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Beartown
Cover of Beartown
Beartown
A Novel
New York Times bestseller
  • The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

    "You'll love this engrossing novel." —People

    "Backman is a masterful writer, his characters familiar yet distinct, flawed yet heroic....There are scenes that bring tears, scenes of gut-wrenching despair, and moments of sly humor....A thoroughly empathetic examination of the fragile human spirit." —Kirkus Reviews
    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 this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

    Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

    Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.
  • New York Times bestseller
  • The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

    "You'll love this engrossing novel." —People

    "Backman is a masterful writer, his characters familiar yet distinct, flawed yet heroic....There are scenes that bring tears, scenes of gut-wrenching despair, and moments of sly humor....A thoroughly empathetic examination of the fragile human spirit." —Kirkus Reviews
    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 this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

    Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

    Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.
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    About the Author-
    • Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove (soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.
    Reviews-
    • Publisher's Weekly

      February 27, 2017
      The bestselling author of A Man Called Ove tells a poignant story of a hockey town paralyzed by scandal. Jobs are disappearing and Beartown is slowly dying, so for its citizens, hockey is everything. Backman asks, “Why does everyone care about hockey? Because hockey tells stories.” This is the story not just of hockey, but of a 15-year-old named Maya Andersson, whose father, Peter, the general manager of the hockey club, loves hockey, but loves his family more. Seventeen-year-old Kevin Erdahl is the star of Beartown, with a chance to go professional. One night, after a huge win, Maya goes to a raucous party at Kevin’s house and is thrilled at his attention, but things get out of hand, and what takes place changes Beartown forever. Lest readers think hockey is the star here, it’s Backman’s rich characters that steal the show, and his deft handling of tragedy and its effects on an insular town. While the story is dark at times, love, sacrifice, and the bonds of friendship and family shine through, ultimately offering hope and even redemption. Backman veers close to the saccharine, but readers may be too spellbound to notice.

    • Kirkus

      March 1, 2017
      In Beartown, where the people are as "tough as the forest, as hard as the ice," the star player on the beloved hockey team is accused of rape, and the town turns upon itself.Swedish novelist Backman's (A Man Called Ove, 2014, etc.) story quickly becomes a rich exploration of the culture of hockey, a sport whose acolytes see it as a violent liturgy on ice. Beartown explodes after rape charges are brought against the talented Kevin, son of privilege and influence, who's nearly untouchable because of his transcendent talent. The victim is Maya, the teenage daughter of the hockey club's much-admired general manager, Peter, another Beartown golden boy, a hockey star who made it to the NHL. Peter was lured home to bring winning hockey back to Beartown. Now, after years of despair, the local club is on the cusp of a championship, but not without Kevin. Backman is a masterful writer, his characters familiar yet distinct, flawed yet heroic. Despite his love for hockey, where fights are part of the game, Peter hates violence. Kira, his wife, is an attorney with an aggressive, take-no-prisoners demeanor. Minor characters include Sune, "the man who has been coach of Beartown's A-team since Peter was a boy," whom the sponsors now want fired. There are scenes that bring tears, scenes of gut-wrenching despair, and moments of sly humor: the club president's table manners are so crude "you can't help wondering if he's actually misunderstood the whole concept of eating." Like Friday Night Lights, this is about more than youth sports; it's part coming-of-age novel, part study of moral failure, and finally a chronicle of groupthink in which an unlikely hero steps forward to save more than one person from self-destruction. A thoroughly empathetic examination of the fragile human spirit, Backman's latest will resonate a long time.

      COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

    • Library Journal

      December 1, 2016
      The isolated Bjornstad (that's Beartown, non-Swedish speakers) is collapsing under the burden of unemployment and desperately needs its amateur hockey team to win the junior ice hockey championship. Then, during a boisterous celebration after an important win, something happens between star player Kevin and the coach's daughter that threatens everyone's dreams. Clearly echoing the New York Times best-selling Backman's No. 1 LibraryReads pick, Britt-Marie Was Here.

      Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

    • School Library Journal

      September 1, 2017

      In rural Sweden, a team of junior hockey players are on the cusp of changing everything for Beartown. If the players can win the championship, the small town may attract new businesses, improve its ailing economy, and recover its dignity. Everyone, from the local bar owner to the mother who cleans the rink, is linked to the boys and has a stake in whether they win or lose, making the teammates demigods within the community. After a night of celebrating a memorable semifinals win, the star player is accused of raping the general manager's daughter. The community must decide between holding the alleged rapist accountable, and thereby forfeiting their chances at success, and overlooking the crime. While this book has Backman's deep character development, it has none of the lightheartedness or mysticism of his previous best sellers, such as A Man Called Ove. This is a serious look at how the actions of one or two people can affect an entire town. VERDICT This title deserves a place on high school shelves for its complex characters and tight narrative. Schools with avid hockey fans won't want to miss it.-Krystina Kelley, Belle Valley School, Belleville, IL

      Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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