Us Against You (Beartown, #2)
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) Details

TitleUs Against You (Beartown, #2)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 5th, 2018
PublisherAtria Books
ISBN-139781501160790
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Sports and Games, Sports

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Us Against You (Beartown, #2) Review

  • Susanne Strong
    January 1, 1970
    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 be 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.
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  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    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 aut 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.
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  • James
    January 1, 1970
    Where does one begin when it comes to describing an author whose books constantly amaze you to the point you cannot easily put them down for any reason other than an emergency? Fredrik Backman has struck gold with the second book in the Beartown series, Us Against You. After I survived a book daze last year with the series debut, I read another of his works which catapulted Backman into my top 5 of favorite authors. Once I learned he had written a second book in the Beartown series (they are all Where does one begin when it comes to describing an author whose books constantly amaze you to the point you cannot easily put them down for any reason other than an emergency? Fredrik Backman has struck gold with the second book in the Beartown series, Us Against You. After I survived a book daze last year with the series debut, I read another of his works which catapulted Backman into my top 5 of favorite authors. Once I learned he had written a second book in the Beartown series (they are all translated from Swedish) recently, I had to read this next one... and his publisher, Atria, contacted me to see if I was interested. How lucky can a guy get? When I finished it, Backman is now sitting pretty, completely unreachable for a good while, in my top 3 all-time favorite authors.At first I was a little worried, I must admit. I'm not a big sports fan, and while I loved the first book, could I really become immersed in hockey again? I worked at Madison Square Garden for 10+ years and spent many a night with NY Rangers fans and players. Once I started reading the new book, I also realized the first 15% was a re-hash of the earlier book. It's extremely well-written, so it was easy and smooth, but what did that mean for the rest of the novel? Well that concern quickly disappeared because enter a smooth-talking politician playing games in the background to re-ignite the flames between Hed and Beartown all in the name of getting himself more power. All the earlier characters are back in action, fighting to save the Beartown hockey team, protect Maya AND Kevin (her rapist). What??? What's wrong with people is all I have to say. The words on the pages truly push readers to ask a simple question. Is the attack of one girl worth losing someone who could save an entire town from bankruptcy and possible dismay. Hopefully we all think FIRST about poor Maya, but then you wonder: Do you allow 1 person to keep suffering all in the name of saving the rest? Should the Anderssons just leave Beartown and start over, despite never having done anything wrong? It's questions like this that plague you as you read the book -- yet never ONCE does any character actually ask that. It's all subtle. And I'm not weighing in with my opinion as it's fiction... all meant to transport us to a world of torment and shock.Enter my favorite character, Benji. He's tragic. He's powerful. He's weak. He's lost. He's yearning for something he can't control. He is trapped between right and wrong. The story focuses on him this time in the same respect as it did Maya last time. While he's not attacked in the same way as she was last time (as he'd kill anyone who tried to hurt him), Benji is abused on so many more levels. But don't worry, he gives back just as much as he gets, and that's why I adore him. He makes mistakes, but he fixes them. He hides, but he's got a plan to emerge more victorious. He loves his sisters and is an honorable man (boy? he's 17/18) we all should respect. But he's gay, and well, you know what that means: Beartown can't support him. Hed will do everything to hurt him. They constantly chant "Fags. Whores. Rapists." Yet deep down, you know they all want to support him. I'm not giving away any spoilers, as we learned he was gay in the first book. I just didn't expect the second to focus on him.Yet Backman nearly killed me about 2/3 through when disaster happens and I thought for a moment, I can't finish this book. After what he's done to Benji, I'm just done. But I trudged on and I'm so glad I did. I can't think of another author right now who can let me down and build me up so many times in a book... to the point where they could be talking about hockey or pencils and I still feel a passion I rarely feel in life about most things outside of books. I want Beartown to win. I want Peter to get his dignity back. I want the new coach to prove women can be better than men at things. I want it all... and Backman delivers it all -- just never in the way I expect. Someone loses. A few people actually. And it's harsh. You will cry. You will throw the book. But you will pick it up again because it's become part of you. This must become a movie. I will be the first in line to watch it, and I don't often go to the movies.There's very little to dislike in this book. You may hate certain characters, but they make you love the story all that much more. You might disagree with a plot line, but it will lead you to the right ending. You may want to strangle a few teenagers, and honestly, it may be okay in this instance. I'm not advocating killing kids, but there are just some people who need to be punished for the things they say or do . (Don't quote me on that!!!)I'm really left with... PLEASE give us a third book of equal power and humility. I will do anything.
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  • Elyse
    January 1, 1970
    “Communities are like ice, not water. They don’t suddenly flow in new directions because you ask them to, they change centimeter by centimeter, like glaciers. Sometimes they don’t move at all”. When winter comes to Beartown and Hed....everyone talks about Hockey. Some people support the red team - others the green team. Both teams have had their share of wins. I thought “Beartown” was *exceptional* - Backman’s darkest most complex book — It had ‘everything’: incredible stories about each of the “Communities are like ice, not water. They don’t suddenly flow in new directions because you ask them to, they change centimeter by centimeter, like glaciers. Sometimes they don’t move at all”. When winter comes to Beartown and Hed....everyone talks about Hockey. Some people support the red team - others the green team. Both teams have had their share of wins. I thought “Beartown” was *exceptional* - Backman’s darkest most complex book — It had ‘everything’: incredible stories about each of the characters.....centered around ice hockey- but it was much much more than that. We got to intimately know the kids - the parents- their struggles. It was soooo emotional ...At times I felt angry as can be - other times sad, hopeful, afraid, fearful, worried, inspired....hanging onto every ‘emotion’ WITH the characters. “Beartown”was a big time favorite book for me. In “Us Against You”....it took me longer to authentically feel emotional ‘with’ the characters. For the longest time - I felt I was reading ‘the news’ and more recaps of ‘the news’. I knew everything going on, but I wasn’t getting that ‘buzz’ feeling. I had the facts and information - but my heart wasn’t connected in the same was it was in “Beartown”. The first place that I genuinely felt ‘something’ —13% into my Kindle book- was when I was imagining- Maya - YEARS LATER - in her future - writing music - performing songs she had written from years back when she was a teenager - about her good friend Ana. I imagine Maya doing well - a successful singer - grateful - opening her concerts with a song she wrote about her friend.....from the summer they spent hanging out on the island. I was really touched. Something in Backman’s writing at that moment just got to me. Even after finishing the entire book - it was still one of my favorite moments.There are many characters in this story we re- visit from Beartown -- and new characters who join in. I didn’t think the new characters were nearly as well developed as the original characters. Or as emotionally felt. At times, I even got a little bored with some of the star characters from the last book. Overall we see how a sport can make people break - ( we clearly saw this in “Beartown” too)...Add more politics to “Us Against You”, ...and we see the problems elevate. - more evil - violence - bullying - prejudice- jealousy- anger - all elevated ...but I just didn’t ‘feel’ the intimacy in the storytelling as much this time. The 2nd half of the book picked up for me....and ‘my heart’ became more invested, as the tension did.One of the characters I really liked throughout this entire novel was Kira - wife of Peter Anderson ( who was General Manager of Beartown’s Ice Hockey team in the last book). Peter - ‘not’ a warm cozy guy - feels betrayed by the entire community in Beartown ...but is offered a job in Hed. I was quietly screaming at Peter most of the novel to listen to his wife Kira! Elizabeth Zackell is the new female coach hired. I liked her strength - her fearless attitude- but I still would have liked to know ‘her’ more. Bobo was a character I adored ....he just took my heart. Everything about him....from the type of son he was to the type of big brother he was. Amat, Benji, ( and his three older sisters), Leo, Ramona, Maya and Ana - etc. I definitely still cared for everyone in “Us Against You”....but - for me - there was no where near the deep emotional punch as in “Beartown”.3.7 rating — a little shy of a full 4 strong stars. STRENGTHS & FLAWS.....but glad I read it!!! Backman is still one of my favorite authors. I’ll read every book he writes!
