book review · books · dedication · Family · hockey · reading

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman {Review}


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.


Once again Backman strings your emotions along as we return to the beloved Beartown and hockey. Okay, if you haven’t read Beartown, I suggest that you add it to your TBR soon. I did a review of it earlier this year and even if sports stories aren’t your thing, you can still enjoy the story. Okay back to the book at hand, I didn’t think that Beartown needed a sequel but none the less, I was excited to learn that there was going to be one. I didn’t know where Backman could take the story considering the first book looked into the future of some of the characters, but he managed to pull it off. I didn’t enjoy this novel quite as much as I enjoyed Beartown, but it was still a good story. I felt that the style of writing changed some with this novel, but I could be alone with that opinion. It is still a well written story. I have to say that even though this is a sequel, it could be read by itself.

Although I appreciated a look into some of the minor characters from Beartown, there were moments I felt the story was too drawn out. Once again, I fell in love with Benji and Amat and wanted to protect them as best as I could. With this story we are given more information on “The Pack” and given another character to fall in love with, Vidir. Who doesn’t love the outcast or the underdog? Alongside with characters that you fall in love with, you seem to always have those who make you want to shake them. Mostly it was the adults who made me want to shake them.

The story moves along at a decent pace but there were some parts I wanted to move a bit faster, especially toward the end of the book. Once I got to the end however, I could see that the rest of the story was just a build up for the climax. Let me tell you, I could hardly make it thru because my emotions were going all over the place. The end of the novel is probably my least favorite out of all Backman’s novels.

With that being said, am I disappointed that I read it? No, I am not and yes, I would still recommend it to those who enjoyed Beartown.

This is the type of story that makes you think about growing up, the difficulties that children face, and the moments of doubt that parents may have, and sacrifice. In the end, we see how important family is and how loyalty plays a role in life on and off the ice.


3 stars


Available now in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook.

book review · Family · hockey

Beartown by Fredrik Backman {Review}



Goodreads Blurb:

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever-encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded town. And that rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior hockey team is about to compete in the national championships, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of the town now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
A victory would send star player Kevin onto a brilliant professional future in the NHL. It would mean everything to Amat, a scrawny fifteen-year-old treated like an outcast everywhere but on the ice. And it would justify the choice that Peter, the team’s general manager, and his wife, Kira, made to return to his hometown and raise their children in this beautiful but isolated place.
Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semifinal match is the catalyst for a violent act that leaves a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Hers is a story no one wants to believe since the truth would mean the end of the dream. Accusations are made, and like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

My Review:

I will admit although I love Fredrik Backman’s writing style, I was a bit leery about reading this book because it is focused around hockey and I am not a big fan of hockey. Well, I joined yet another social media forum dedicated to books called Litsy and decided to participate in this month’s read-along and Beartown was the novel. Boy, am I glad that I did.

This book captivates you with the first chapter which is literally only a few lines long but because of Backman’s writing style, more isn’t needed. This story develops around Beartown and it’s youth hockey teams. Hockey is the heart of this town like football would be in other towns. As the story develops you get the feeling that this youth hockey team carries the fate of the town on its shoulders. The A-team has a big game coming up and if they win it could mean more opportunities for the town itself. The boys have been groomed to be winners. They train hard and play even harder. About a week before their big game, Kevin, one of the best players on the team throws a party while his parents are out of town. At this party there is an incident. Although nothing is said right away about it, there is a witness to the incident. Of course at this party, drugs and alcohol are involved.

Everyone involved in this particular incident tries to go on as if nothing has happened but then the dam breaks and the secret is brought to life, the day of the big game for the team and their star player is taken away. Once the secret is brought to life, you get to see how far some of the people in the town are willing to go to protect their hockey program.

This story also makes you question loyalty. How far are you willing to go to be loyal. What type of loyalty should you have and does loyalty not involve being loyal to yourself?

The town in divided with some thinking and feeling kids will be kids and the other half who doesn’t feel that way are too scared to speak up on what they think is right. How far should adults go when trying to protect their children or even just their own livelihood? You get to witness parents sacrifice everything they have and believe in. You see parents who question their own parenting styles. Blind eyes are turned, deaf ears are tuned in.

Backman’s writing style and development of the story grabs you and takes you on an intense ride that you don’t want to end. He also writes stories that make you think.

This story features bullying, intimidation, fear, strength, courage, secrets and most of all family dynamic.

I highly recommend this novel for fans of Backman and even those who haven’t read his writing yet. This is a story that is happening everywhere in real life and needs to be addressed one way or another.

I gave this book 4.5 stars and I am looking forward to the sequel.


Available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audio from wherever you purchase books.