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(Beartown #1)

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  318,112 ratings  ·  36,792 reviews
Now an HBO Original Series

“You’ll love this engrossing novel.” —People

Named a Best Book of the Year by LibraryReads, BookBrowse, and Goodreads

From 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 t
ebook, 432 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by Atria Books (first published September 15th 2016)
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Fredrik Backman
Fredrik Backman - Exclusive Author Notes & Highlights for Beartown

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Average rating 4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  318,112 ratings  ·  36,792 reviews

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Chelsea Humphrey
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I'm sure anyone who has either read this book or heard anything about it by now realizes this is a huge departure for Backman from his usual tale. About a month ago I was recording a podcast with the lovely Anne Bogel and one of the recommendations she gave me was to read Beartown. While we all know Backman for his uplifting fiction that is both touching and emotional, this was described to me as "a serious, heavy read that lacked his whimsical trademark". There are few things I love more than r ...more
Wow!--Just, wow! Every once in a while you stumble upon a book that takes you by surprise, becoming far more meaningful than you ever anticipated. 'Beartown' is precisely that type of book. Bravo, Mr. Backman!

When 'Beartown' first started showing up on so many of my friends' feeds, I was mildly curious. Not being a sports fan, by any stretch of the imagination, I filed it away in the back of my mind in the "maybe one day" category. Knowing only that it centered on a junior hockey team in a smal
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm the outlier again, I guess. I DID like this but didn't love it as many readers clearly did. Backman certainly has a gift for developing characters that feel real and for creating atmosphere, but I didn't love the narrative structure he uses here. He has a large cast of rotating characters and each character has a brief mini story arc that often (too often for me) concludes with the equivalent of a Jack Handey "Deep Thought" or a grave pronouncement that is contrived to make you nod knowingly ...more
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
i still have yet to read a book that so beautifully and realistically captures what it means to be human better than this story.
and i will forever have love for the boy with sad eyes and a wild heart. <3

now THIS is how you tell a story.

the writing is definitely the strength of this book and it makes me wish i was fluent in swedish, because i know it would be an even more remarkable story in its native/original language (if thats even possible).

reading this book feels
Update Sept 2021: Again: Bang bang bang bang bang bang.
Why? Because sometimes your favorite characters of all time, soothe the soul and in case it's not obvious, I love the Bears from Beartown. Benji.

Update Re-Read: Nov 2020 - Because sometimes, your favorite characters give you everything you need and in case it's not obvious, I bleed Bear. Benji: You have my heart.

Update FIVE STAR Feb 2019 Review (re-read):
Because it’s LOVE, plain and simple.

Have you ever had a book stay with you? Has it ev
Elyse Walters
"For people who have never lived where darkness and cold are the norm, where else is the exception, it is hard to understand that it is possible to find someone who has frozen to death with their jacket open, or even naked. But when you get really cold your blood-vessels contract and your heart does all it can to stop blood reaching the frozen parts of your body and then coming back to your heart cold.
Not unlike a hockey team suffering a penalty and playing at a numerical disadvantage:
Miranda Reads
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Read this one for TCE Book Club!

Everyone has a thousand wishes before a tragedy, but just one afterward.
Beartown, a small town in the middle of the forest, has been on its way out for years.

Businesses are leaving, layoffs are happening and people are fleeing for anywhere but there.

But, there is one thing that holds everyone together - the junior ice hockey team. People may say that it's crazy to pin all your hopes and dreams on a hockey team, but they don't understand.
Never trust peop
"People round here don't always know the difference between right and wrong. But we know the difference between good and evil."

Fredrik Backman is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. His characters and storytelling are practically perfect. I can easily recommend this book to anyone.

There are so many different facets to this book. Questions of morality and loyalty, passion over logic, and right vs wrong. No path through the story is easy and no solution obvious. The background story of ev
Larry H
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Here's a little bit of a confession: while I really enjoyed Fredrik Backman's book A Man Called Ove , and the charming curmudgeon who was its main character, I have found in recent years that there seems to be a glut of charming yet misunderstood curmudgeons doddering their way through modern fiction.

So despite people's warm feelings about Backman's next two books, I passed, because I have enough to worry about becoming a (hopefully) charming curmudgeon someday soon. However, I did pounce on
Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥
”Late one evening towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead, and pulled the trigger.

This is the story of how we got there.”


