I picked up the book, Beartown by Fredrik Backman, from the new book carousel at the Jefferson Carnegie Library because I loved the cover. I liked that book so much, I was quick to grab up Us Against You from the same rack when I saw it. Both these books take place somewhere in Europe where there is always darkness and cold, and the small town’s only form of entertainment seems to be high school hockey. Beartown is definitely a HOCKEY TOWN.
Us Against You is a continuation of the dramatic story and events that take place in Beartown, so if you decide to read this book, read Beartown first. Both books are very heavy and dramatic. If you are looking for a fun book with laughs – you won’t find that here. These books are about human life, disappointments, and life-changing events that could happen to anyone.
In Beartown, all the hopes and dreams of the town rest on the high school boys as they make their way to the national semi-finals. Readers said “Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain.” “Must be experienced yourself! — gorgeous insightful prose!!” The events leave no resident unaffected.
After all the townspeople went through in Beartown, they get another shock in this book, Us Against You. The small-town hockey team is going to be disbanded! Most of the former Beartown players have gone to a rival team in a nearby town. They look on in satisfaction as their old team is being dissolved. The hockey coach who took the team all the way to the semi-finals in the previous year, Peter Andersson, has been fired. But fortune once again strikes Beartown as a newcomer is named as the Beartown coach. He is able to pull a few off-beat players to the team and is making them into a real competitor against Hed.
Like Beartown, events again tear the town and Hed apart. As the teams get closer to the final game, the pranks played against each other turn deadly for this group of teenagers. People in both towns wonder if the game they love can ever turn back to something simple and pure – something that just brings pleasure to adults and children alike.
One review described the story as “Now it’s Bear v. Bull: Beartown v. Hed. And Beartown hearts, as well as ours, have been torn apart. Us Against You.” Another said, “Us Against You made me feel a myriad of emotions. It made me anxious – nerve endings completely raw, scared and just a complete sobbing mess, many times over. Fredrik Backman makes you feel that. PLEASE give us a third book of equal power and humility.” And one more: “Us Against You is a sequel with heart and it stole mine immediately. I look forward to it grabbing yours in exactly the same way.”
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