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BOOK CLUB BUNDLES

Hi, I’m Lauren. The Library will provide books for your book club. Our book club bundles include 10 copies of the same title, along with a discussion guide. Check out available bundles when visiting the Library, or fill out the form below! Patrons can reserve book club bundles up to six months in advance. Our book club bundles are stored on the second floor for the public to browse and check out. Contact us at bookclub@gpld.org or call us at 630-232-0780 if you have questions.


Beartown

by Fredrik Backman

GENRE: Mainstream Fiction

Beartown pins its hopes for the dying town’s revitalization on the amateur hockey team winning the junior championship. The boys on the team are heroes in Beartown. When one of the team members commits a violent act against a girl, the community is shattered. A sensitive and thoughtful treatment of a story that is all too common.

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author biography

Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, and Anxious People, as well as two novellas and one work of nonfiction. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.  - Author's website

More titles by this author.

reviews

Booklist

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.  -- Carol Haggas (Reviewed 03/01/2017)

Publisher's Weekly

The bestselling author of A Man Called Ove tells a poignant story of a hockey town paralyzed by scandal. Jobs are disappearing and Beartown is slowly dying, so for its citizens, hockey is everything. Backman asks, “Why does everyone care about hockey? Because hockey tells stories.” This is the story not just of hockey, but of a 15-year-old named Maya Andersson, whose father, Peter, the general manager of the hockey club, loves hockey, but loves his family more. Seventeen-year-old Kevin Erdahl is the star of Beartown, with a chance to go professional. One night, after a huge win, Maya goes to a raucous party at Kevin’s house and is thrilled at his attention, but things get out of hand, and what takes place changes Beartown forever. 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. Backman veers close to the saccharine, but readers may be too spellbound to notice. (Apr.)

Kirkus Reviews

In Beartown, where the people are as "tough as the forest, as hard as the ice," the star player on the beloved hockey team is accused of rape, and the town turns upon itself. Swedish novelist Backman's (A Man Called Ove, 2014, etc.) story quickly becomes a rich exploration of the culture of hockey, a sport whose acolytes see it as a violent liturgy on ice. Beartown explodes after rape charges are brought against the talented Kevin, son of privilege and influence, who's nearly untouchable because of his transcendent talent. The victim is Maya, the teenage daughter of the hockey club's much-admired general manager, Peter, another Beartown golden boy, a hockey star who made it to the NHL. Peter was lured home to bring winning hockey back to Beartown. Now, after years of despair, the local club is on the cusp of a championship, but not without Kevin. Backman is a masterful writer, his characters familiar yet distinct, flawed yet heroic. Despite his love for hockey, where fights are part of the game, Peter hates violence. Kira, his wife, is an attorney with an aggressive, take-no-prisoners demeanor. Minor characters include Sune, "the man who has been coach of Beartown’s A-team since Peter was a boy," whom the sponsors now want fired. There are scenes that bring tears, scenes of gut-wrenching despair, and moments of sly humor: the club president's table manners are so crude "you can't help wondering if he's actually misunderstood the whole concept of eating." 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. (Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2017)
 

School Library Journal

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 --Krystina Kelley (Reviewed 09/01/2017) (School Library Journal, vol 63, issue 9, p154)

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