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  • Meredith
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars Emotionally Gutting Us Against You is the emotionally charged sequel to Beartown. Hockey still rules, but emotions are high, the town is falling apart, new friendships are formed and new enemies are made. There’s also a new coach, a new villain, and a new love connection. Secrets are exposed, friendships crumble, and sadly some characters don’t survive. Most significantly, hatred has spread its ugly wings leading to horrible consequences. But in the end, love conquers. I just finished 4.5 stars Emotionally Gutting Us Against You is the emotionally charged sequel to Beartown. Hockey still rules, but emotions are high, the town is falling apart, new friendships are formed and new enemies are made. There’s also a new coach, a new villain, and a new love connection. Secrets are exposed, friendships crumble, and sadly some characters don’t survive. Most significantly, hatred has spread its ugly wings leading to horrible consequences. But in the end, love conquers. I just finished reading Us Against You and I have to say I am a bit of a mess. Having the opportunity to revisit but then say goodbye once again to some of my favorite characters put me through the wringer: I laughed, I cried, I yelled. Even though I am familiar with Backman’s writing, I still almost had several mini heart attacks. While I was a little resistant to reading this, as Beartown had been a magical reading experience for me that I didn’t want to tarnish, in the end, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to go back to Beartown and I am glad I did!I was so very excited, but also a little nervous going into this. Having loved Beartown, my expectations were extremely high. In the beginning, I was shocked to find I couldn’t connect to the characters or the storyline. I was bored, upset, and wanted to DNF. But I couldn’t give up, so I kept on going. I’m not sure what was missing in the beginning, but finally, after reading 150 pages I felt the magic! It was difficult to say goodbye once again to these characters. I hope to visit with them again in the future. . I would recommend Beartown and Us Against You to everyone. It’s hard to put in words what these books encompass--they are truly something special.
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  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Larry H
    January 1, 1970
    "...we only pretend hockey is complicated, because it isn't really. When you strip away all the nonsense surrounding it, the game is simple: everyone gets a stick, there are two nets, two teams. Us against you."Frederick Backman's Beartown (see my review) was probably the best or second-best book I read last year. This story of a Swedish town that is literally obsessed with hockey, and which faces a crisis that will practically tear the town apart, surprised, delighted, and devastated me, all "...we only pretend hockey is complicated, because it isn't really. When you strip away all the nonsense surrounding it, the game is simple: everyone gets a stick, there are two nets, two teams. Us against you."Frederick Backman's Beartown (see my review) was probably the best or second-best book I read last year. This story of a Swedish town that is literally obsessed with hockey, and which faces a crisis that will practically tear the town apart, surprised, delighted, and devastated me, all over the course of a few short hours as I plowed through it very late one night.Given how I felt about that book, I approached the sequel, Us Against You , with a bit of trepidation. Could Backman achieve magic in Beartown again? Were there new stories to tell, and would they affect me with the same level of emotion and, frankly, devotion, that the first book did? Once again, I plowed through the 450-page book within a few hours, and stayed up very late at night to finish it. Now I can answer my questions unequivocally: yes, yes, and oh my god, yes.In fact, I'll leave it to Rob Lowe to sum up my feelings. Beartown is struggling to right itself after the crisis which nearly destroyed the town, but so many lives will never be the same. The town is dealt another blow when it learns that their beloved hockey club will be liquidated, a decision of local politicians, and all of the funding will go to the hockey club of their rival town, Hed, where many of the former Beartown players have gone. This decision upends those for whom hockey was a job, a dream, an escape, a scapegoat, and a tradition.But one crafty person isn't willing to let Beartown hockey die—it's all part of a larger master plan for power. A most unusual coach is hired, and they begin building a new team with an unlikely squad of players—Benji, the lone wolf battling between self-destruction and redemption; Amat, smaller than the other players but perhaps more talented than anyone; Bobo, Amat's best friend, who can't skate well but can't imagine a life without hockey; and Vidar, an exceptionally talented goalie with an exceptionally short (and dangerous) fuse.As Beartown, and its residents, try to recover, marriages and long-time friendships will be severely tested, loyalties will be questioned, split-second decisions will damage and endanger lives, and hearts will break. Violence becomes a more-present part of their everyday lives as the rivalry between Beartown and Hed intensifies, and the big game draws near. Everyone will face moments which could utterly destroy them, but amidst all of the darkness, there are glimpses of hope."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 each other for that."This book absolutely blew me away. I wasn't sure if Backman had it in him a second time, but he has written a sequel that is just as good as its predecessor, which was exceptional. I love these characters so much—the ones you root for and the ones you root against. Reading this book was like getting to visit old friends—you revel in every minute because you know you'll be sad when your time together is over. That was definitely the case here.You really should read Beartown first, both because it provides a great framework on which this book is built, and because it is fantastic on its own. Even though these books are about a hockey-obsessed town, they are about so much more than that. That's where Backman keeps surprising you.God, I hope there's a third book. I'm ready for another late-night read, where I'm laughing and sobbing and feeling sentimental all over again. Who can ask for anything more?NetGalley and Atria Books provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available! See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2017.html.
