Exit, Pursued by a Bear, by E.K. Johnston
So very many girls who deal with sexual assault and its aftermath have to process and heal while also dealing with so, so many other things—not being believed, poverty, strife at home, any number of -isms—and they have to do those things on their own. Hermione’s huge support network—from her high school guidance counselor to her private therapist to her best friend to her teammates to her coach to the minister at her church—allows Johnston to focus almost entirely on Hermione’s arc of healing. Which gives Hermione—even though she is dealing with a very serious trauma—an enormous amount of privilege.
Along those lines, in dealing with a horrible act of violence, Hermione’s path has far less concrete obstacles than many: American readers from some states may be especially surprised by the relatively quiet abortion scene, for example. But, in a way, this book reads like a version of This Is How Things Should Go When Crimes Are Committed, rather than a picture of how they actually play out in the current day. And you know what? There can actually be a strange comfort in thinking about the way Things Should Be. I can only speak for myself, but reading this book at a specific time in my life would have been a comfort.