cover image Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

E.K. Johnston. Dutton, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-101-99458-0

Johnston (A Thousand Nights) draws from Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale," and perhaps as much from too-common present-day headlines, in the fearless story of a 17-year-old Ontario cheerleader getting a sense of her new normal after being drugged and raped at cheer camp. While Hermione's lack of specific memories of the assault offer a kind of protection, triggers surface (the smell of pine, the bass line of a song), and there's the awful reality that any of the six male members of her own team could have been involved. Hermione's relationship with her boyfriend collapses, and a pregnancy test comes back positive, but friends like her co-captain, Molly, are beyond steadfast%E2%80%94Johnston makes it abundantly clear what assets Hermione has in her own physical and mental discipline, as well as in the bedrock unity of her team. While Hermione is a victim, Johnson never portrays her as victimized, instead focusing on how Hermione reasserts control over her life with help from family, friends, and therapy, using her own decisions to push back against something in which she had no such choice. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. Agent: Josh Adams, Adams Literary. (Mar.)