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  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • jessica
    January 1, 1970
    '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 '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. 5 stars
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    Us Against You by Fredrik Backman is a 2018 Atria Books publication. A sullen, yet optimistic examination of a town suffering an identity crisis and the residents who must learn to adjust to a new normal-While many of us became fans of Fredrik Backman because of his unique ability to weave whimisical stories, featuring quirky, but loveable characters. This method of presentation often softened the darker tones. With Beartown, however, Backman didn’t sugarcoat the darker elements and created an e Us Against You by Fredrik Backman is a 2018 Atria Books publication. A sullen, yet optimistic examination of a town suffering an identity crisis and the residents who must learn to adjust to a new normal-While many of us became fans of Fredrik Backman because of his unique ability to weave whimisical stories, featuring quirky, but loveable characters. This method of presentation often softened the darker tones. With Beartown, however, Backman didn’t sugarcoat the darker elements and created an edgier story than some were accustomed to, but one that truly resonated with many people. Us Against You is the follow-up novel to Beartown and deals with the fallout and ramifications of the events that transpired in the first book, beginning with Maya’s assault accusations, which turned her family into pariahs.When Peter learns that Beartown’s hockey team will be dismantled, he finds himself at the mercy of local politicians with their own shady agendas. The team players are offered positions with the rival town of Hed. This creates a division, on top of the tensions surrounding the situation with Maya, ultimately exposing a gap in priorities, and shines a bright spotlight on misogyny, and the lack of diversity. As a new team begins to form, the competition between the two towns reaches a fever pitch. Meanwhile, Peter, Kira and Maya struggle to find balance in their lives again. For Peter, hockey is all he has ever known, and he has no idea how to give it up- not without a fight- even if he must make certain concessions. Kira is once again in the position of putting her career, her marriage, and herself in second place so that Peter can still pursue hockey- while both of them struggle to come to terms with what happened to their daughter. Eventually, the tensions boil over- with devastating results… As I said in my review of “Beartown” you don’t have to understand anything about hockey to ‘get’ this book. You can substitute a number of things for hockey, instead. Here in Texas, high school football is a molten god and many small towns depend on it for their revenue, their very identities, which was a parallel I immediately related to, but it doesn’t even have to be about sports- it’s whatever issue or situation that becomes an obsession. In this case it's blowing a sport, or a fun pastime out of all proportions, turning it into something else entirely. The characters in this novel are complicated, raw, and so very human and so very real. Backman has a real knack for nailing human frailties, exposing the most sensitive fears and conflictions, as well as understanding the dynamics of small towns everywhere. While the story is bleak, the town and characters suffering setbacks and dissension, progress is not completely off the table. We’ll see people go to hell and back, face their darkest demons, take bold strides in combating ignorant bias and destructive attitudes and behavior, which will provides that allegorical explanation of the book’s title. Backman’s characters are pragmatist, occasionally cynical, often reflective, but also optimistic and tenacious, eventually leading them to a destination they were long overdue to arrive at. In so many ways, Beartown points a mirror back at all of us- It’s me- it’s you- it’s every town, every city, everywhere. Once again, Backman nails it. This is a very thought provoking read, and expansion of Beartown that left me in a very contemplative mood, but also one of peace, and with a feeling that these characters can only go upwards from here. 4.5 stars
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  • Kendall
    January 1, 1970
    5 gut wrenching bang bang stars!! I fell in love with Beartown last year by Backman and had the highest expectations for Us Against You. Well.. ..my friends I have to tell you... don't worry your pretty little heads because Backman delivers exceptionally well ONCE again.Backman delivers a raw and beautifully well executed novel that makes you feel vulnerable in ways you can't imagine! Oh my gosh.... I was a sobbing mess with a SEVERE case of goosebumps upon the final page of this book. It's cont 5 gut wrenching bang bang stars!! I fell in love with Beartown last year by Backman and had the highest expectations for Us Against You. Well.. ..my friends I have to tell you... don't worry your pretty little heads because Backman delivers exceptionally well ONCE again.Backman delivers a raw and beautifully well executed novel that makes you feel vulnerable in ways you can't imagine! Oh my gosh.... I was a sobbing mess with a SEVERE case of goosebumps upon the final page of this book. It's contagious.... I'm telling you!! I will wear a bear on my sleeve eternally <3 <3.The characters are what MAKES this novel. Backman is truly so talented and how effortlessly he allows his readers to see how complex, raw, and REAL the characters are. This book yet again is so much more then a story about hockey. Love, family, strength, courage, grief, and sadness can bring two worlds that seem miles apart together in an instant."Us Against You" is the sequel to Beartown. I would definitely say to read Beartown to get the full background of the characters. I do have to say that it took me awhile to get invested and it felt a little slow ... BUT, how dare I doubt Backman at ALL! Shame on me ;). I can't recommend this book enough... it took my heart and I promise you that it will take your bear heart too! I'm not going to go into the details of the story since I don't want to give anything away but READ this book!!!!"How can something that bangs away at us so horribly hard on the inside not show up on the pictures as black scars, scorched into our skeletons?" "Bang, Bang, Bang."HUGE thank you to Netgalley and Atria/Simon & Schuster for the advanced arc in exchange for my honest review. Publication date: 6/5/18Published to GR: 5/6/18.
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    It was the best of times and the worst of times. This is a fitting quote for what is going on in Beartown since the end of the last book. Beartown has lost many of their best hockey players to Hed, their own hockey team has lost most of their support and sponsor money. But then, seemingly a miracle, a politician gets involved, new factory, new someone, new coach, a woman. Peter gets to keep his job as General Manager. Politics and sports should never mix, as many will find out by books end.So ma It was the best of times and the worst of times. This is a fitting quote for what is going on in Beartown since the end of the last book. Beartown has lost many of their best hockey players to Hed, their own hockey team has lost most of their support and sponsor money. But then, seemingly a miracle, a politician gets involved, new factory, new someone, new coach, a woman. Peter gets to keep his job as General Manager. Politics and sports should never mix, as many will find out by books end.So many times I put this book down, to think about what I just read, to wonder at this author and his insightful comments, and yes, because I was overcome with emotion. (The marshmallow effect strikes again.) This author shows us, The best and worst of living in a small town. The best and worst of being part of a team. The best and worst of parenting, marriage. The best and worst of friendships and The best and worst of being different.Plus, he has given us so many wonderful characters, varied, flawed, so very human, characters we can fully embrace. Tackles many of the problems inherint in small towns, weaving a story that I didn't want to end. By books end, he had broken my heart, in the best and worst possible way.ARC from Netgalley.