It’s been two weeks since I finished this book (or did the book finish me?!) and I still haven’t managed to get over the experience of “Beartown”. Truth be told, I think I never will. This is a book that stays with you. It buries itself into yo
Nilufer Ozmekik
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A small Swedish town in a forest maybe in the middle of nowhere or anywhere you can imagine because it doesn’t exist till the hockey rejuvenates the town, puts the spotlights to enlighten the place, and gives the joy, encouragement, reasons to live for to its people… (Families, kids, residents gather together to a common purpose)

Hockey games are not just the games for town’s people regardless race, age, gender, culture, beliefs, classes help them to feel the joy and togetherness by chanting, sc
4.5 out of 5 stars to Beartown, a 2016 contemporary novel by Fredrik Backman. Although the book had a bit of a difficult start for me, it developed into an emotionally-charged hot bed, triggering anger and frustration over so many things about the human race... and I'm quite glad I read it and enjoyed it. But wow... I haven't a visceral emotional reaction to words like this in a very long time.

Why This Book
Beartown began showing up on a few of my Goodreads' friends booklists earlier
Beartown(Beartown,#1) by Fredrik Backman
Parenting, friendships, prejudices, love, cruelty.From gender prejudices to parental love, from teenage fears to ethnic differences, this novel has it all, revolving around a dark tragedy which very few but the brave will confront. A story that has it all and yet described in such a simple way that is truly amazing. A great story about humanity and survival.
Everyone has a thousand wishes before a tragedy, but just one afterward.

Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
**Reread - I’m going back to my original 3 stars

Late one evening, toward the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barreled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else's forehead, and pulled the trigger.

This is the story of how we got there.

At first I wasn't really getting into this book. I don't know why because:

1) I love the author
2) I love hockey
3) I love coming of age stories
4) I love the cold
5) I love small towns. I was born in one.

It finally got to where I lik
Ninoska Goris
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favoritos, leido-2017
English - Español

Not always, although more in the last year, I buy over hyped books. They are not always as good as they seem. But I decided to give a try to Beartown and oh, blew me away.

I am not someone outside sports and I understand the sacrifices that have to be made to achieve goals. When I was a teenager I practiced swimming. We had a national preselection competition. I got the flu and I kept swimming even with fever, because that was demanded from me. I ended up with bronchopneumonia an
Always Pouting
Beartown is a small town in the forest with a dwindling population and ever decreasing resources. Beartown is also a hockey town where the sport's importance only increases when it begins to become tied into the financial future of the town. When the junior team is actually poised to win the finals this year the whole town starts to become hopeful about the future. Things become tense in this environment when a violent act is perpetrated by one of the boys on the team the night of the semi-final ...more
Apr 19, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beartown (Beartown #1)
by Fredrik Backman, Marin Ireland (Narrator)

Beartown is nothing, if not a hockey town. But the town has been dying for a long time and the only chance of saving Beartown is if the junior hockey team can pull off a win at the national semi-finals and then pull off a win at the finals. Doing so will draw in the big sponsors, bring a brand new rink to the town, and change the entire future of a town that is going nowhere but down.

So when a teen girl is attacked by someone imp
Angela M (On a little break)
Hockey. What did I care about hockey? I didn't. But the novel soon becomes about more than just the sport, about so much more than I can articulate in a review without giving too much away, but I'll try. Backman tells us early on what I was about to discover for myself.

"Why does anyone care about hockey?
Because it tells stories. "

Beartown is a small Swedish town in a forest that could be a small town anywhere. Maybe the sport in these towns is baseball or soccer or football. But here it is
Oct 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, it’s no secret that Fredrik Backman has become my favorite author, and Beartown is just a wonderful example of why. His writing style results in dozens of memorable lines, describing humans in a way that few others can. Using hockey as a central focus for this story just cemented this as a classic for me. Can’t wait to read the next part of this story…
Jennifer Masterson
*This is an audio version review of Beartown.*

Holy cow! I never expected to love this book. I'm not a sports person let alone a hockey person. Thanks to my Goodreads friends I took a chance on it. I'm so glad I did! 5 Stars for Beartown! This book grabbed me from the very beginning and never let go. Bang bang bang is still in my head!

Beartown is about a declining small town in Sweden that revolves around it's hockey team. There are so many characters in this book, including current hockey playe
Benji puts his weight down on his foot. The good one this time, not the broken one. "I just want to play." Peter laughs. "Okay but, God, Benji, with your talent and your passion, you could really be something. I mean, seriously. You could be playing at an elite level in a couple of years. Hed Hockey are going to have a fantastic team, financial resources, you'll have much better opportunities to develop there." Benji gives a nonchalant shrug. His answer is as short as it is uncompromising: "But ...more
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
4.5 stars. I am going to be all up in my feels over this one for a LONG time. Fuck 😭

TW: rape, victim blaming, homophobia
5 Big Fat Wonderful Stars!

