By Fredrik Backman
Published April 2017
Source: Borrowed from friend :)
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 town. And that rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior hockey team is about to compete in the national championships, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of the town now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
A victory would send star player Kevin onto a brilliant professional future in the NHL. It would mean everything to Amat, a scrawny fifteen-year-old treated like an outcast everywhere but on the ice. And it would justify the choice that Peter, the team's general manager, and his wife, Kira, made to return to his hometown and raise their children in this beautiful but isolated place.
Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semifinal match is the catalyst for a violent act that leaves a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Hers is a story no one wants to believe since the truth would mean the end of the dream. Accusations are made, and like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.
SO many people have been recommending this book to me since it was released. People whose recommendations I trust. WHY didn't I read it sooner?! I love hockey, so I'm surprised it didn't draw my attention sooner. My bestie let me borrow her copy, and I devoured the book in less than 48 hours. I absolutely LOVED this book!
The writing style was fantastic. The book was from a third person omniscient narrator--which allowed for multiple points of view without the every other chapter format that is so common these days. This style perfectly suited this book because there were a LOT of characters.
This book explored some very intense subjects, all centered around the junior hockey team as they compete in the national championship. At first glance, this appears to be a sports book--but it is so much more than that. Lots of trigger warnings here-rape, victim blaming, and others--but also themes of community, family, and what it means to be a team. It's an emotional read that makes you think long after you finish the book. There's so much depth to the story.
I've read others found the beginning slow, which might be due to the fact there are so many characters to keep track of. I didn't have this experience--I loved it from the start. This book is an absolute must read!