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  • Dorie
    January 1, 1970
    *NOW AVAILABLE*I have read all of Fredrik Backman’s books and Beartown was probably my favorite. I know I’m in the minority here but “Us Against You” just didn’t elicit the same emotions for me, it was a bit of a disappointment. After I read Beartown I felt as though it was complete story and so I was a little surprised that the author chose to revisit the town again.The first 30% of the book dealt pretty much with getting the reader caught up with the characters from Beartown and what had happe *NOW AVAILABLE*I have read all of Fredrik Backman’s books and Beartown was probably my favorite. I know I’m in the minority here but “Us Against You” just didn’t elicit the same emotions for me, it was a bit of a disappointment. After I read Beartown I felt as though it was complete story and so I was a little surprised that the author chose to revisit the town again.The first 30% of the book dealt pretty much with getting the reader caught up with the characters from Beartown and what had happened the previous year. This part for me was a skip through because I already was knowledgeable about what had transpired. That said, Mr. Bachman’s writing was again outstanding as he summed up all characters and what they had gone through emotionally and physically the past Fall and Winter.Now it’s summer and the kids are free to try to heal as are the parents. A new character, Richard Theo, a politician, is introduced and adds his twisted, manipulative narrative to this new season for the hockey team. A lot of time is spent on what he is doing, but not so much on why he is doing it? We are left with wondering if he is just incredibly selfish and wants notoriety for himself or if there is something else that is going on? I really couldn’t understand how someone could care so little about the people he was about to hurt.A lot of time is spent on “The Pack” and it’s influence in the town. I felt myself growing tired of Teemu, Woody and Spider and the rest of the group. I have a hard time believing that such a small group of men could hold so much sway in the feelings of the townspeople. Not not only did they seem to control the hockey team’s endorsement but also the town’s feelings about the rape, the homosexual issues, the woman coach and how much violence was used to get what they wanted. I had had enough of them by the end of the book! Benji and his sisters play a large part in this book and those moments with them are definitely some of my favorites. His sisters are committed to their brother and want so much to protect him from some of the things he is about to do, but he is almost a grown man and they are left with just loving and supporting him, which was a wonderful thing to see.Hog is an amazing character and a great father. He is so supportive of Bobo and understands his son’s strengths and weaknesses. He wrestles with the loss of his wife but the family is a strong unit and seem to be able to survive this great tragedy.I was disappointed that nothing was included about David and the boys who left to play for Hed, they are still residents of Beartown to my understanding and I would have liked to know what their thoughts were now that they decided to play for the opposing team. I’m sure it was not an easy decision for many of them.As if there haven’t been enough changes in Beartown, a woman coach is hired to resurrect the Beartown hockey club. She is tough, skilled and treats all of her players equally. This is a woman I was glad to see introduced into the story. I also loved how the ending was pulled together with her and one of the other players.In the end I was glad to have read this book but I don’t think it “measured up” to Beartown or “Britt Marie Was Here”, two of my very favorite Backman books. I’m sure many, many people will be glad to revisit the town but for me it was bittersweet and the ending still left with me with lots of unanswered questions. I will of course be on the lookout for the next Fredrik Backman novel as he has been added to my list of favorite authors.ADDENDUM: Since I published this review yesterday it has come to my attention that there is to be a Beartown #3 and that the author always intended a trilogy. I thought it was interesting but I don't know that I need a third book, I'm not a series kind of person (with the exception of Harry Potter)I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss.
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  • Theresa Alan
    January 1, 1970
    “It’s so easy to get people to hate each other. That’s what makes love so impossible to understand. Hate is so simple that it always ought to win. It’s an uneven fight.”I hadn’t read Beartown, so the beginning of this book threw me because I didn’t realize it was the second in a series. Once I got into the characters that make up the town and the hockey team that the town revolves around, it stood on its own just fine. For much of the last fifth of this novel, I had tears in my eyes. Beartown is “It’s so easy to get people to hate each other. That’s what makes love so impossible to understand. Hate is so simple that it always ought to win. It’s an uneven fight.”I hadn’t read Beartown, so the beginning of this book threw me because I didn’t realize it was the second in a series. Once I got into the characters that make up the town and the hockey team that the town revolves around, it stood on its own just fine. For much of the last fifth of this novel, I had tears in my eyes. Beartown is a small town, and their biggest rival is another small town, Hed. After Beartown is divided because an evil act of violence, many of the best of their hockey players leave to play for Hed. Beartown gets a new coach, who’s ready to rebuild the team.We watch as families and towns fracture and repair. Individuals who are ostracized find a way to survive and thrive. “The complicated thing about good and bad people alike is that most of us can be both at the same time.”This is another wonderful read by Frekrik Backman (I’d previously read A Man Called Ove.) Highly recommend.Thanks so much to NetGalley and Simon and Shuster for the opportunity to review this book, which comes out this Tuesday, June 5.For more reviews, please visit http://www.theresaalan.net/blog
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    4+ Stars No hockey in BEARTOWN? It just can't be! We all know hockey is an addiction in this small failing community....the only thing really, except for snow, icy roads and a thick (sometimes dangerous) forest where one can hide....or discover secrets. It's still a hard life hereabouts....harder for some after the scandal....it affected so many....some took their revenge....others are still hurting....and some so burned with hatred, they now turn to violence.In the sequel, US AGAINST YOU Fredri 4+ Stars No hockey in BEARTOWN? It just can't be! We all know hockey is an addiction in this small failing community....the only thing really, except for snow, icy roads and a thick (sometimes dangerous) forest where one can hide....or discover secrets. It's still a hard life hereabouts....harder for some after the scandal....it affected so many....some took their revenge....others are still hurting....and some so burned with hatred, they now turn to violence.In the sequel, US AGAINST YOU Fredrik Backman delves way down deep into the soul of many a character here revealing shortcomings and attributes, hopes and dreams, loves and losses, and, of course, a relationship with a town in which they are so proud....a hockey town that must survive....no matter what!Backman, with his gift of gab, entices and teases the reader most deceptively at every turn in this second offering bringing forth many oh no it can't be moments for the reader as he describes burning buildings, lurking men in black jackets, heated confrontations and trickery from politicians that weigh heavy on some.US AGAINST YOU (for me) was not as emotionally addictive as BEARTOWN. It was written in sort of a disjointed open-ended vein that often left me wanting to know now what was about to erupt. I also wanted to know exactly what happened to one character who left early on and another who takes off in the end....but perhaps that is a story for another time.A great story....Yep! A worthwhile read....Absolutely! US AGAINST YOU has only left me wanting more Backman.So..........do come back to BEARTOWN and visit your favorite characters (oh Benji)....see what some of them do (oh my) and how the new ones fit in (ha!) as BEARTOWN struggles for survival.Many Thanks to Atria Books/Simon & Schuster for the widget and early reading opportunity to enjoy one of my favorite authors via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Cheri
    January 1, 1970
