Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a good weekend!! Ours was busy, but fulfilling. We spent a lot of time as family at playgrounds and riding bikes. It was a true spring weekend with wind and sun on our faces and though it was a bit tiring, it makes me feel excited for the summer.
Even though tomorrow is the Show us Your Books link up with Steph & Jana and I’ll be sharing short reviews on all the books I read in the last month, today I wanted to share my thoughts on an amazing book I finished last night. This was one of my most highly anticipated reads of the year (along with Kingdom of the Blind which doesn’t come out until November!!) and I was overjoyed to read it prior to its publication.
Last year, I read Beartown and that was my first exposure to Fredrik Backman’s writing. To say I was impressed would be a huge understatement. I’ve read all of his backlog now except for Britt-Marie was Here (which is on my list!) and I have loved them all, but Beartown will always be special to me. That being said – this sequel was equally as good if not better in some parts than Beartown for me. The writing was gorgeous and he has such a way with words. Following along with all of the characters in the aftermath of the events of Beartown was heart-wrenching, but also hopeful. A few of the new characters were really interesting and the political aspect of this book added a new level of intrigue. Of course, hockey is another major part of this book as well though there is a new coach this time around.
Almost all of the characters from before are present in this book: Bobo, Amat, Benji!!!, Maya, Ana, and the Anderssons. What I loved about these characters: Bobo’s family (so emotional but so sweet), Amat: his strength and his values and his friendships, Benji – I can’t go into a lot of detail without spoilers but his character is what I live for when I read and he was SO good here, Maya + Ana and their friendship, Leo, Kira, Peter – they were all such interesting and flawed and realistic characters who were dealing with realistic problems. The way Backman writes these characters is amazing. Just when you start to really root for or “side with” one of the characters, he shows you things from another one’s point of view and then you’re unsure again about who to side with. I love that about this book.
I don’t even know what to say about this book besides the fact that it is 100% worth the read and So, SO exceptionally well done. I have friends who have tried to read Backman’s books and didn’t love them (understandable! to each his own!) and this particularly seems to apply to A Man Called Ove. I also know that Beartown wasn’t for everyone because of the focus on hockey in the plot (which again, is present here) but I implore all of you to give this trilogy a chance. I do like hockey, so I suppose I am a bit biased that way, but it is just such a means to an ends in this incredible book about a small community and the effects of rivalry and politics on all of the members of the community.
It was emotional, intense, and lovely. I cried several times and felt visceral reactions to some of the unbelievable events on these pages. I only recommend that you absolutely read Beartown first before picking this one up.
Thank you to Ariele Freedman of Atria Books and Netgalley for the advanced review copy of this book. It exceeded my expectations which were already remarkably high and I can’t wait for the third in this trilogy. This book hits shelves on Tuesday June 5.