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Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

Us Against You

by Fredrik Backman

Series: Beartown (2)

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3654144,127 (4.22)41



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Book on CD narrated by Marin Ireland

Backman returns to Beartown to explore what happens in the aftermath of the first book’s stunning events. I think that readers who have not experienced Beartown could still read and enjoy this book on its own, but it will definitely make more sense if you’ve read the first book before delving into this one.

On the plus side, I love the way that Backman writes these characters, how he reveals them through their actions and reactions to one another. People react without much thought, other times they are deliberate and careful. Sometimes they cling to old loyalties blindly. Other times they switch allegiance on a whim. Some are lost in their troubles and stuck in old ways. Others forge ahead blindly, refusing to dwell on the past or even really consider the consequences.

I also love the way Backman follows the story arc. He moves back and forth between characters’ points of view as he tells the story of the town. Yet the story is always moving forward, keeping me enthralled and interested.

What I didn’t like so much … the constant “telling.” Backman can’t resist telling me what people feel, how they think, why this or that is important or critical, what might happen. Trust your readers; if you present the characters, flaws and strengths alike, the reader will understand how they feel, why they behave as they do. You don’t have to spell it out.

Marin Ireland does an excellent job of narrating the audiobook. She has a lot of characters to handle: men, women, teens, elderly, officious jerks and tender hearts. She brings all of them to life and clearly differentiates them. ( )
  BookConcierge | Mar 18, 2019 |
The backdrop of the story is hockey, but there is so much more to it than that. This is the second book in the Beartown series and it is best that you read the first one as everything that happens in this book is a result of the actions taken in the first one. Beartown is a small town in the forest. The factory is laying people off, many are unemployed, there are drugs, lots of alcoholics and hockey. Many of the players from Beartown hockey, switched to the team in Hed, Beartown's hated rivals, after the rape that occurred in the last book. In the sequel to Beartown, Fredrik Backman explores what happens as a consequence of this unspeakable act, how everyone involved tries to pick up the pieces of their lives: the boy, the girl, her family and the town. In this book, a sneaky, local politician, Richard Theo, has dreams of bigger and better things for his political career. He starts calling in favours to rebuild the team and buy the factory to bring back jobs. He brings in a female coach, spreads rumors to manipulate people, gets everyone upset with everyone else. The team pulls together, but will this save the town.

I was emotionally moved while reading this story. There were family dramas, bullying, small town politics, gangs, homosexuality and its effects on self and others, dealing with loss, friendship and so much more. The characters or Benji, Bobo, Amat, Maya, Ana, Leo and even Teemu are very well developed. We find out more about their past and what makes them tick. The paths they take as they deal with what life has thrown at them and how they help one another are a major part of the story. The others in their families, Benji's sisters and Bobo's father are wonderfully supportive family members that are also dealing with major upheaval in their lives. When the hockey rivalry is racheted up a notch the book takes on a life of its own. I do not want to give away the plot so will not describe any more than I have, but take my word for it.

Fredrik Backman has become one of my favourite authors. He shows his amazing talent as he moves from one character to the next, as he creates a suspense and drama, which has the reader waiting for something awful to happen. As we get to know the thoughts and feelings of the many characters, and listen to their simple phrases that depict their thoughts on unconditional parental love, the depth of friendship, marriage and ambition, expectations, rivalry, loyalty, love and hate it makes the reader think deeply. There are so many wonderful quotes that I love in this book, but I will leave you with this one: "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.” The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley. ( )
1 vote Carlathelibrarian | Feb 5, 2019 |
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman is a sequel to Beartown. A broader approach and the introduction of politics and economics pull the book away from the intensity of the personal emotional connection of the first book. In some ways, this book is completely not what I expected. Other Frederick Backman books have been so focused on the emotions of individual stories that completely envelop you into the tale. This one still has moments in which it speaks to me, just less so than the others.

Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2019/02/us-against-you.html

Reviewed for NetGalley. ( )
  njmom3 | Feb 4, 2019 |
I struggled with 4 or 5 stars for this one, but I decided to give it 5 stars because of its powerful story. At times, I thought that the story was taking a long time, but it is such a powerful message of love and hate, of losing our way and then finding out who we are, of love lost and found, of being a survivor, of what we are willing to give, and at what cost. I think I will be thinking about this book for a very long time.
Us Against You is the sequel to Beartown, and it is a very worthy sequel! ( )
  rmarcin | Jan 22, 2019 |
What a sequel! It is just as intense and good as Beartown. Us Against You picks up after Beartown ends with the summer before the next hockey season. We find out what happens to the characters from Beartown. The rivalry between Beartown and Hed grows as the first game approaches. Leaders emerge while those who want to be leaders don't have the necessary qualities to become leaders. One politician gets very involved in the hockey club and plays everyone against the other. We see others with new eyes and we meet new members of the community.

I loved this series. I would like to see these people in 10 years time and see what happened to them. I know I kept saying not this one or that one when it looked as if something bad was going to happen. Not every life is successful. Some lose what they worked so hard for. Some find acceptance while others find more alienation. There was a lot of truth in this book. Sune was right when he said, "We are the community." Never were truer words spoken. Everything that happens, every word spoken, every thought good or bad is in our communities and it is what we foster in words and action that determine what the community is. Us Against You is a mirror that reflects back what we all are. Excellent! ( )
  Sheila1957 | Jan 20, 2019 |
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"Beartown is home to tough, hardworking people who don't expect life to be easy or fair ... It's a cruel blow when they hear that Beartown ice hockey might 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 the neighboring town of Hed, take in that fact. As the tension mounts between the two adversaries, a newcomer arrives who gives Beartown hockey a surprising new coach and a chance at a comeback ... As the big game approaches, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities pile up and their mutual contempt intensifies. By the time the last goal is scored, a resident of Beartown will be dead, and the people of both towns will be forced to wonder if, after everything, the game they love can ever return to something as simple and innocent as a field of ice, two nets, and two teams"--Amazon.com.… (more)

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