Beartown A novel

Fredrik Backman, 1981-

Book - 2017

"From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here, comes a poignant, charming novel about a forgotten town fractured by scandal, and the amateur hockey team that might just change everything. Winning a junior ice hockey championship might not mean a lot to the average person, but it means everything to the residents of Beartown, a community slowly being eaten alive by unemployment and the surround...ing wilderness. A victory like this would draw national attention to the ailing town: it could attract government funding and an influx of talented athletes who would choose Beartown over the big nearby cities. A victory like this would certainly mean everything to Amat, a short, scrawny teenager who is treated like an outcast everywhere but on the ice; to Kevin, a star player just on the cusp of securing his golden future in the NHL; and to Peter, their dedicated general manager whose own professional hockey career ended in tragedy. At first, it seems like the team might have a shot at fulfilling the dreams of their entire town. But one night at a drunken celebration following a key win, something happens between Kevin and the general manager's daughter--and the next day everything seems to have changed. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected. With so much riding on the success of the team, the line between loyalty and betrayal becomes difficult to discern. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear. Fredrik Backman knows that we are forever shaped by the places we call home, and in this emotionally powerful, sweetly insightful story, he explores what can happen when we carry the heavy weight of other people's dreams on our shoulders"--

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Subjects
Published
New York : Atria Books 2017.
Language
English
Swedish
Physical Description
418 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9781501160776
9781501160769
1501160761
Main Author
Fredrik Backman, 1981- (author)
Other Authors
Neil (Neil Andrew) Smith (translator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Everyone knows Beartown is a hockey town. And everyone in Beartown knows someone who is connected to hockey, from the lonely owner of the local bar to the former athlete now managing the supermarket. In a town dying from economic decay and isolated by the surrounding wilderness, Beartown needs its junior hockey team to bring home the championship and bring in tourism and sponsorship dollars to keep the town alive. The son of a wealthy businessman and team patron, Kevin is the squad's superstar. Amat is an immigrant whose speed and skill on the ice may be his ticket to popularity. Maya is the daughter of the team's beloved general manager. When the paths of these three collide in the supercharged aftermath of a decisive game, the town's financial survival rests on the moral convictions of its most vulnerable citizens. The sentimentally savvy Backman (A Man Called Ove, 2014) takes a sobering and solemn look at the ways alienation and acceptance, ethics and emotions nearly destroy a small town. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Backman (Britt Marie Was Here) expands his quirky character base in his latest novel, which once again takes place in a remote Swedish town. Bjornstad, or Beartown, is an ice hockey town like many small American communities are football towns: no bigger event occurs than home games, where the good cheer of the supporting fans, former players, and sponsors, known as "The Pack," sometimes flares into violence against rivals. As the local youth team snags a possible chance at winning a junior championship, the narrative follows a cross-section of citizens. In their struggles with modern life, these dozen or so individuals face challenges, make decisions, and frequently surprise the reader. Backman's sketchy style always leaves his audience wanting more explanation, but he successfully draws a community portrait that manages to be both unique and universal. There is enough hockey action to satisfy sports fans and plenty of material for group discussion. VERDICT Another solid offering from best-selling Swedish author Backman, with many parallels for American readers and small towns everywhere. [See Prepub Alert, 11/7/16.]—Mary K. Bird-Guilliams, Chicago Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

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.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

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. (Apr.) Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

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.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

In a forgotten town fractured by scandal, an amateur hockey team might just be able to change everything. By the #1 New York Times best-selling author of A Man Called Ove. Reprint.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

In the forest community of Beartown, the possibility that the amateur hockey team might win a junior championship, bringing the hope of revitalization to the fading town, is shattered by the aftermath of a violent act that leaves a girl traumatized.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Now an HBO Original Series“You’ll love this engrossing novel.” —PeopleNamed a Best Book of the Year by LibraryReads, BookBrowse, and GoodreadsFrom the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anxious People, a dazzling and profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.By the lake in Beartown is an old ice rink, and in that ice rink Kevin, Amat, Benji, and the rest of the town’s junior ice hockey team are 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. Under that heavy burden, the match becomes 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. This is a story about a town and a game, but even more about loyalty, commitment, and the responsibilities of friendship; the people we disappoint even though we love them; and the decisions we make every day that come to define us. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Now an HBO Original Series'You'll love this engrossing novel.' 'PeopleNamed a Best Book of the Year by LibraryReads, BookBrowse, and GoodreadsFrom the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anxious People, a dazzling and profound novel about a small town with a big dream'and the price required to make it come true.By the lake in Beartown is an old ice rink, and in that ice rink Kevin, Amat, Benji, and the rest of the town's junior ice hockey team are 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. Under that heavy burden, the match becomes 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. This is a story about a town and a game, but even more about loyalty, commitment, and the responsibilities of friendship; the people we disappoint even though we love them; and the decisions we make every day that come to define us. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.