    !! NOW AVAILABLE !! ”In his final season, on his final nightBuddy and a Finn goon were pegged for a fightThirty seconds left, the puck took a rollAnd suddenly Buddy had a shot on goal“The goalie committed, Buddy picked his spotTwenty years of waiting went into that shotThe fans jumped up, the Finn jumped tooAnd coldcocked Buddy on his follow throughThe big man crumbled but he felt all right'Cause the last thing he sawwas the flashing red lightHe saw that heavenly light -- Hit Somebody!(The Hoc !! NOW AVAILABLE !! ”In his final season, on his final nightBuddy and a Finn goon were pegged for a fightThirty seconds left, the puck took a rollAnd suddenly Buddy had a shot on goal“The goalie committed, Buddy picked his spotTwenty years of waiting went into that shotThe fans jumped up, the Finn jumped tooAnd coldcocked Buddy on his follow throughThe big man crumbled but he felt all right'Cause the last thing he sawwas the flashing red lightHe saw that heavenly light -- Hit Somebody!(The Hockey Song), Songwriters: Warren Zevon / Mitchell David Albom”It’s going to be someone’s fault” ”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 each other is so easy that it seems incomprehensible that we ever do anything else.” There is no anonymity in Beartown for the people who live there. Everybody knows not only each other’s names, but also what they do, who their parents, or children, bosses, coworkers are, how many generations their families have lived there. They know who is trouble, and those who run the town. There is no hiding their flaws, their secrets, or the secret of who they really are. Not forever, anyway. People are born there, very few move away, but it is even more rare for someone to move to there. Beartown is Hockey. The lives of those who reside there celebrate this, their lives revolve around it, the games, the practices, it is where they belong. Even the conflict between Beartown and Hed, the neighboring town that views Beartown as being inferior. A case of the haves vs the have-nots, but throw in some politicians with questionable motives and things threaten to become volatile. As the town sees its way of life – hockey - being threatened, as they come to terms with the possibility of their hometown hockey team being disbanded unless something changes, their fears and pain unravel for us to see. And then, a potential new coach, a surprising choice, surely, and a new team will have to be formed, so many players lost to Hed, already. But will they be able to really form a team, bond together as they will need to do, in order to win? If you’ve read Backman’s Beartown, then you’re familiar with this town, and most of the people who live there, but some new characters are introduced, as well. Peter and Kira Andersson, their children Maya, 16, and Leo, 12. Benji, who has some secrets to share, and Bobo and Amat, then there’s Ana who is best friends with Maya, and Vidar, who has a short fuse, but also a protective love of his brother, Teemu. The parents are struggling with their own problems and their children’s, and these young people, struggling to figure out who they are under all the expectations of the parents, the school and the town. Maybe they will eventually find out what they’re made of.This wasn’t the kind of book where I instantly fell into the pages and was Calgon’d away, it crept up on me slowly, stealing a little bit more of my heart away as I read on, but I was still interested, just not living inside the story – yet – but soon enough I was wishing there were more pages ahead. I loved how introspective this was, how we learn the story of this town and the people through their thoughts and feelings, their frustrations, their concerns, the hurt and shame and anger some carry with them. I loved, love, this town and these people, loved their loyalty to this place and when it came down to it, their loyalty to each other. I hurt when they hurt, and rooted them on in their journeys. ”Bang. Bang. Bang-bang-bang.”Pub Date: 05 JUN 2018Many thanks for the ARC provided by Atria Books
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  • JanB
    January 1, 1970
    Old characters reappear and new characters are introduced in this book, the follow-up to last year's phenomenal hit, Beartown. There's drama, marital difficulties, bullying, rivalries, political machinations, and heartbreak. This book may not have the impact of Beartown but fans will have much to enjoy with this new novel. Backman excels at insights into human nature and writing characters that are easy to care for.The writing is beautiful with excellent character development. Many passages made Old characters reappear and new characters are introduced in this book, the follow-up to last year's phenomenal hit, Beartown. There's drama, marital difficulties, bullying, rivalries, political machinations, and heartbreak. This book may not have the impact of Beartown but fans will have much to enjoy with this new novel. Backman excels at insights into human nature and writing characters that are easy to care for.The writing is beautiful with excellent character development. Many passages made me pause to savor his words. I didn't really care about the political maneuverings, which slowed the story down for me a bit, and I have a lot of difficulty understanding sports culture/rivalries. Even so, Backman delivers a poignant read that will satisfy his many fans.*Publication date June 5, 2018* I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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  • ❄️Nani❄️
    January 1, 1970
    I can honestly say I can now die a happy person. An emotional mess, yes. But happy nonetheless that I’ve finally read my long awaited book.
  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    At first before writing this review, I thought I should let my thoughts settle and mull things over a bit. However, after thinking about it, I decided to take the plunge and write of my feelings for the extremely popular book. Looking at the ratings, there seems to be very few who do not believe in the validity of this tale and although I have many misgivings about this book, I do feel there was merit in its telling.What I liked most were the people who stood by one another. Through thick and th At first before writing this review, I thought I should let my thoughts settle and mull things over a bit. However, after thinking about it, I decided to take the plunge and write of my feelings for the extremely popular book. Looking at the ratings, there seems to be very few who do not believe in the validity of this tale and although I have many misgivings about this book, I do feel there was merit in its telling.What I liked most were the people who stood by one another. Through thick and thin, through turmoil and crisis, through fear and destruction, these characters were together, one with each other. They were tough as nails, hard as the ice they so loved, resilient and unbendable and made of ice both literally and figuratively. There was no wishy washy with them. You were either with us or against us and woe to those who were against us. They were the people we want for friends for to be their enemy could be catastrophic for us. Could one bear the onslaught of feelings that being their enemy would entail? Can any of us hate that much? Do any of us want to? They were the ones who felt deeply, who reacted without care or concern for their own well being, and who were always standing tall. They were oftentimes wounded but didn't let that drag them into a miasma of feeling sorry for themselves. Tough, stalwart and some might say having ice water running through their veins. They were the hockey players, their families, and their community who lived and breathe this sport as if their very souls depended on it an perhaps indeed they did.What I disliked in this tale, was the violence and the anger. It was so present in everything. It was so pervasive that many times, I thought I would have to cast this book aside for it seemed to constantly show that there was no forgiveness, no sorrow, no hurt for causing someone's destruction. There didn't seem to be any shame for the hurt, any kind of mental anguish for the pain, or ever any kind of asking for forgiveness. It all seemed so rote to hate those on the opposing team, in the opposing town. Was there any way to stomp on that hate, to quell that fire that seemed to burn in all of them? Was the ultimate goal to allow that hate to consume you body and soul? Was the ice rink a stand in always for the contempt that seemed to be so ingrained in the people who inhabited both the arena and the towns? So why didn't I quit? I would have to say that the second half of the book held sway with me. I think I was looking for the rescue, that something that might, if not make the hate go away, alleviate it somewhat. Yes, that indeed did happen and for a brief moment in time, those teams, those towns did come together and become one. It was brief that moment, but it did offer that faint hope that in all things we can as a people come together as one. The moment might be a split second but sometimes a split second is just what one needs to restore your faith in we humans.As always, I am indebted to my library for providing a copy of this book to me. I know there is a line up of people waiting for me to finish and I hope they too find the worthwhile in the story that Mr Backman has told us. I had to truly search for that sense of the worthwhile and am happy to say that indeed I did find it.
