“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 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.
Heartbreaking and empowering, Exit, Pursued by a Bear is the story of transcendent friendship in the face of trauma. @goodreads
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 just want to add some excerpts and talk a little bit about the people in the book so it might be considered "MILD SPOILERS"
Hermione is a sweet girl who is a co-captain of a cheerleading team. Polly, her best friend, is the other captain. They all go to camp where they practice with other schools they will eventually go up against. Hermione and Polly have a couple of new guys on the team they have to teach and Hermione's boyfriend is on the team as well. He's sort of... okay, he's a douche!
They are having grueling days of training and are allowed a couple of days here and there for fun. They have a little dance one night before they all start heading home from camp. This dance was supposed to be fun and it is until the jerk that slipped the drug into Hermione's drink.
"Polly," I say. And then I can't stop saying it, "Polly PollyPollyPollyPolly," I'm near hysteria, I can feel it. I'm going to scream and scream and scream, to make up for the screaming I didn't do last night. I am going to pull my skin off and grind it into the floor and then I'm going to cry until I've got nothing left.
I don't do any of those things, though, because Polly climbs right into bed with me. She can move so fast. The nurse doesn't even have time to protest. She's on top of the blanket, and her legs are on top of mine, but her arms are around me, keeping me from flying apart, and suddenly I want to die slightly less than I did the moment before.
↑ Polly is a remarkable friend in this book. I wish I had a friend like her. She keeps Hermione grounded throughout the whole book. But Hermione isn't just a girl that gets raped and doesn't remember it. She's a girl that stands up to anyone who tries to make her that girl. She's strong and she has strong people on her side. This is what I loved about this book because if only more people had that in their life, maybe they could stand up to anything. Maybe they could find themselves. Maybe they wouldn't feel so alone and shunned. There is a powerful message from these two young ladies in this book.
I told you Hermione's boyfriend Leo is a douche in the book. He tries to play it off that she was flirting with guys and not paying attention to him enough. Like she deserved what happened to her. Little f*cker! But Hermione can handle it and she has plenty of people to back her up.
"If you think I'm going to apologize for being drugged and raped, you have another thing coming," I say. I am surprised and impressed at how level I manage to keep my voice.
There are so many excerpts I could give in this review. I love so many. This book is just so good damn it. I recommend it to everyone. Okay, I have to do one more because I just... I just have to.
"So let me get this straight," says Polly, her voice deceptively calm. "You're okay with asking a girl who was wearing a pretty dress and had nice hair, who went to the dance with her cabin mates, who drank from the same punch bowl as everyone else--you're okay with asking that girl what mistake she made, and you wouldn't think to ask the boy how he would avoid raping someone?"
That's the million dollar question right?
Hermione gets through this. She does have to make some hard decisions. She has to see a therapist. She starts to remember bits and pieces, nothing major. She makes plans with her friends on which colleges they are picking, she finds herself and just maybe she finds a little bit of true love in the mix, nothing major.
Freaking awesome book people!
AMAZON LINK TO THE BOOK: