Us Against You

Us Against You

A Novel

Book - 2018
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"After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they learn their beloved local hockey team will soon be disbanded. Even more galling is the obvious pleasure that all the former Beartown players, who now play for the club in nearby Hed, feel about this news. As tensions between the two rivals rise, it falls to Peter, Beartown Hockey's general manager, to find a way to rescue the Bears. But even as Peter fights to delay the end of the club, someone else is already planning its rebirth. Elisabeth Zackell is a no-nonsense former pro-athlete, handpicked to be Beartown's new hockey coach. Shrugging off the ugly rumors about her, Zackell begins to build a new team around Amat, the fastest player you'll ever see; Benji, the crazed lone wolf; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker. Bringing the team together is a challenge, one that becomes even more difficult when Benji is outed, leaving his friends and teammates feeling betrayed by his having kept his sexuality a secret for years. Old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the rivalry with Hed grows ever more intense. As the big match approaches and winter darkness settles across both towns, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities grow more dangerous, and hatred grows deeper. When the last game is finally played, one of Beartown's key players will be dead, and residents of both towns will be forced to wonder whether, after all they've been through, the game they love can ever return to something simple: a hockey stick each, two goals, two teams; us against you, in its purest, most innocent form. Us Against You is a declaration of love for all the big and small, bright and dark stories that form and color our communities. Compelling and heart-breaking, it's a rollercoaster of emotions, and it is Fredrik Backman at his very best."--
Publisher: Toronto : Simon & Schuster, ©2018.
ISBN: 9781501163128
Characteristics: 435 pages ;,23 cm.
Additional Contributors: Smith, Neil (Neil Andrew) - Translator


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May 11, 2019

This was an amazing book, I have loved all the Frederick Bachman books but this one was simply the best.

May 04, 2019

Unlike Fox Larkin I can't help but think that this is a more natural depiction of people than when we are trying to be our more benevolent selves. Just look around at who leads many of the countries in the world and what they stand for as men. More and more it is about the win at any cost. Ethics and humanity are pretty much just words without real meaning.

Fredrik Backman just gets better and better.

Apr 16, 2019

The agony within and amongst the characters and the suspense of the plot made it difficult for me to put this one down.

Apr 05, 2019


Apr 04, 2019

While some may disagree, IMO, a tremendous author whose every word counts. Without a doubt, Beartown's characters are tortured souls whose worlds revolve around small town hockey whether they want them to or not and, yet, they somehow survive. Mr. Backman immerses the reader deeply into each character's mind and emotions and forces you to not only feel what each individual felt, but to understand and empathize as well. I will agree with some of the other reviewers that while the back and forth time sequences could be confusing, choppy, and hard to follow at times......that some of the passages were not too clear as to whom or what event he was referring, I still was moved beyond words at the raw emotions this book evoked. Even though the beginning of the book did rehash some of the events of Beartown, it was a good reminder for me of what had previously transpired.....but remember also that if someone reads this book before Beartown, they would not have the insight as to the where and why of the characters. Bottom line is that Mr. Backman is tops on my list of authors and his work is unbeatable.

Mar 23, 2019

I loved Beartown, the prequel to Us Against You: was looking forward to meeting the friends I made in the first novel: I was truly disappointed. My main objection: the intensity of the animosity between the town, between the characters themselves: the simplicity of the political corruption depicted. This novel simply just didn't work for me.

Mar 17, 2019

A review of a Fredrik Backman book in the Green Valley News (Arizona) said " Backman is the Dickens of our age, and though you'll cry, your heart is safe in his hands. "

Never is that more true than with Us Against You. It is an emotional roller coaster as the reader identifies with the angst, the pity, the joy, the "Us Against You" mentality which we too easily see and endure today. Just when you think Fredrik Backman can't or won't hurt us again, can't or won't make us ever soar again, he does.

There are so many wonderful, profound passages in Us Against You I couldn't keep up with my slips of paper marking them all.

"What are we prepared to do for our children at that moment? What aren't we prepared to do?
But the years whistle past. Fathers need to live in the moment; general managers are never allowed to. Fathers need to seize the day, because childhoods are like soap bubbles; you only get a few seconds to enjoy them."


"Deep down inside most of us would like all stories to be simple, because we want real life to be like that, too. But communities are like ice, not water. They don't suddenly flow in s new direction because you ask them to, they change inch by inch, like glaciers. Sometimes they don't move at all."

Us Against You is the follow-up to Beartown that NEEDED to be written.

"Have you ever seen a town fall? Ours did. We'll end up saying that violence came to Beartown this summer, but that will be a lie; the violence was already here. Because sometimes hating one another is so easy that it seems incomprehensible that we ever do anything else.

This has been a story about ice rinks and all the hearts that beat in and around them. About people and sports and how sometimes they take turns carrying each other. About us, dreaming and fighting. Some have fallen in love and some have been destroyed; we've had good days and some very bad ones. Beartown has cheered but it has also started to smolder. Things were heading toward a terrible explosion.

A few girls made us proud, a few boys made us great. A car drove too fast through the night. We'll say it was a road accident, but accidents are quirks of fate, and we will know that we could have prevented this one. This one will be someone else's fault, Many peoples fault. Our fault."

Beartown left us uncomfortable; it left us unsettled in our sadness. Us Against You validates our sadness and shows us the painful yet somehow hopeful way out, the way we all survive:

And the sun rises. Tomorrow, again.

I'm not entirely sure if we need a Beartown 3, but we'll discover we absolutely did need one if Fredrik Backman blesses us with another.

Everyone gets a stick. Two nets. Two teams. Us against you.

5 stars, wishing there were more to grant.

VaughanPLDavidB Mar 13, 2019

After reading Beartown, I was persuaded against my better judgement to read this one. I wish I hadn't bothered. This could have been a very good story about two towns that let a hockey rivalry get tragically out of hand. It could even have been great if the author had stuck to that. Instead, he turned it into a simplistic morality play. His first book, Beartown, teetered on the edge of that mistake, while this book jumped enthusiastically into the abyss with both feet. I would like to get a chance to tell the author how much I hate being preached at. Just tell me a good story.

Mar 03, 2019

The next book in the Beartown trilogy, Us Against You had me sad the entire ride because so much of the end of beartown is in the future, beyond the year that this story takes place in, so all the characters that I love hurt my heart even more.

Written in Backman's present/future way, Us Against You is beautiful, tragic, timely, haunting, and full of love and heartbreak.

Feb 14, 2019

I thought it was very well written but it was just too much and too long and just so in-depth.

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Dec 27, 2018

It's so easy to get people to hate one another. That's what makes love so impossible to understand. Hate is so simple that it always ought to win. It's an uneven fight.

Jun 30, 2018

“Sometimes good people do terrible things in the belief that they’re trying to protect what they love.” - pp. 1 - 2

Jun 30, 2018

“What does it take to be a good parent? Not much. Just everything. Absolutely everything.” - p. 4

Jun 30, 2018

“Sports are only sports until someone who doesn’t give a damn about sports has something to gain from them; then sports suddenly become economics.” - p. 26

Jun 30, 2018

“At some point almost everyone makes a choice. Some of us don't even notice it happening, most don't get to plan it in advance, but there's always a moment when we take one path instead of another that has consequences for the rest of our lives. It determines the people we will become, in other people's eyes as well as your own.” - p.336

Jun 30, 2018

“The complicated thing about good and bad people alike is that most of us can be both at the same time.” - p. 368

Jun 30, 2018

“..communities are like ice, not water. They don’t suddenly flow in new directions because you ask them to, they change inch by inch, like glaciers. Sometimes they don’t move at all”.

Jun 26, 2018

"Why does anyone love team sports? Because we want to be part of a group? For some people the answer is simply that a team is a family. For anyone who needs an extra one or never had one in the first place."

DBRL_ReginaF Jun 21, 2018

"He’s twelve years old, and this summer he learns that people will always choose a simple lie over a complicated truth, because the lie has one unbeatable advantage: the truth always has to stick to what actually happened, whereas the lie just has to be easy to believe."

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