Author : Fredrik Backman
Title : Us Against You
Series : Björnstad #2
Pages : 448
Publisher : Michael Joseph Books
Publication date : June 14, 2018
A small, broken town sits on the edge of a frozen lake surrounded by a forest, its wounds still raw from a tragedy that tore its fragile community in two.
Beartown has lost its way. Now the cold and dark that surround the snowbound town creep in, and so do new conflicts and tensions. What was once a friendly rivalry with the neighbouring town is beginning to turn sinister and Beartown braces itself for another tragic blow.
How far will the people of Beartown go to preserve their reputations for a second, deadly time?
Something happens to me when I start reading a Fredrik Backman novel. A sort of chemistry I can’t quite explain. It almost feels like falling in love with the words and the characters. There’s something incredibly magical about Backman’s writing. Even when it seems little is happening, I find myself completely enthralled as if I’m under a spell.
Us Against You is the sequel to the fabulous Beartown/The Scandal, which ended up being my favourite book last year. Picking up after the dramatic events, it only took me a few seconds to become reacquainted with the forest, the town and its residents. The town is struggling in the aftermath of the big scandal and the ice hockey club is threatened with closure due to a lack of players and sponsors. But if Beartown doesn’t have its club, what does it have? What is left when the heart of the town stops beating?
Us Against You is sometimes moving and quite heartbreaking. At times it managed to leave a smile on my face, other times I had a massive lump in my throat. The story is always realistic, its characters believable while constantly showing the worst and the best side of mankind, making it incredibly thought-provoking and also hopeful.
Fredrik Backman is a wonderful storyteller. It almost feels as if you’re sitting in a pub with someone who’s telling you the story of Beartown and I once again became utterly invested in the lives of these characters, hurting with them and rooting for them. They wormed their way into my heart from the start and I won’t be forgetting any of them in a hurry.
Beautifully written and incredibly captivating, Us Against You is as much of a gem as Beartown/The Scandal is and it has caused another massive book hangover. I’m quietly hoping for a third instalment in this series. There are more stories to tell, I’m sure, but quite frankly, I’d take any excuse to return to Beartown. In the meantime, I’ll be trying very hard to catch up on some of Fredrik Backman’s other novels.
My thanks to the publisher for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley.
Us Against You is available to buy!