily be read in a day. I don't know why I waited so long to really get into this!

I'm so glad that books like this exist for ALL girls/women! They need to see how people should treat sexual assault victims!
Cristina Monica
‘‘It’s cheer camp. What’s the worst that could happen?’’


E.K. Johnston, I thank you for writing Exit, Pursued by a Bear. I am genuinely pleased by its publication, because this is a book that needs to be read. Contrary to many stories broaching the subject of abuse, Johnston’s novel focuses less on the hurting – the ugly part – and more on the convalescence.

Every summer, cheerleader Hermione Winters and her team spend two weeks at camp Manitouwabing. They train, they che
Aj the Ravenous Reader
“People will say you’re coping wrong, but really there’s no wrong way. Anything that lets you keep going is the right thing, as long as it’s not damaging. You need to find the way that works for you.”

Exit, Pursued by a Bear is a very unique read. From its title alone, you couldn’t help but be attracted to the book. But more importantly, the story gives the reader a refreshing look and perspective about being victimized because the story is mainly about Hermione, a supposed victim who refuse
Katie McNelly
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Exit, Pursued by a Bear, the newest novel from EK Johnston, is a compelling, brief, yet overall captivating read. I couldn't put it down, and was Snapchatting many of my students to tell them how eager I was for them to read it. However, ultimately, this story exists in a dream world, and lacks any meaningful depth.

For immediate starters: yes, I was bothered immensely by the main character's name. Thank the stars this was told in first person, so I had to interact with it as infrequently as poss
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
You may not believe this, but I found this book very refreshing. Yes. A book about rape. Refreshing.

Because this was a book about a girl. An athlete. The co-captain of a championship winning cheerleading squad (and if you don't believe that makes her an athlete, you have clearly never seen competitive cheerleading. That @#$% is hardcore). This is a girl from a loving family, with friends and teachers who care about her, a boyfriend, a minister, a NORMAL LIFE. Hermione Winters isn't a good girl
Katherine Locke
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was provided an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Receiving the book did not influence my opinion of the book.

This was stunning. I picked it up thinking I'd read just a few pages and became so instantly engrossed, I forgot my sink faucet was running and my tea went cold. I finished it tonight. Spoiler alert: I couldn't put it down. Literally, couldn't put it down. My tea, which was right next to me, went cold again because I forgot about it.

Hermione's vulnerable without
Krista Regester
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of the best things about Exit, Pursued by a Bear is how it kills stereotypes and breaks through walls. The book is centered on a sexual assault and the repercussions of such. Something that really made this book so strong is the amazing support system that Hermione Winters had. Usually this isn’t the case, but it showed how someone could strive past this situation with the proper help and guidance.

I think the author did an extremely good job capturing the thought process of Hermione and wri
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I keep my eyes closed and my sleeping bag under my chin. Will I ever have it this good again? I will wake up somewhere new this time next year. I have only a few more mornings in this world, in this world that loves me for what I love and for what I am good at. One more minute. One more.

Hermione Winters makes this observation on the inevitable life changes that are ahead for her, but for the reader, knowing what is coming, the words are especially poignant. During a dance held at the end of the
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
"Maybe this would be easier if I acted like I am broken. Then they'll be able to fix me. You can't fix something that doesn't know it's broken."

Trigger warning: Rape.

Every summer, Hermione Winters spends two weeks at camp Manitouwabing, cheer camp. Considering this is her last year there, she intends to make the most of it. At a party there a boy spikes her drink and then rapes her. And she remembers nothing.

Unlike other books that deal with similar subject matter, this one focuses complete
Maria (Big City Bookworm)

“I’ve never met any of these women before, and I will never see any of them after today. I don’t know their names and they don’t know mine. I’ve been on teams and in clubs my whole life, surrounded by people who are united by a common purpose, and I have never felt anything like this. Maybe it’s the gas, but until this moment, I have never felt such a kinship with a person who was not actually family. I love every person in this room, and I’m pretty sure that if they asked, I’d do anything for t
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
this book was fucking amazing
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book is in no way, at all, by ANY means, similar to Veronica Mars or William Shakespeare.

To the person who wrote this book description, did you even read this book?


I was really hoping this book was going to be like open-heart surgery: a precise slice between 2 to 4 inches, an intricate unweaving of my measly little “feeling” strings and an eventual severe, yet purposeful, yanking on my heart like it was a sled delivering presents on Christmas eve.


I didn’t feel much at all.

I h
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
A brilliant bubbly cheerleader is drugged and raped at camp and has to deal with that going forward.

Hermione Winter is the co-captain of her school's cheerleader squad. It's a small school and cheerleading is the premium sport there. In fact, they're most likely going to be competing at the Canadian Nationals for the sport this year. Most of her friends are in the team, including her best friend and co-captain Polly. So at the beginning of the year, at cheerleading camp, it's pretty devastating
Stefani Sloma
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I won’t lie – I was first attracted to this book by its title. “Exit, pursued by a bear” is my favorite stage direction EVER, and I was so excited about a book with that title. And then I read it, and WOAH.

EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR is so important. The best part of this book, in my opinion, is that it shows a different way to react to, cope with, and live after a sexual assault. There are a lot of different ways to deal with something like this, and it’s good that we’ve got a book here that shows
Sophie "Beware Of The Reader"
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
4 fighting to live stars

 photo 47f5b983-0b3a-48f4-90dc-08e81cc4c771_zpsrf3h6m9s.jpg

This story is not a story of rape, even if said rape happened and serves as a trigger. It’s a story about fighting to live, not survive but live your life fully. No matter what fate throws your way, no matter what people think and say about you.

Hermione has been raped the last day of her cheerleading summer camp. She’ll wake up in the hospital with no recollection of what happened to her. He best friend Polly (I love that formidable girl) always stayed by her side as
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E.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

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“If you think I'm going to apologize for being drugged and raped, you have another thing coming.” 23 likes
“And if someone does figure it out and starts a rumour, we'll just deal with it," Polly says. "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, and all that crap."
"Do you ever dream of the day when your life can no longer be adequately summarized by Kelly Clarkson songs?" I ask.
"All the time," Polly says.”
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