Standalone Sunday is a feature created by Megan@bookslayereads  where each Sunday a standalone book (not part of a series) that I loved or would recommend will be featured!

I love that meme as it takes little time to do (I’m always running like the real busy bee I am) AND I get to promote a book I really loved. This is the perfect idea for me!

If you want to play, feel free but don’t forget to tag Megan’s blog.

This week I want to feature a YA novel featuring a very touchy subject: rape and its aftermath. Now the big message in this book is about resilience. It’s not depressing at all. It’s a big lesson.

This week I chose to feature Exit, Pursued by a Bear by A.K. Johnston

4 fighting to live stars

This story is not a story of rape, even if said rape happened and serves as a trigger. It’s a story about fighting to live, not survive but live your life fully. No matter what fate throws your way, no matter what people think and say about you.

Hermione has been raped the last day of her cheerleading summer camp. She’ll wake up in the hospital with no recollection of what happened to her. He best friend Polly (I love that formidable girl) always stayed by her side as her parents were abroad on vacation. Hermione guesses something awful happened to her but she needs her best friend to tell her to make it real.
”I need you to say it, Polly” I whisper… “They found you in the lake.”

From that moment on Hermione could have built walls between her and the outside world. She could have chosen to be frightened all the time and demand to be homeschooled. She could have wailed and become a shelf of herself for what she had to undergo. She would have been entitled to behave in such ways and no one would have blamed her as each victim finds her own way to cope. But that incredible girl, passionate about cheerleading and who should have begun her best highschool year chose to live. Because if she abandoned everything she loved, everything that made her who she is, HE would have won. And that would be unconscionable.
”You’re not going to quit, are you?” “I am not going to quit.” … “If I quit now, or back down just because of the location, I don’t win. And I really, really want to win”

Of course it will be difficult. She’ll have to fight the gossips at school and on social media about what happened to her. Because really it’s her fault what happened to her, right? She was really friendly with the boys or chatted with everyone and should have stayed with her boyfriend or … Unfortunately, these beliefs are not uncommon and show how some people see rape victims and how a small fact can grow and give birth to big rumors.
But Hermione is not a quitter and she has a formidable ally in her battle: her best friend Polly. That girl has balls bigger than most boys and she’ll make others cower, righting Hermione’s world. Soon, every cheerleader on the squad will rally and support her. All that support played a crucial role in her recovery, as well as Hermione’s steel determination. She did not want other people to act differently with her, she wanted to be treated the same, to be seen as something other than “that girl”. She wanted to be seen for who she was, not for what happened to her.
”Please, don’t ask people to pray for me.”

This story broaches a very delicate topic in an unconventional way. The writer focuses everything around Hermione’s recovery and does not wallow in self-pity or pits of despair. The result is an inspiring story, a story of hope for all victims. It also shows that everyone has its own way to cope and if Hermione chose the “detached” way, other would follow different paths to cope and it would be right because no one can tell a victim how she should behave or what she should do.
”For the first time, I feel like a victim without hating myself for it.”
”You’re not acting like a person who was raped. You’re acting like a person whose close friend was raped. At some point, if your memories resurface, you’ll break. That doesn’t make you weak. That’s just how it goes”

Despite this drama, the book is not dreadful, isn’t a “non- stop crying” book but rather an inspiring one. I read it in one sitting as I wanted to know if Hermione would vanquish, if her rapist would be caught but also because I learned so much about cheerleading, a sport I did not imagine was so hard and challenging (European rookie here…).
Convinced? Grab your copy HERE

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