Welcome to the poor side of town. BEARTOWN is way out yonder in the middle of a forest where winter temperatures reach sub-zero and hockey is the name of the game for its struggling residents.

You don't have to be a hockey fan, or sports fan for that matter, to read BEARTOWN, you only have to (once again) sit back and enjoy the superb and addictive story telling of Fredrik Backman.

So get ready.....there's a whole gang of characters who each have their own personal storie

Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars

It’s Blemished
It’s Edgy
It’s Awestricken
It’s Resolute
It’s Tragic
It’s Otherworldly
It’s Worrisome
It’s Nightmarish

In Beartown, one thing, and only one thing is important ... their hockey team. The players are obsessed! The parents are obsessed! The residents are obsessed! Lives revolve around hockey, and if you don’t tow the line, there are plenty of buses to be thrown under. Only one result matters no matter what the cost, “WIN!!!”

The town is unfortunately a depressed, forgotten, in the m
Rebecca (on a review writing break!)
“What an uncomfortable, terrible source of shame it is for the world that the victim is so often the one left with the most empathy for others.”

In a large Swedish forest, Beartown hides a dark secret... Cut off from everywhere else it experiences the kind of isolation that tears people apart, and each year more and more of the town is swallowed by the forest. Then the town is offered a bright new future. But it’s all put in jeopardy by a single, brutal act. It divides the town into those who
“All your best qualities come from the fact that you’ve been raised in a house full of women.”

After the constant battering my heart and soul received, and the injustice of the story over took my mind, and the bleakness of it all was slowly brought forth, woven in with moments of absolute heartwarming tenderness and laughter, it was that above quote that finally broke me and I couldn’t stop crying.

I don’t know whether to expand on the synopsis or let readers discover its impact on their own.
The Scandal is the British title for Beartown, a remote northern town in Sweden, a place in a cycle of economic decline and a community with an unabashed primal tribal obsession with its junior ice hockey team. This is a dark and cold town where everyone knows everyone. A hockey team from whom much is expected and demanded, instrumental in defining the identity of a wide array of characters that inhabit this superlative novel, each providing their pivotal piece to the story. Backmann has truly o ...more
Meredith (Slowly Catching Up)
On the surface, Beartown is a book about hockey, but it’s so much more!

Beartown is about friendship, loyalty, family, and, loss. It’s about a town that’s fighting to stay alive. It’s about a girl who is wronged, and the boy who commits the wrong. It’s about a town that becomes divided over what’s right and wrong, good vs. evil, and the blurred lines in between. It’s about those little things that people do, but aren’t always seen. It's about the bravest people who break away from the pack to do
Diane S ☔
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lor
It is not just because I think this is an outstanding and insightful book. Nor because I like hockey, actually most sports, come from a sports mad family, because I do. No, my rating reflects the fact that this book engaged all my thoughts, all my emotions, in essence I identified with it in a big way. I come from a small town, like Beartown, which suffers from comparisons to the wealthier, little snobbery town to the North. Our sport is football, a sport four of my five sons played from youth o ...more
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
"You never want to get away from home as much as you do when your're fifteen years old."

Ain't that the truth?

"You can't live in this town, Maya, you can only survive it."

You are preaching to the choir here. Small towns, man. I grew up in a small town. You either know everybody or you are related to them. I could not get away fast enough. People in small towns have each others backs - until that moment when they don't. People like to choose a side. What if you chose the wrong side?

Beartown is a h
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Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove (soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. Things My Son Needs to Know About the World, his first work ...more

Other books in the series

Beartown (3 books)
  • Us Against You (Beartown, #2)
  • The Winners (Beartown, #3)

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“Hate can be a deeply stimulating emotion. The world becomes easier to understand and much less terrifying if you divide everything and everyone into friends and enemies, we and they, good and evil. The easiest way to unite a group isn't through love, because love is hard, It makes demands. Hate is simple. So the first thing that happens in a conflict is that we choose a side, because that's easier than trying to hold two thoughts in our heads at the same time. The second thing that happens is that we seek out facts that confirm what we want to believe - comforting facts, ones that permit life to go on as normal. The third is that we dehumanize our enemy.” 504 likes
“Never trust people who don't have something in their lives that they love beyond all reason.” 492 likes
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