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.
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“The sentimentally savvy Backman takes a sobering and solemn look at the ways alienation and acceptance, ethics and emotions nearly destroy a small town and young people.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Ice hockey unifies a remote Nordic community in Beartown by Frederik Backman, the Swedish writer known for the international bestseller A Man Called Ove. The obsession with winning is responsible for the novel’s thrills – in the fashion of underdog sports dramas, the games tend to be decided by last-minute goals – but also for its abrupt and tragic turn.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“The best-selling phenomenon Fredrik Backman delivers what is sure to be another heart-warming bestseller. He made his name with some quirky old people but here Backman focuses in on teenagers. In a fictional spin on “Friday Night Lights,” Beartown is about how the hopes and dreams of a dying small town are wholly invested in their local high school hockey team and the chance they might actually win the national semi-finals match and then...who knows? Gentle, humorous, open-hearted, like all of Backman.....”