Us Against You (Beartown, #2)by Published 05 Jun 2018
|Us Against You (Beartown, #2).pdf|
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.
"Us Against You (Beartown, #2)" Reviews
5 Gut-Wrenching, Sock-it-to Me Stars!
Some of my favorite people, live in one of the most memorable of towns and they wear their hearts on their sleeves. Most however, wear their hearts on their jerseys. Their Hockey Jerseys that is. They used to be all the same. Then something happened. Something bad. And now Beartown and all of its residents are divided. Now it’s Bear v. Bull: Beartown v. Hed. And their hearts, as well as ours have been torn apart. “Us Against You.”
Peter Andersson’s life has been defined by Hockey. Being the GM of the Beartown team is all he knows. Even though he and his family lost almost everything last year, hockey was the one thing he could count on, till now. When he gets a second chance to save his team, Peter is relieved and then anxious, for nothing is as it seems. Politics has invaded Beartown, the Hockey team and Peter’s life. Which one is strong enough to survive?
Beartown is a place where Hockey rules. Always has, always will:
It’s a simple game, if you strip away all of the crap surrounding it and just keep the things that made us love it in the first place. Everyone gets a stick. Two nets. Two Teams. “Us Against You.”
For the last year, twelve year-old Leo Andersson has sat on the sidelines watching his family fall apart. First Maya and now his parents. The time for sitting and watching is over. Now is the time for action.
Maya and Ana are the best of friends. As long as they have each other, they can survive anything.
Beartown Hockey has received a new lease on life. A new coach has taken over, a coach who wants the best players. Players we know and love who have everything it takes to win and who love their town. Benji, Amat, Bobo and Vidar (the new star goalie with a bad temper and a big heart). Benji is now the Captain of the team and is responsible for everyone else. Benji, whose pain is the most palpable. Benji, whose story breaks me in two. Amat is the fastest player on the ice, no one can catch him now, nor will they ever be able to. Bobo loves hockey, but he loves his mother more and is the best son she could ever ask for.
For the last year, I have carried so many of these characters with me. Ramona (owner of the Bearskin Pub), Amat and Benji. My Benji. I just love him. I have wanted and needed to know that he was ok every second of every day, wondering, worrying, waiting. Reading both “Beartown” and “Us Against You,” I have felt Benji’s angst, fear and pain, it seeped in my veins and took over. “Us Against You” made me feel a myriad of emotions. It made me anxious - nerves endings completely raw, scared and sick to my stomach, and just a complete sobbing mess, many times over. Fredrik Backman makes you feel that. Time and again. He makes you feel every single thing his characters are feeling (whether it’s “Ove,” “Britt-Marie” or my Benji). To me, Benji and all of the other characters in this book are real. I consider most of them my friends and in case it’s not obvious, my heart bleeds Bear.
“Us Against You” is the sequel to Fredrik Backman’s “Beartown” which was one of my top two reads of last year, with Backman being my absolute favorite author. In order to get the full background into the characters, I suggest reading that book first. Though this novel started out a little slow, it takes off soon enough and delivers in a way that only Backman can. “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.
A huge thank you to Ariele Friedman at Atria / Simon & Schuster for providing me with an ARC of this novel to read and review. You made my year! Thank you also to NetGalley and the amazing Fredrik Backman. I love your characters Mr. Backman. Benji and Britt-Marie? Well, I hold them both very close to my heart.
Published on Goodreads, Twitter and Instagram on 3.18.18.
*Will be published on Amazon on 6.5.18.
Beartown is a town struggling to survive, left shell shocked and reeling after traumatic events swept through it with the force of a destructive emotional hurricane. We return to the place where hockey is loved with a religious passion, defining the community identity, with returning old and new characters. Any lover of sport will love and relate to this story, and those readers that are not should know that whilst this is ostensibly about hockey, it is in reality a tale of all that it is to be human. This is about people with all their complexities, flaws, ugliness, vulnerabilities, machinations, hatreds, courage, joy and hope. What I can guarantee is that you will be taken through an intense maelstrom of emotions, from the depths of despair, grief, sadness, right through to hope and joy. Beartown simmers with violence just waiting to be unleashed, presenting a challenge and quandries to community and individuals.
Thanks to manipulative political decisionmaking, the nearby town of Hed gains the resources and many of Beartown's hockey players, igniting strong feelings of them and us as a new hockey team is set up in response. An unexpected newcomer is appointed as coach, Elizabeth Zackell, a strong, tough and competent woman. Benji, with his secrets and inner demons gnawing at him, is made Captain, with the team including the gifted Amat and his best friend, Bobo, a grafter, along with the volatile Vidar, a goalkeeper with a ferocious temper. Peter Andersson faces family difficulties, his marriage to Kira is beginning to show its cracks, Maya's suffering continues though is eased to some degree with her strong friendship with Ana, and poor Leo thinks he should have protected his sister. As the rivalries and tensions escalate, danger and heartbreak lies ahead as individuals are tested to their limits.
Fredrik Backman writes a profoundly moving, multi-layered novel which will appeal to fans of any sport and to those drawn to the dynamics of a small town fighting to stay alive, where everyone knows everyone and their history. Beartown harbours secrets, prejudices, sexism, bullying, political intrigue and more. I continue to adore Benji, feeling for him throughout his troubles and Ramona, at the Bearskins pub. This is an introspective character driven story that is thought provoking in true Backman style touching on important issues such as parenting. Just absolutely brilliant reading, intense, twisted, gripping, full of suspense and I understand that another Beartown novel will follow, I look forward to renewing my acquaintance with these much loved characters. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph for an ARC.