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  • Bianca
    January 1, 1970
    This is the sixth Fredrik Backman book I read. He’s become one of my favourite writers, so it’s always exciting to read something new from him.Us Against You continues to delve into the lives of some of Beartown’s inhabitants. We are acquainted with many of them from his previous novel, Beartown (also known as Scandal in other countries).Again, at the centre of this novel we have the Beartown Hockey Team manager – Peter Andersson, his lawyer wife, Kira, their kids, Maya, 16 and Leo, 12. What hap This is the sixth Fredrik Backman book I read. He’s become one of my favourite writers, so it’s always exciting to read something new from him.Us Against You continues to delve into the lives of some of Beartown’s inhabitants. We are acquainted with many of them from his previous novel, Beartown (also known as Scandal in other countries).Again, at the centre of this novel we have the Beartown Hockey Team manager – Peter Andersson, his lawyer wife, Kira, their kids, Maya, 16 and Leo, 12. What happened to Maya in the past year still affects her, her family and, to a certain extent, the entire town. The only thing that makes Beartown tick is hockey, but they’re about to lose that as well. Many players had moved to the bigger neighbouring town, Hed. There’s conflict between the two towns stemming from hockey rivalry but also due to socio-economic issues. Add a sociopathic, master manipulator politician to the mix and we’ve got yourself an explosive mixture. We reacquaint ourselves with some of the hockey players we met in Beartown : Benji, the excellent hockey player, who’s in the closet; Amat – the immigrant, very talented player and his best friend, Bobo, hardworking, less talented but with a heart of gold. Benji gets more play time on the pages of this novel, I personally didn’t mind, as he was intriguing in so many ways. There are some new characters, who are given more or less air-time.I loved the pacing of the book and how Backman kept adding layer, upon layer, upon layer, creating a tower of tension about to topple.This is another ambitious novel that deals with trauma, parenting, friendship, small town mentalities, homophobia, sexism, and politics. Oh, and some hockey. While I agree with every single message of the book, I did find this novel a bit too sanctimonious – it pains me to say that, but that’s how I felt. Also, I would have preferred he’d dialled-down the melodrama. In saying all that, I adore the guy - Backman is a Renaissance man – I don’t say that lightly.As always, I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next. His writing is a treat I hope to indulge in for many years to come.I’ve received this book via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Atria Books allowing me to read this novel. I truly appreciate it.
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    Us Against You is a difficult book. Maybe because of the inflated egos reaching for power and not concerned who they step on. Or maybe it’s because of the powerless who can’t help themselves. Or perhaps it’s due to the repetition of themes that hammers in the points. It is, admittedly, an effective story of two towns in conflict, ostensibly over hockey, but actually over so much more. I think my sadness on reading this book is not only from the book but from the life of the world around me that Us Against You is a difficult book. Maybe because of the inflated egos reaching for power and not concerned who they step on. Or maybe it’s because of the powerless who can’t help themselves. Or perhaps it’s due to the repetition of themes that hammers in the points. It is, admittedly, an effective story of two towns in conflict, ostensibly over hockey, but actually over so much more. I think my sadness on reading this book is not only from the book but from the life of the world around me that it represents, where emotions are manipulated by those in a position to do so, communities are set artificially against one another so they won’t notice that the powers that be are plotting against both. If real life were not so difficult at the moment, would I have tolerated the harsh realities of this world better? Would the moments of redemption worked better? I don’t know. And I’m not sure Backman intends them to. Life is often unjust. We learn that throughout our lives. Other than the relentless emotional pull, my quibble with this novel has to do with style: there is a repetitive technique used throughout that at times seemed very effective and at others, annoying. I like all that I have read from Backman. His ability to capture the variety of human emotions, behaviors and rationales is spot on for all age groups. This is the sequel that Beartown needed. But I wonder if it could have been better. Or perhaps I wish for something merely different, nicer, more pleasing.Another thought I had since I finished reading is to wonder if I might have liked the style of the book better if I had read it more quickly. Would what I found to be repetitive be instead flowing connections between sections of the story? Would they read like a chorus, a Greek chorus observing all that is happening just as the narrator is both of and separate from Beartown? This thought is causing me to rethink some of my concerns mentioned above. Oh the world of books. It keeps us pondering even when we finish reading.A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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  • Edward Lorn
    January 1, 1970
    Us Against You is an emotional rollercoaster with some of the best and worst storytelling elements on display. What I liked about the book is simple: it made me feel; it made me cry. What I didn't like about it is far more complicated, so let's discuss that in greater detail.While I did love the characters in this book, I only think that's the case because I got to know them so well in the first book, Beartown, which I gave a glowing five-star review to. In Beartown, the book seemingly dragged f Us Against You is an emotional rollercoaster with some of the best and worst storytelling elements on display. What I liked about the book is simple: it made me feel; it made me cry. What I didn't like about it is far more complicated, so let's discuss that in greater detail.While I did love the characters in this book, I only think that's the case because I got to know them so well in the first book, Beartown, which I gave a glowing five-star review to. In Beartown, the book seemingly dragged for 60 pages while I got to know everyone, and then BAM, it all clicked, and I enjoyed the rest of the book. There was no click here. There was no moment when I felt everything came together. The entirety of the book felt like the first 60 pages of the first book. (it was at this time he dropped his three stars to two stars)I'm being extremely hard on this book because it pissed me off numerous times. My problems lie in Backman's crazy notion that he should continuously break the fourth wall. We are constantly reminded, several times, I'm talking more than six times, that this is a book, with lines like "This is not that kind of story" or "This is not your average love story" or "This is a such-and-such kind of story." I found myself rolling my eyes and sighing like an angsty teenager while I growled, "Stop it!" When reading, I don't want to be reminded I am reading. It's one of the few hobbies I have left. Please let me enjoy some escapism, for fuck's sake. Another reason I noticed it was because he didn't do it in the first book. If he did, he didn't do it nearly as often.In Beartown, Backman hid the framework under characters you loved, hated, or both. The story was predictable, but only because it was stripped from the headlines of everyday life. That shit happens. All the time. With Us Against You, the framework is exposed, and Backman's the one who unveiled it. He gets into a habit of false foreshadowing (I'm being real careful here because I don't want to spoil anything for you, should you want to read it and form your own opinion, which I recommend) where he'll hint at a tragedy only to change the victim at the last second. He does that eight times in this book. How do I know the number? Because it was so obvious and annoying I started counting, which again reminded me I was just reading a book. He does it so often that it actually ruined what might have been an amazing twist at the end, but because he'd pulled the ol' bait-and-switch on me seven times previously, I knew what was coming. The story is fine, and if there's a third book, I'll read it, but only because I cannot imagine where Backman will go from here, considering how this one ends. In summation: I'm super disappointed with Us Against You because I loved the first book so much. I still love the characters and the setting, but Backman needs to draw back and quit reminding the reader they're reading a book. Once or twice? Fine. But more than six times? Fuggoff.Final Judgment: Your average sequel that doesn't come close to living up to the original.Many thanks to Atria Books for the review copy.
