Us Against You is the sequel to Beartown. Often you see bloggers suggesting that sequels may be read as a standalone, but this is far from true in this case. The scandal from the previous book is summarised within the first few chapters, and Beartown is certainly not a book to be missed. This review does not contain spoilers for either book.
Bang, Bang, Bang… the sound resonates through Beartown after the scandal. You can feel the hurt, the frustration, the determination behind the noise. The pucks against the wall, and the feet on the ground. Nothing has returned to normal after the scandal, and it seems nothing ever will. A town full of hate and hurt tries to carry on regardless.
As with Backman’s previous novels, you can expect the story to be emotional and dramatic. You know that someone will die, but don’t know, who, why, or what caused it. One thing is clear; people could have done more to stop it, and there will be many regrets.
A few new and interesting characters are introduced in this book. Richard Theo, the local politician who is full of ideas for running the town, and someone to both hate and feel sorry for. Zackell, a mysterious stranger who turns out to be one of my favourite characters. You never know quite how to take Zackell, who is wise and outspoken, with little emotional intelligence but plenty of impact on the town.
Fredrik Backman shares such great insight into the psychology of his characters. Every one of them is explored in detail, and no one is included without a significant contribution to the story. Even the smallest actions can make a big difference in Beartown.
This insight into the best and worst of people is what brings me back to Fredrik Backman’s books over and over again. He leaves me in tears for the heartbreaking moments, feeling compassion for the bad guys, pain for those who have been betrayed, and in awe for how he views the world through his characters eyes. I can’t wait to see what Fredrik Backman comes up with next.
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.
Read my reviews for other books by Fredrik Backman using this link: Mrs Red’s Reviews – Fredrik Backman
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