After reading Beartown by Fredrik Backman, I could not wait to read the sequel, Us Against You, and picked it up immediately.
Genre: Contemporary fiction, Sports fiction
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.
This sequel resumes the story begun in Beartown and continues to explore all the emotions aroused in the first novel of this duology. In addition, Backman explores the negative aspect of competitiveness, as well as what binds people together as a team. The issues brought up in the novel are big and not all of them are resolved – and rightly so as these issues are continuously prevalent in our society. Yes, the story is about hockey – but it is so much more than about the sport. It is about competition, team spirit, and what it is that makes a team (whether it is for sport, or other aspects of life).
I love how in this this sequel to Beartown, the reader learns more about what happens to beloved characters. Their growth continues in Us Against You, suggesting that people never stop learning about themselves – no matter how old they are. While reading the novel, I cheered for my favourite people and felt the pain of those who experienced obstacles.
I loved this sequel and really enjoyed Backman’s storytelling. He is certainly talented in weaving emotions and life lessons within the fabric of his story. Us Against You is definitely a novel that will encourage you to pick up another story by this author.
I give this novel ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars.
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018
(This novel was the 78th in my 50 book pledge for 2018)