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  • Hamad
    January 1, 1970
    This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book PrescriptionActual Rating: 4.5 stars“Sometimes people have to be allowed to have something to live for in order to survive everything else.” 🌟 Fredrik Backman is easily now among my favorite authors. My favorite authors are mostly fantasy authors and I am happy that Fredrik claimed the title “My favorite contemporary author”.🌟 I finished this and immediately checked all his other books and I want to read them all. If you take a qu This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book PrescriptionActual Rating: 4.5 stars“Sometimes people have to be allowed to have something to live for in order to survive everything else.” 🌟 Fredrik Backman is easily now among my favorite authors. My favorite authors are mostly fantasy authors and I am happy that Fredrik claimed the title “My favorite contemporary author”.🌟 I finished this and immediately checked all his other books and I want to read them all. If you take a quick glance at them, they feature an Old man, A Grandma story, An ice hockey town, a grandfather. Andy you may ask how the hell we’re supposed to like these stories? you have to read to find out because these books have all the magic!🌟 This takes place after the ending of book 1 and it started a bit slow and I was not liking it as much as book 1, I continued because it was not bad and then it kept getting better and better!🌟 This book may have the most realistic characters ever, there are both adults and teenagers (12-18 years) in this. And they act according to their ages, adults drink and work and have daily problems to face while the teenagers talk about girls and sex and sports, they go to school, they have their own worlds that they live in. I can’t explain about each character alone because there is a whole town, but I like them all!!🌟 And as the author keeps saying “This is not a fairy tale”, there are no miracles happening for the sake of entertaining readers, this was as real as it could be and many things ended up being satisfying without me ever knowing that!🌟 The writing style is beautiful too. I may have highlighted more sentences in book 1 but this had a good share of great quotes too, and I couldn’t help myself crying in all the 3 books that I read by Backman!“He learns that people will always choose a simple lie over a complicated truth, because the lie has one unbeatable advantage: the truth always has to stick to what actually happened, whereas the lie just has to be easy to believe.”🌟 Summary: If you are looking for an emotional contemporary that is quite unusual and away from all the tropes, then I can’t recommend Fredrik’s books enough.
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  • Arah-Lynda
    January 1, 1970
    You come out at nightThat's when the energy comesAnd the dark side's lightAnd the vampires roamYou strut your rasta wearAnd your suicide poemAnd a cross from a faithThat died before Jesus cameYou're building a mystery Sarah McLachlanTake a look around. It is easy to see that this story is a big hit with readers. And it is easy to see why. It is after all, a great human interest tale that is very well told. So why the middle of the road rating? Perhaps the fault is mine. I mean I loved Beartown, You come out at nightThat's when the energy comesAnd the dark side's lightAnd the vampires roamYou strut your rasta wearAnd your suicide poemAnd a cross from a faithThat died before Jesus cameYou're building a mystery Sarah McLachlanTake a look around. It is easy to see that this story is a big hit with readers. And it is easy to see why. It is after all, a great human interest tale that is very well told. So why the middle of the road rating? Perhaps the fault is mine. I mean I loved Beartown, but this one failed to resonate with me. I caught a sense, early on, of being preached to. I did not like that but I also could not shake it and the stain spread. As evidenced by an average rating of 4.44 from over three thousand readers, there can be no doubt that the vast majority of readers loved this. No doubt I missed out. My sincere thanks to Simon & Schuster, NetGalley and Fredrik Backman for an opportunity to read this.
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  • Maxwell
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars Dare I say that I enjoyed this even more than Beartown??? I just love the characters so much, so getting to spend more time with them and see them develop even more was fantastic. Backman knows how to throw a gut punch too and this book had me gasping, laughing and tearing up. I can't say much more because it is a sequel and it doesn't come out until June, but I really loved it and will continue to read anything he publishes! Thanks again to Atria Books for sending an early copy my wa 4.5 stars Dare I say that I enjoyed this even more than Beartown??? I just love the characters so much, so getting to spend more time with them and see them develop even more was fantastic. Backman knows how to throw a gut punch too and this book had me gasping, laughing and tearing up. I can't say much more because it is a sequel and it doesn't come out until June, but I really loved it and will continue to read anything he publishes! Thanks again to Atria Books for sending an early copy my way!
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    This book is the sequel to Fredrik Backman's best seller "Beartown." For maximum comprehension and pleasure, the books should be read in order. *****Beartown is a cloistered village in the Swedish forest, where hockey is the local obsession. In the first book, Beartown's junior hockey team is on the cusp of winning a national championship when an allegation of rape scandalizes the town and rips the hockey team apart. People take sides, there's a great deal of victim-blaming, and some former frie This book is the sequel to Fredrik Backman's best seller "Beartown." For maximum comprehension and pleasure, the books should be read in order. *****Beartown is a cloistered village in the Swedish forest, where hockey is the local obsession. In the first book, Beartown's junior hockey team is on the cusp of winning a national championship when an allegation of rape scandalizes the town and rips the hockey team apart. People take sides, there's a great deal of victim-blaming, and some former friends become bitter enemies. Everyone in Beartown is anguished after the incident, partly because they lament the disruption to hockey, and partly because they have empathy for either the perpetrator or the victim. The second book, "Us Against You", picks up where the first book left off. Beartown's junior hockey team is in tatters, and most of its members are now playing for the rival town of Hed. The Beartown 'Bears' 🐻 and the Hed 'Bulls' 🐮 have always been bitter rivals, so this change in loyalties causes much strife. Moreover, many people blame the girl who was raped for the unhappy situation and frequently text her slurs like "Whore, Liar, Princess." 😫Angry fans want the rape victim's family to leave town, and start a campaign of harassment - getting moving companies to call the house and deliver packing boxes to the front door. It seems like very few people, except for the victim's family and her best friend, understand (or care) that the girl was severely traumatized by the assault. Her younger brother, however, is furious and rebellious - always on the brink of starting a fight or a conflagration (literally).To make matters worse, Beartown's city council has decided to withdraw financial support for hockey. The league's General Manager, Peter Andersson - who's devoted his life to the sport - doesn't know what to do. The remainder of the townsfolk also start to despair. The 'five old men' - who used to spend every day in the Bearskin Pub arguing about hockey - are emblematic of the town's misery. The elderly codgers now stay home, sad and talking to no one. Enter the town's savior, self-serving politician Richard Theo. Theo - whose every waking moment is spent scheming to gain power - has a plan to save Beartown hockey. The program involves getting foreign investors to salvage the town's failing factory AND sponsor the hockey league. Theo constantly lies and manipulates people to get what he wants, but he does manage to keep the hockey league in business. A female hockey coach named Elisabeth Zackell is hired, which is a shock to the men in town. Nevertheless, Zackell is a talented woman, and she assembles a team around several popular players who didn't defect to Hed: Amat - who's fast; Bobo - who's big; and Benji - who's tough. Zackell also wants teenager Vidar Rinnius -brother of Beartown hooligan Teemu Rinnius - to be the goalie. The problem is that Vidar, who has severe anger management problems, is in juvie jail. Against all odds, Vidar gets sprung - courtesy of Richard Theo - just so he can join the Bears. The Bears and the Bulls have some very contentious encounters, both on and off the rink. The result is that several people get beat up; a building burns down; and there's a deadly car accident. Also on the downside, an unhappy girl 'outs' a gay hockey player - which has terrible consequences for the young man. Hateful townsfolk send the boy cutting texts, like "Fag, Queer, Homo, and Poof".....and rival fans shout, "Fags. Whores. Rapists" at hockey games. The hockey situation also adversely affects the marriage of General Manager Peter Andersson and his lawyer wife Kira. For twenty years, Kira has put her ambitions on hold for Peter's career, and even now - when Peter's job is shaky - he once again asks his wife to 'wait until next year' to follow her dreams. (I was irritated with Peter, who's obtuse and selfish.)The situation plays out as it will and some lessons are learned. One of my favorite characters is little 4 ½ -year-old Alicia, who practices hockey all day long and regularly runs away from preschool to practice her shots. This girl is a determined cutie. 🌺Like the first book, this story demonstrates the cruel tendency to 'blame the victim.' Backman also exposes hypocrites who 'have nothing against homosexuals' but 'worry about the children.' These phonies also have a habit of pointing out that 'not everyone is as open-minded as they are.' Yeah right!! 😕👎"Us Against You" has garnered very high praise from many readers but for me, it's just okay. I find it hard to believe that hockey is SO important to Beartown and Hed that almost every waking thought and action revolves around the game. In addition, the author does a lot of philosophizing, using hockey as a metaphor for life, and I found this to be overdone. Still, people who enjoyed the first book will probably like this one, and I'd recommend it to those readers. Thanks to Netgalley, the author (Fredrik Backman), and the publisher (Atria Books) for a copy of the book. You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
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  • Heather 'Bookables'
    January 1, 1970
    4 1/2What an amazing series this was! Hard hitting, heavy, but such beautiful reads!
