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Beartown
2017
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Summary
"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

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.

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.
Trade Reviews
School Library Journal Review
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. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
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.--Haggas, Carol Copyright 2017 Booklist
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