Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

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

How I Heard About It:  I had the privilege of spending the other day with Donalyn Miller.  She was in town for some workshops she was presenting at.  We spent the afternoon visiting some of the local book stores.  While browsing, we talked about books we had and hadn't read.  This title came up and she mentioned she read it and really liked it.  I downloaded the audio version and listened to the story the last couple of days while I was setting up my classroom.  

What It Is About:  Hermione is not only excited about being a senior in high school, but that she is going to be captain of the cheer leading team.  This is a BIG deal at her school.  The cheer squad is like their own sports team.  The group of girls and guys on the squad head to the annual camp where they practice and perform to get ready for the school year.  This annual tradition has lots of routines and rituals.  Hermione can't wait to experience it as a senior team captain.  One night during a "party", someone slips something into Hermione's drink and the rest of the night is a complete blank.  When she is found by her friends, they all know something horrible has happened.  After being taken to the hospital and questioned by police, they confirm the worst.  Hermione and her parents try to deal with this horrific event as best they can.  Hermione is lucky to have a best friend that stands by her side the entire time.  Not all of her "friends" do this and begin to spread some awful humors about her and what happened that night at camp.  While in therapy and revisiting the camp, the memories of that night come back to Hermione and her life will forever be changed.  

What I Thought Of It:  I'm still a bit confused on the title of the book, but the story was completely engaging.  I probably didn't get as much done in my classroom because I found myself either sitting or moving toward the speaker to listen to it more intently.  Hermione's story was one of heartache, pain, and suffering.  Even with these difficult themes, the author always had an underlying sense of hope.  I was impressed that the "attack" on Hermione wasn't exploited and the recovery and journey were more of the focus.  The support system that she had was amazing and E.K. Johnston did a wonderful job of creating each of them.  

Who Should Read It:  Because of the subject matter in this novel I would say the reader should definitely be in tenth grade or above.  There are some difficult moments in the story and I would want to make sure that the young-adult reader was mature enough to handle it.  The novel would also make  for a compelling read for the adult reader.  

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars

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