'beartown' is one of my absolute favourite books (see my review here), so its only fitting that 2018 is barely halfway over and i already know ‘us against you’ will be the best book i will have read this year, if ever. with each book being one half of a beautifully broken heart.
fredrik backman is one of the most talented storytellers i have ever read and this book is proof. there is so much strength and power in his writing. his words are so rich and full, that i can only read so much at a time because there is just so much to savour, so much to cherish. his thoughts are compelling and insightful, and so perfectly capture what it means to be human and the complexity of the human experience. he takes ordinary people living in extraordinary circumstances and makes you care about them, makes you cheer for them, makes you love them.
i am of the strong opinion that fredrik backmans work will considered and taught as classic literature in the years to come.
Beartown is a hockey town by a forest in Sweden, but that won’t tell you much unless you know what it means to be a hockey town where lives are dominated by the sport and the thought of losing the team is devastating to so many. In “Beartown”, Backman says: “Why does anyone care about hockey?...Because it tells stories. " Indeed it tells stories once again in this sequel. This town feels familiar - the place in the forest, this hockey town , a community of parents and children still reeling from what happened there a couple of months before, characters that I came to care about. I was anxious to know what has happened with them - Maya, Leo , Amat, Benji , Ramona and others.
Beartown is about to lose its team and the resources will go to their rivals in the town of Hed. It’s a loss for the Five Uncles who sit at the bar each day and now won’t have anything to talk about . But for others, the pain and sadness is not because of hockey. It may seem that way at times but the pain that these characters are burdened with and the secrets they carry have more to do with life than with hockey. Leo is angry because he couldn’t protect his sister. Peter is devastated about his daughter but doesn’t really know how to show his love for his family and they are falling apart. Maya will forever be changed by what happened to her, silently breaking. Benji, the star hockey player and fighter is sad and angry over his dad and is keeping the secret of his true self. Ana, left by her mother and dealing with her alcoholic father on her own is a life saver to her best friend Maya.
It’s a slow churn at first and I thought somewhat repetitive, not with “Beartown” but within this book itself. I was feeling a little disappointed, but then something changed. I was captivated once again by Backman’s talent as he moves from one character to the next, as he creates a suspense which had me waiting for something awful to happen. It’s so introspective as we become privy to the thoughts and feelings of so many characters, so in-depth for such a cast of characters. The simple phrases that depict profound thoughts on what unconditional parental love is, about the depth of friendship, about marriage and ambition, expectations, rivalry, loyalty, love and hate are stunning. It’s so hard to really understand how hate can give way to violence in the guise of a sport rivalry, and perhaps it’s something more. In spite of my early reservations, I have to give this 5 stars since the rest of the book more than makes up for the slow start. Backman remains one of my favorite writers. If you loved ”Beartown”, this is a must read.
I received an advanced copy of this book from Atria Books through NetGalley.
Have you ever seen a town fall? Ours did. We'll end up saying that violence came to Beartown this summer, but that will be a lie; the violence was already here. Because sometimes hating one another is so easy that it seems incomprehensible that we ever do anything else.
Have you ever loved a book so much you think your heart might explode? That's precisely what I feel might happen each time I pick up a Backman novel set in the world of Beartown. The style of writing is wholly his own, but the author manages to speak in a voice that makes you feel as if an old friend is relaying a bit of local history; the story is a conundrum of comfort and unsettling suspense, gripping the reader by the heart and lungs until the final page is turned. It may take awhile to breathe again though, be warned.
People we love will die. We will bury our children beneath our most beautiful trees.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't constantly on the brink of tears during the entirety of this novel. The emotions were so strong and so raw that I would have to put the book down for the night, not because I wasn't dying to see what would happen next, but simply to process and stew on what I had just absorbed and process. Backman had me by the fibers of my being when he wrote that "this is a story about hockey rinks and all the hearts that beat around them, about people and sports and how they sometimes take turns carrying each other." The heart and essence of this story, stemming back to Beartown, is a community of folks on the brink of losing everything and having no choice but to cling to hope and each other. The all encompassing atmospheric nature of the book is claustrophobic in the best way, and will draw you in a little more with each phrase.
People will say that violence came to Beartown this summer, but that won't be true, because it was already here. Because people are always dependent upon other people, and we can't ever really forgive one another for that.
While there is a good bit of reiterating that goes on for the first fraction of the book, I would highly, HIGHLY recommend reading Beartown first. You'll miss out on all of the character development and reasons to become invested otherwise. The story took off immediately after the rehash and I was a blubbering mess of emotion from then on. Mr. Humphrey wanted to know who died and I told him I couldn't talk about it just yet. #toosoon The best, and hardest, parts involved my precious pumpkin Benji. He's a favorite among many other readers and for good reason; his character is deep, broken, and so lovable that he comes across as both aloof yet relatable.
If you loved Beartown last year, I would highly recommend picking this up and reading it IMMEDIATELY. If you have still haven't read BT, pick it up immediately so that you can pick up Us Against You up right afterward. I'm not sure what the longterm plans are for the community of Beartown, but I need more! Maybe this could be rounded out into a nice, neat trilogy? *Chants BEARTOWN BEARTOWN BEARTOWN!* Thank you Atria Books for providing an early copy.
Ugh these Beartown novels are SO GOOD. It's funny, because they aren't typically in my pool of genre reading, and I'm not a sporty person, but I adore these characters, the setting, and the unsettling nature that permeates throughout. It's a testament to his impressive writing that Backman can make me fall in love with aspects I usually dislike. Full review to come.
THANK YOU BACKMAN FOR YOUR FEELY FEELS MINISTRY.