Us Against You was my most anticipated read of the year, it is the sequel to Beartown (also published as The Scandal).
Can a broken town survive a second tragedy? The follow-up to the international bestseller Beartown.
Beartown is dying . . .
Tucked in a forest in the frozen north, Beartown’s residents are tough and hardworking. They don’t expect life to be easy, but they do expect it to be fair.
Which is why the sudden loss of their hockey players to the rival town of Hed hurts. Everyone needs something to cheer for in the long winter nights. Now they have nothing.
So when a new star player arrives, Coach Peter sees an opportunity to rebuild the team – to take on Hed and restore Beartown’s fortunes. But not everyone in town sees it his way.
As the big game between both towns approaches, the rivalry turns bitter and all too real. Once the stands rumbled with threats to ‘kill’ and ‘ruin’ each other, but the residents didn’t mean it. Now they do.
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.
As far as sequels go, this is one of the best I’ve ever read! Once you get past the first 30% that is, because this one starts slowly, worryingly so, but it all came so right in the end. This novel is the sequel to Beartown and it is a must that you read them in order. In Beartown, this small Swedish town was brought to its knees, rocked by a tragedy and a scandal; Us Against You is the consequences, the fallout of last season, on and off the ice.
Like its predecessor, Us Against You is incredibly atmospheric and extremely well-written – you’re captivated by this small town and you feel their emotions as if they’re your own. You’ll meet a large number of the characters from the first book, so you’ll love them already, your heart will break for them again, you’ll cry for them, but most importantly, on and off the ice, you’ll cheer for them.
The main difference between this novel and Beartown is that the fall of this town isn’t centred around one event, the town is already broken; some residents are trying to put it back together, while others are just trying to survive. And when this town is at its weakest, we see how easy it is to be manipulated, politically, for Peter loves his club and, as general manager, he will do all he can to see Beartown play one more season.
What’s so special about this book is how emotionally charged it is, how invested in the lives of these characters you are. Backman is an incredibly talented author, when you read this book, you will zone out of your surroundings and be present only in Beartown, such is the strength of the writing. Can someone give Backman an award for writing the most quotable book of the year! And can someone give Neil Smith and award for his incredible translation from the Swedish!
I think the most important thing to remember when you pick up this book is, it isn’t Beartown, I don’t think anyone, not even Backman himself, could ever recreate Beartown, it is one of my favourite books of all time. But what Us Against You is, is a fantastic sequel that carries the essence of Beartown, it is not a duplicate, it’s the next chapter.