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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.



Us Against You

by Fredrik Backman

GENRE: Mainstream Fiction

Tensions are high when the community members of Beartown learn they may be losing their beloved amateur hockey team. Then a new coach offers both the team and the town a chance at a comeback.

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REQUEST US AGAINST YOU

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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

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reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Shockwaves from the incidents in Beartown (2017) shake an economically depressed hockey town in this latest from the author of A Man Called Ove. Swedish novelist Backman loves an aphorism and is very good at them; evident in all his novels is an apparent ability to state a truth about humanity with breathtaking elegance. Often, he uses this same elegance to slyly misdirect his readers. Sometimes he overreaches and words that sound pretty together don't hold up to scrutiny. This novel has a plethora of all three. Grim in tone, it features an overstocked cast of characters, all of whom are struggling for self-definition. Each has previously been shaped by the local hockey club, but that club is now being defunded and resources reallocated to the club of a rival town. Some Beartown athletes follow, some don't. Lines are drawn in the sand. Several characters get played by a Machiavellian local politician who gets the club reinstated. Nearly all make poor decisions, rolling the town closer and closer to tragedy. Backman wants readers to know that things are complicated. Sure, many of Beartown's residents are bigots and bullies. But some are generous and selfless. Actually, the bigots and bullies are also generous and selfless, in certain circumstances. And Lord knows they've all had a rough time of it. The important thing to remember is that hockey is pure. Except when it inspires violence. This is an interesting tactic for a novel in our cultural moment of sensitivity, and it can feel cumbersome. "When guys are scared of the dark they're scared of ghosts and monsters," he writes. "But when girls are scared of the dark they're scared of guys." Margaret Atwood said it better and with more authority decades ago. Backman plays the story for both cynicism and hope, and his skill makes both hard, but not impossible, to resist. (Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2018).

Publisher's Weekly

Backman (A Man Called Ove) returns to the hockey-obsessed village of his previous novel Beartown to chronicle the passion, violence, resilience, and humanity of the people who live there in this engrossing tale of small-town Swedish life. As a new hockey season approaches, the Beartown team is in a precarious situation. The village was rocked after a junior team member was convicted of rape the previous spring, and the hockey club is in danger of being liquidated. General manager Peter Andersson is under intense scrutiny—particularly from one aggressive group of fans who call themselves “The Pack”—and enters into a questionable agreement with slippery local politician Richard Theo in order to save the team. When an unconventional new coach arrives, Beartown’s hopes fall on the shoulders of four untested (and possibly unreliable) teenagers. As tension between Beartown and its rival town, Hed, comes to a boiling point over hockey, jobs, and political squabbles, each member of the community confronts the same questions: “what would you do for your family? What wouldn’t you do?” Narrated by a collective “we,” Backman’s excellent novel has an atmosphere of both Scandinavian folktale and Greek tragedy. Darkness and grit exist alongside tenderness and levity, creating a blunt realism that brings the setting’s small-town atmosphere to vivid life. (June) --Staff (Reviewed 05/07/2018) (Publishers Weekly, vol 265, issue 19, p).

Library Journal

/* Starred Review */ This follow-up to Beartown is about hockey—and everything else. Here the residents of Backman's isolated Swedish town, with some new additions, resume their lives where they left off at the end of the earlier novel. Since the history of each individual is examined and outlined in turn, new readers can catch up quickly. Some minor incidents in the first book play out in this one, exploding the little mines buried in Beartown. With a penchant for foreshadowing and then foiling readers' expectations, Backman widens the vision of the setting, encompassing the rival town of Hed and its own hockey team, made up of former players from Beartown's soon-to-be disbanded league. It's just a game, two teams, sticks and pucks. Us against you, doesn't that say it all? VERDICT There is even more potential for book  group discussion here as Backman explores violence, political maneuvering, communities, feminism, sexuality, criminality, the role of sports in society, and what makes us all tick. [See Prepub Alert, 12/11/17.] --Mary K. Bird-Guilliams (Reviewed 04/15/2018) (Library Journal, vol 143, issue 7, p58).

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