Can a broken town survive a second tragedy? The follow-up to the international bestseller Beartown, from #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author Fredrik Backman.
After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they hear that their beloved local junior hockey team will soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in Hed, take in that fact. As the tension between the two towns simmers, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to try to save the Beartown club.
Soon a new team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you’ll ever see; Benji, the intense lone wolf; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker. But bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the enmity with Hed grows more and more heated.
As the big game between Beartown and Hed approaches, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities pile up and their mutual contempt grows deeper. By the time the last game is finally played, a resident of Beartown will be dead, and the people of both towns will be forced to wonder if, after all they’ve been through, the game they love can ever return to something simple and innocent.
Us Against You is a declaration of love for all the big and small, bright and dark stories that form and color our communities. Compelling and heartbreaking, it’s a roller-coaster ride of emotions and a showcase for “Fredrik Backman’s pitch-perfect dialogue and unparalleled understanding of human nature” (Shelf Awareness).
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Us Against You reaffirms Swedish novelist Fredrik Backman’s place as one of contemporary fiction’s most consistently interesting and insightful voices. The sequel to 2017’s Beartown—which introduced us to Backman's quirky, hockey-obsessed community—is a joy from start to finish. This time, Beartown’s club verges on collapse, setting off a chain reaction of rivalries, hijinks, failures, and soul-searching. It’s a delightful, slyly funny story that makes you care about what happens on the ice rink more than you probably thought possible.
Backman (A Man Called Ove) returns to the hockey-obsessed village of his previous novel Beartown to chronicle the passion, violence, resilience, and humanity of the people who live there in this engrossing tale of small-town Swedish life. As a new hockey season approaches, the Beartown team is in a precarious situation. The village was rocked after a junior team member was convicted of rape the previous spring, and the hockey club is in danger of being liquidated. General manager Peter Andersson is under intense scrutiny particularly from one aggressive group of fans who call themselves "The Pack" and enters into a questionable agreement with slippery local politician Richard Theo in order to save the team. When an unconventional new coach arrives, Beartown's hopes fall on the shoulders of four untested (and possibly unreliable) teenagers. As tension between Beartown and its rival town, Hed, comes to a boiling point over hockey, jobs, and political squabbles, each member of the community confronts the same questions: "what would you do for your family? What wouldn't you do?" Narrated by a collective "we," Backman's excellent novel has an atmosphere of both Scandinavian folktale and Greek tragedy. Darkness and grit exist alongside tenderness and levity, creating a blunt realism that brings the setting's small-town atmosphere to vivid life.