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Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Review

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR is written by E.K. Johnston, author of the YA novel A THOUSAND NIGHTS. This novel is about Hermione Winters, the captain of the cheerleading squad at Palermo Heights. Cheerleading is the big spectator sport at Palermo Heights. Everyone watches and supports the cheerleaders while they compete in numerous competitions. The book starts out at cheerleading camp, where Hermione is drugged and sexually assaulted. In the book, we deal with both the aftermath and the prelude to this experience. The narrative is primarily in the main character’s head and is very focused on emotions and thoughts.

"I really loved the characters in the story because they were flawed and real...Although it was short, it was paced really well --- there was never a slow moment."

I really loved the characters in the story because they were flawed and real. I didn’t feel like they were too perfect in any way. The secondary characters were great as well and even added humor that is rare but necessary in a book with such a heavy topic. The small-town Canadian setting was very refreshing, and the fact that it included so many real world issues just added to its diversity. The friendships and relationships between some of the characters were so supportive and ones everyone should aim for. Hermione stays strong as she goes through unimaginable things and was highly admirable throughout everything. I do wish the book had been a little longer and had a bit more closure in the end. I was able to read this very quickly, though I wish I had been able to sit down and read it all at once. I think Johnston did a fantastic job approaching taboo and controversial topics in this novel. The strongest part of EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR --- in my opinion --- is the characters and their resilience, loyalty and imperfection.

This is definitely more mature YA novel but it was a quick read because I desperately wanted to know what would happen. Although it was short, it was paced really well --- there was never a slow moment. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a unique read that discusses heavy topics but somehow makes them approachable at the same time. I would also recommend that you go into reading this not knowing much, as it is definitely to experience the twists and turns firsthand.

Reviewed by Grace P., Teen Board Member on March 11, 2016

Exit, Pursued by a Bear
by E. K. Johnston