Us Against You
Author: Fredrik Backman
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre/Themes/Demo: Fiction, Contemporary
Release Date: June 5th 2018 (first published August 21st 2017)
Page Count: 448
Format: ARC via the Publisher
*Disclaimer: An e-ARC of Us Against You by Fredrik Backman was provided to me by Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.
After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they hear that their beloved local 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. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown’s new hockey coach. 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 acute. As the big match 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.
Initial Post Reading Thoughts
I won’t lie. I was cautiously optimistic going into this one because I LOVED Beartown so much. I’m so happy that this sequel was just as beautiful and heartbreaking as the first novel.
*CAUTION* There are some minor spoilers regarding Beartown within this review.
What I Liked
First, let me tell you how excited I was to receive an ARC of Us Against You by Fredrik Backman. Beartown was probably my favourite book of last year, so the second I heard that there was going to be a sequel, I lost my damn mind. At first I was beyond excited…but then I started to become more cautiously optimistic. I loved Beartown so much and I didn’t want a sequel that was going to take anything away from my experience with the first novel. I didn’t know if this story was going to continue where we left off or tell a completely different story, but I was hesitant to become too overly excited. Let me tell you, I was blown away once again.
The characters. Beartown was a very character driven story and Us Against You was no different. My personal reading tastes tend to gravitate towards character driven stories, and this series has been no exception. Us Against You lets the reader learn more about characters that we didn’t get to see much of in Beartown. Side characters now become main characters which provided a fresh look on this small Swedish hockey town and the people that live there.
The change of focus. As mentioned above, the characters were all the same (with a few new introductions) from Beartown, but the focus changed on which characters were more prominent this time around. Not only was there a change of focus on the characters, but there was also a change of focus on the storyline. Beartown dealt with the rape of a young teenaged girl by the star of the local hockey team. Us Against You focuses more on the aftermath of the rape and the effect it had on the town, as well as the coming of age and coming out story of Benji, an enigmatic enforcer on the Beartown hockey team. Benjoy was one of my favourite characters from Beartown, even though he had a minor role, so I was beyond excited to read more about him in Us Against You. We also get to meet new characters including a surprising new coach and a troubled young goalie which made Us Against You feel like an entirely new story even though it picks up right where Beartown left off.
The writing. These books contain some of the most beautiful writing I have ever read. Fredrik Backman has a very deep and profound way of thinking and writing and I’m absolutely in love with his writing style. I’m planning on reading the rest of his work as soon as possible.
The emotions. I’m not a very emotional person and it takes a lot for me to laugh or cry out loud, or at all, while reading a novel, and I’ll tell you right now that both Beartown and Us Against You made me feel all of the emotions. I actually let some tears fall towards the end of Us Against You, and that’s really saying something.
What I Didn’t Like
I literally loved everything and I’m so happy about it. This is going to be one of those series that I will never forget for as long as I’m alive. They are some of the best books I have ever read and I recommend everyone give these a read.
Overall, READ BEARTOWN & US AGAINST YOU.
About The Author
redrik Backman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, and Beartown, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. His books are being published around the world in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife and two children. His new novel, Us Against You, will be published on June 5, 2018.
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Thank you for reading!