Monday, October 24, 2022

Us Against You (Beartown #2) by Fredrik Backman

Have you ever seen a town fall? Ours did.
Have you ever seen a town rise? Ours did that, too.

A small community tucked deep in the forest, Beartown is home to tough, hardworking people who don’t expect life to be easy or fair. No matter how difficult times get, they’ve always been able to take pride in their local ice hockey team. So it’s a cruel blow when they hear that Beartown ice hockey might 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 the neighboring town of Hed, take in that fact. As the tension mounts between the two adversaries, a newcomer arrives who gives Beartown hockey a surprising new coach and a chance at a comeback.

Soon a team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you’ll ever see; Benji, the intense lone wolf; always dutiful and eager-to-please Bobo; 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 town’s enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.

As the big game approaches, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities pile up and their mutual contempt intensifies. By the time the last goal is scored, a resident of Beartown will be dead, and the people of both towns will be forced to wonder if, after everything, the game they love can ever return to something as simple and innocent as a field of ice, two nets, and two teams. Us against you.

Here is a declaration of love for all the big and small, bright and dark stories that give form and color to our communities. With immense compassion and insight, Fredrik Backman reveals how loyalty, friendship, and kindness can carry a town through its most challenging days.

Paperback, 448 pages
Published March 5th 2019 
by Washington Square Press
3.5/5 stars

Last month I had the awesome opportunity to meet Fredrik Backman, in anticipation of that author event I began this series.  Us Against You is book 2 and continues where Beartown left off.  It felt like going home when I began reading with familiar characters and getting caught up.

While hockey still is an obsession for the towns of Beartown and Hed this book is also about friendship, family and devotion.  There is alot of reminders of what transpired in Beartown, maybe a tad much or it could be that I started reading this as soon as I finished Beartown and all was still fresh in my old brain. But it does work for those who haven't read Beartown.

Fredrik Backman has a unique writing style, poetic at times while being mesmerizing.  As with Beartown Us Against You evoked a range of emotion.  This turned into a combo audio/read. Marin Ireland was the reader for the audio and again she did a stellar job breathing live into this story.

I probably should have done a combo review for this series.  The Winners will be posted next week, even though this book was really good, I enjoyed Beartown a tad more and you will have to wait for my thoughts on The Winners.

This book was part of  my 2022 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge. 

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