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Exit, pursued by a bear
2016
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Summary
Veronica Mars meets William Shakespeare in E.K. Johnston's latest brave and unforgettable heroine .

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 marks the beginning of the end of...she's not sure what. She does know 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.

"E.K. Johnston has a seemingly limitless range.... This is realistic fiction at it's best." --The Globe & Mail  

★ "Johnston's clever--but never precious--update of Shakespeare's  The Winter's Tale  is unflinching but not at all graphic in its treatment of sexual violence.... Middle and high school readers will pass this powerful, engaging story around and around." -- Kirkus Reviews,  starred review

★ "Fierce and gorgeously drawn, this is a rape story that doesn't focus on victimhood." -- Booklist,  starred review

★  " A beautifully written portrait of a young woman facing the unthinkable, this is a must-buy for high school collections." -- SLJ ,  starred review
Trade Reviews
School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-Palermo Heights is known for two things. One, its phenomenal cheerleading team, and two, a supposed streak every year that sees one student die and one student get pregnant. As team captain, Hermione Winters is determined to see that tradition broken. Yet after a sexual assault takes place at camp, she is forced to reconcile her goals with her new reality and decide what course her life will take. Competitive cheerleading provides a unique and compelling backdrop to this take on Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale. There are no caricatures, only well-drawn, strong female protagonists and caring but believably flawed adults. The repercussions that the incident have on her relationships are realistic but occasionally seem to provide a best-case scenario to how people interact with victims of rape. Most notably, the friendship between the main character and her fierce best friend is a constant source of strength and humor. Hermione's story traces her reactions to a sexual assault in a nuanced fashion that confronts the horror but doesn't dwell in its shadow. Throughout the book, the setting in a tiny Canadian town and the protagonist's hyper focus and dedication to her sport lend realism to the text. VERDICT A beautifully written portrait of a young woman facing the unthinkable, this is a must-buy for high school collections.-Erinn Black Salge, Saint Peter's Prep, Jersey City, NJ © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Palermo Heights High School is cursed: in every graduating class, one student gets pregnant and another dies. Hermione Winters' rising senior class has already had their death a girl killed by a drunk driver years earlier but so far, no pregnancy. For Hermione, though, this is simply the last year she will spend as one of her school's elite cheerleaders (Kodiaks, like the bear). But at end-of-summer cheerleading camp, Hermione is drugged, raped, and impregnated. There's plenty of fallout: rumors abound at school, and her boyfriend thinks she was asking for it, though her friend Polly stands by her. Meanwhile, a police detective's career is made, and, somewhere, a boy has gotten away with it. But all Hermione wants is just to live her life. This takes many of its cues (and its title) from Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, but about halfway through, this Hermione's tale takes a much different turn. Fierce and gorgeously drawn, this is a rape story that doesn't focus on victimhood: Hermione suffers and abortion is portrayed frankly, but ultimately this is a story of friendship, growing up, and a girl who, despite trauma, has plenty of life left. Hermione pursues normalcy, adamant that she is not a warning, not a statue, not something to be whispered about. Just a girl. And, maybe, a bear.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2016 Booklist
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