Finished March 29
Exit, Pursued By a Bear by E.K. Johnston
This teen novel is set around a cheerleader, Hermione Winters. Hermione lives with her parents in the town of Palermo in southern Ontario. She is the co-leader of her school's cheerleading squad, along with her best friend Polly. Every year, at the end of summer, cheerleading teams from around the province converge at Camp Manitouwabing, near Parry Sound, for training. This year, Hermione and Polly are seniors, so this is their last year at camp, and they mean to make it special. Hermione has a relatively new boyfriend Leo, who is also a part of their cheerleading squad, and who seems to be expecting more from these two weeks than Hermione is willing to give. Her focus is on the training. She means to take full advantage of the time at camp.
Half of the female members of the squad are booked to share a cabin with girls from St. Ignatius, a Mississauga school, Hermione among them. Polly and the rest of the girls share a cabin with girls from another school. Hermione really respects their coach Caledon, a hard-working single mother who has brought her ten-year-old daughter Florry along. Hermione and the other girls find that the St. Ignatius girls, led by Amy, are friendly and respectful, and the two groups settle into a routine quickly. The camp experience goes well, and Hermione is feeling good about the future, but on their last night at camp, at the closing party, someone spikes her drink, and things change completely.
Hermione has a new label that she doesn't want: the raped girl. And she must work her way through the ramifications of what happened to her, with her friend Polly beside her, and the support of her parents. As she faces down those who would label her and moves forward with her life, her support system of friends, family, and professionals, help her face her attack, her gradually recovering memories of that night, and move forward with strength.
I've read a few books about teen rape situations, and this is definitely the most positive one of them. The support system here is what really makes a difference, helping Hermione through the difficult times and being there as she makes decisions about her future. I also learned a lot about the sport of cheerleading.