Fredrick Backman’s Beartown was a firm favourite* among the books I read last year, so I was very happy to see him return to that ice hockey town in a large Swedish forest in Us Against You.
Can a broken town survive a second tragedy?
By the time the last goal is scored, someone in Beartown will be dead . . .
Us Against You is the story of two towns, two teams and what it means to believe in something bigger than yourself. It’s about how people come together – sometimes in anger, often in sorrow, but also through love. And how, when we stand together, we can bring a town back to life.
(I think you could read this as a stand-alone but why would you want to read one book about Beartown when you could read two?! Get them both and read them one after another or leave this one a little while in order to savour the anticipation of there being more to come. Either way, go and read Beartown then come back to Us Against You.)
Us Against You picks up almost where Beartown left off; its townspeople are still very much coming to terms with what happened and dealing with the fallout. It’s left one family shattered, more shunned than supported, and held responsible for the town’s troubles, while others seem to return to normal.
The hockey team is haemorrhaging players to their nearest rivals in the neighbouring town of Hed. And if this continues, it could mean the unimaginable for a hockey town like Beartown: no senior team, its stadium closed down, and no ice hockey to give structure or focus to people’s lives.
While there are some good souls who will try and help their friends and neighbours heal, and attempt to bring the community back together again, there will of course always be those others who seek to exploit and profit from such divisions. Enter the politicians and property developers. I might have thought that hockey was a pretty bruising game but it’s nothing when compared to the political manoeuvring that’s about to play out in Us Against You. Read more