Now an HBO Original Series
“You’ll love this engrossing novel.” —People
Named a Best Book of the Year by LibraryReads, BookBrowse, and Goodreads
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anxious People, a dazzling and profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.
By the lake in Beartown is an old ice rink, and in that ice rink Kevin, Amat, Benji, and the rest of the town’s junior ice hockey team are about to compete in the national semi-finals—and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
Under that heavy burden, the match becomes the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown.
This is a story about a town and a game, but even more about loyalty, commitment, and the responsibilities of friendship; the people we disappoint even though we love them; and the decisions we make every day that come to define us. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Beartown is the kind of chatty, enveloping novel that swallows you whole. Swedish writer Fredrik Backman—author of the 2012 breakout hit A Man Called Ove—is back with the tale of a hockey-obsessed small town simmering with secrets. Backman wields the same charm evident in his previous books, but this time around he's married his signature amiability to a creeping, very Scandinavian kind of darkness. The combustible result elevates the work of this exceptional storyteller to a whole new level.
The bestselling author of A Man Called Ove tells a poignant story of a hockey town paralyzed by scandal. Jobs are disappearing and Beartown is slowly dying, so for its citizens, hockey is everything. Backman asks, "Why does everyone care about hockey? Because hockey tells stories." This is the story not just of hockey, but of a 15-year-old named Maya Andersson, whose father, Peter, the general manager of the hockey club, loves hockey, but loves his family more. Seventeen-year-old Kevin Erdahl is the star of Beartown, with a chance to go professional. One night, after a huge win, Maya goes to a raucous party at Kevin's house and is thrilled at his attention, but things get out of hand, and what takes place changes Beartown forever. Lest readers think hockey is the star here, it's Backman's rich characters that steal the show, and his deft handling of tragedy and its effects on an insular town. While the story is dark at times, love, sacrifice, and the bonds of friendship and family shine through, ultimately offering hope and even redemption. Backman veers close to the saccharine, but readers may be too spellbound to notice.
Captures the Moment and Inner Spirit of a Town and it’s Residents
My second book of Backman’s (the first being the fantastic A Man Called Ove). The writing is clear, the emotions seem incredibly real and heartfelt. You are transported to a remote place, with people who can’t readily express themselves except for their love of hockey. And then, it turns into something entirely different…
Makes my heart and mind sing
The character development and the way he links the scenes are just amazing.
An impactful story
I loved this book. The subject matter was tough and be writing was engaging. I loved a lot of characters and hated a lot of characters. I loved Maya and Ana’s friendship. Maya’s mom was amazing. I truly felt for that entire family. I really showed how favoritism, neglect, a “pack mindset” and power can really corrupt children and adults. I loved everyone who stood up for what was right. The ending was upsetting and sadly realistic. It’s just proof that we as adults have to be better so our kids can be too.