US AGAINST YOU – Fredrik Backman

“People we love will die.  We will bury our children beneath our most beautiful trees.”

“On the hilltop stand two girls, watching the car disappear.  They’ll soon be sixteen. One of them is holding a guitar, the other a rifle.”

Fredrik Backman is easily one of my top five contemporary authors.  The following is quote from my review of Beartown.

“I’ve said before that Backman is a “heartbeat author” and that “his books are hugs, eyelash kisses, and belly laughs.” But he’s also a “heartbreak author” and his books, especially Beartown, are tinged with anger, grief, and despair.  His characters and communities are so perfectly imperfect, and his storytelling style, the love and humor and warmth, is what makes a book about a rape in hockey town so fantastic.”

Backman takes us back to Beartown in Us Against You (Atria 2018, English translation by Neil Smith. Originally published in Sweden by Bokforlaget Forum 2017), and the town is still reeling from the events that left it in ruins.  Before the town can rise, it must fall even further.  What unfolds is a violent, fiery and bloody story of resilience, family, loyalty and loss:  Beartown Against the Rest.

With Beartown on the cusp of losing its hockey club, a politician gets involved – using the town and their love of the sport as pawns on his chessboard.  The A-team is young and scrappy, but full of heart. They’re also backed by the dangerous but loyal Pack – the very group of “hooligans” whose presence the GM has been instructed to remove from the game. With a female coach, a goalie with a criminal record and an intensity that leans into violence, and a captain whose damaging secret has been revealed to the town – maybe, just maybe, they can beat Hed.

Hearts and noses will break, friendships will be tested, families will falter, and tears will fall.  Beartown didn’t need to be a trilogy, but I’m so glad it is; I’m not ready to be done with this town.  The final installment will be released later this month, and I just hope my heart heals before then so Backman can break it again.

Read this book.

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