  • katwiththehat
    January 1, 1970
    The wonderful thing about Fredrik Backman’s writing is the way he brings such a crazy interesting cast of characters to life. Back in Beartown for this sequel after hockey has pretty much moved over to Hed in the wake of Kevin’s attack on Maya and the town’s division over which child to believe, this book examines the aftermath, and what is to become of hockey, Beartown, all the residents we’ve grown so invested in, and deeply festering resentments between the two little towns buried out in the The wonderful thing about Fredrik Backman’s writing is the way he brings such a crazy interesting cast of characters to life. Back in Beartown for this sequel after hockey has pretty much moved over to Hed in the wake of Kevin’s attack on Maya and the town’s division over which child to believe, this book examines the aftermath, and what is to become of hockey, Beartown, all the residents we’ve grown so invested in, and deeply festering resentments between the two little towns buried out in the woods. This is a must-read if you grew to love the characters from Beartown and want to see how everything turned out. Fredrik Backman crafts beautiful individual arcs for each character.Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
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  • Stina
    January 1, 1970
    IT’S OUT IN ENGLISH Y’ALLGO GET IT NOWPLZ*******4(.5?)/5Ah, Beartown. The first book I read this year, the best book I've read this year. It was such a blessing when I walked into my local bookstore and discovered that the sequel had come out. I bought it without hesitation, it made my bank account feel bad. What a bliss. And now I've read it and I'm SO CONFLICTED. (Note: this review is going to be terrible)This book was awesome. I'm just going to put it out there before I start complaining. I l IT’S OUT IN ENGLISH Y’ALLGO GET IT NOWPLZ*******4(.5?)/5Ah, Beartown. The first book I read this year, the best book I've read this year. It was such a blessing when I walked into my local bookstore and discovered that the sequel had come out. I bought it without hesitation, it made my bank account feel bad. What a bliss. And now I've read it and I'm SO CONFLICTED. (Note: this review is going to be terrible)This book was awesome. I'm just going to put it out there before I start complaining. I loved it, and no matter my problems with it this had a way higher standard than most books I've read this year.First off, the characters. If you are the type of person that values characters over story, THIS IS SOOOOOO THE BOOK FOR YOU. Seriously. I am in love with almost every single character in this series. From the Andersson family to old Ramona at the bar. From Amat to the weird, new dude whose name I've completely forgotten and the new, weird hockey coach Elisabeth Zackell. They're all pretty dank.AND BENJI DESERVES HIS OWN SECTION BECAUSE HE IS THE BEST CHARACTER THAT HAS EVER EXISTED. Seriously, there was this one scene where (view spoiler)[Backman sort of implied that Benjamin went out into the forest to kill himself and even though I was sure it wasn't true, I cried because I was so worried. (hide spoiler)]. Like, I've almost had book boyfriends before, but this time it's serious. Well, as serious as it can be when it's between me and a (view spoiler)[gay (hide spoiler)] dude. But in general, all the characters are super sweet and adorable.Which gets me to my problem with this book.You see, Beartown was a pretty emotional book where Backman could strive from realistic dialogue from time to time only to prove a point or get said emotion out. But since it was still very down-to-earth and the emotion was mixed all the time, I could forgive it. It blended in pretty seamlessly into the otherwise realistic story. And it worked. The book went to the bank with this. And Backman realized this and decided to amp up the emotion and the unrealistic to the goddamn max. The key word of this book is 'melodramatic'. Because that's what it is. Melodramatic, borderline cheesy at times. And though I enjoyed this very much, said melodrama could be a bit much. I'm pretty sure this complaint comes down to personal opinion, though. I am very sensitive to this cheesiness.And then there are some minor complaints, like the fact that Benji (view spoiler)[is implied to be depressed, very much so (to the point of having suicidal thoughts), yet nothing is done about it and it's never explicitly acknowledged (hide spoiler)].Or the fact that there is a surprising amount of instalove in this. There are a lot of great relationships as well, like the one of Peter and Mira, but there is a lot of lovey-dovey-ing in this.Still, this was really good. And it had some moments where it was even better than Beartown. But sadly, the bad moments were bad enough to make me remove one star. Beartown just held a higher standard throughout the entire book.I am still SUPER FUCKING STOKED for the third book, though, and I can't wait for it to come out. And to get more Benji.Oh. If I don't get more Benji in the third book, I will go to wherever Backman lives (it can't be that far away since we both live in the same relatively small country) and I might just kill him.**************UPDATE 2.0: Seriously how does one write a review for this? I have no idea. Someone tell me how to do this because I have no clue. Please.**************UPDATE: The Gods have spoken. I officially like this book less than its predecessor. With that out of the way, let's get on to the actual review.**************Okay. I am really fucking conflicted and will probably get back to you on this one in about a year or so. Seriously. I have so many feelings.Also: Fredrik, if Benji is not in the third book, I'm going to hunt you down.**************I WENT INTO THE BOOKSTORE 100% UNAWARE THAT THIS HAD BEEN RELEASED AND GOT A HEART ATTACK. THE SEQUEL TO MY FAVORITE BOOK THIS YEAR IS OUT AND I HAVE IT IN MY HANDS I MIGHT DIE
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  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    One of my most anticipated books of 2018 is finally here. 🙏🏼 LET’S GO! A SEQUEL????? TO THE BEST BOOK EVER THAT IS BEARTOWN????? WITH MY FAVES BENJI AND AMAT AS LEADS???!??? I’LL BE COUNTING DOWN SECONDS TILL THIS RELEASE
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