Cover Image: The Winners

The Winners

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Member Reviews

3.5 stars. It took a long time for me to get into this novel. In fact, I almost gave up several times due to its disjointed approach to storytelling, the flash forwards and overlapping plot lines that lacked cohesiveness, etc. But I finally got into the groove of it about 70% in. And then I could see the endearing traits of some of the main characters.
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Oh, Backman does it again. I could not stop crying at the end of this book, even though I just knew Benji was going to die. The character development, the realism, it all just tugs on my heartstrings. I usually have issues with the way that men write female characters, especially adolescent female characters, but I feel like Fredrik Backman can do anything. The section from Ruth's POV (chapter 99) is 100% accurate. We focus on the victims being to blame - what did she do wrong, boys pull pigtails because they like you, etc. EVERYTHING that Ruth wrote in her journal was how I have felt at some point in my life as a sexual assault survivor. I will always recommend this book and series to fellow readers. 

The ending tying everything together and giving the full circle picture of where each character went in his/her life was perfect. How Alicia used the last name 'Ovich' on her jersey. Maya is a superstar. Ana is saving lives. It's all a beautiful amalgam of life and death.
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I loved the first two books. This one I hard time connecting to but not sure why. It was a little long winded for my taste. Overall a good read. Looking forward to more from Backman as usual.
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Backman is such a rock star. He has earned every bit of his current success and recognition, and the Beartown books are among his hardest hitting. Make no mistake, even though they concern high schoolers, these are in no way YA books. They are deep and rich and eviscerating.
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This was a great way to end the Beartown trilogy.  I enjoyed the the addition of the other family in the rival city of Hed.  After two years I found out about what happened to these characters that were introduced to the read in Beartown. This was a story about hope, family, friendship, community, corruption, loss and strength and how people get through things.   

Thank you NetGalley for an ARC of this book.
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This story was bittersweet to me. On the one hand, I loved another novel with my most beloved characters, but on the other, I was sad to see the end to this trilogy. The title is fitting for this brick of a story- a Winner. Definitely one I will cherish forever.
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I loved this last installment in the trilogy from Backman, focusing on Beartown and Hed – two towns that eat, sleep, and breathe hockey.

Backman has the most amazing way of writing about the human experience. You feel like you KNOW the characters. You feel what they feel. You laugh with them. You cry with them. His writing is so vivid, I feel like I’ve been to Beartown!

Here’s the overview:

A breathtaking new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anxious People and A Man Called Ove, The Winners returns to the close-knit, resilient community of Beartown for a story about first loves, second chances, and last goodbyes.

Over the course of two weeks, everything in Beartown will change. 

Maya Andersson and Benji Ovich, two young people who left in search of a life far from the forest town, come home and joyfully reunite with their closest childhood friends. There is a new sense of optimism and purpose in the town, embodied in the impressive new ice rink that has been built down by the lake.

Two years have passed since the events that no one wants to think about. Everyone has tried to move on, but there’s something about this place that prevents it. The destruction caused by a ferocious late-summer storm reignites the old rivalry between Beartown and the neighboring town of Hed, a rivalry which has always been fought through their ice hockey teams. 

Maya’s parents, Peter and Kira, are caught up in an investigation of the hockey club’s murky finances, and Amat—once the star of the Beartown team—has lost his way after an injury and a failed attempt to get drafted into the NHL. Simmering tensions between the two towns turn into acts of intimidation and then violence. All the while, a fourteen-year-old boy grows increasingly alienated from this hockey-obsessed community and is determined to take revenge on the people he holds responsible for his beloved sister’s death. He has a pistol and a plan that will leave Beartown with a loss that is almost more that it can stand.

As it beautifully captures all the complexities of daily life and explores questions of friendship, loyalty, loss, and identity, this emotion-packed novel asks us to reconsider what it means to win, what it means to lose, and what it means to forgive. 

This novel was on the longer side (688 pages) but it didn’t feel long. It felt like I had visited Beartown and stayed a while.

Thank you for my review copy through Net Galley!
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I read this back in the fall and have put off a formal review for too long. Overall, I think this book was unnecessary. I absolutely loved the first two books, and while this one was well written, I just did not feel the same connection. I remain a huge fan of Backman and cannot wait for his next book.
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I would read any number of books in this series... these characters have grown and grown on me. The Beartown series is for sure my favorite of all Backman's books.
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I love Fredrik Backman’s writing so much, so I forced myself to finish this series. But this series isn’t for me. It certainly isn’t bad, and is clearly well written, but it’s not my favorite by him.
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What a conclusion to the Beartown series. I bawled my eyes out at the end. I loved the redemption story of some of the characters, and watching others grow. Backman sure knows how to pull us in and make us feel everything about the characters. I won't forget this one for a long time.
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This book was entirely way too long. It was bogged down with too many descriptions, a boring political subplot, and new characters I didn’t care for. It took over 300 pages to get Maya, Ana, Benji, Amat, and Bobo all together. I will admit, when that happened, I got into the book a little more, and that’s why I have it 3 stars instead of 2. The magic of the first two books lies with those characters. I’d read a 690 page book about them. But you can’t say this particular 690 book is about those characters. Overall, this was a disappointing conclusion to a series I loved.
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The Winners, Fredrik Backman
September 27, 2022, Atria Books

Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Winners completes the trilogy that began with Bear Town and continued with Us Against Them. While I'm sure that any book can be read as a standalone, this book was the perfect conclusion to the epic tale that began in Bear Town. 

The story follows Bear Town and rival Hed's Hockey Clubs in their quest for greatness. The successes and failures of the clubs directly relates to the successes and failures of the respective communities. Money, power, sex, family and hockey are all tied togehter -- for better or for worse.

If you haven't read the previous two books, the three books are a combined over 1,500 pages -- so now is a perfect time to get started!

#bookstagram #bookstagrammer #thewinners #thewinnersfredrikbackman @backmansk @atriabooks
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Long anticipated follow third book in the Beartown series did not disappoint. Dives into the action with a freak windstorm impacting the towns, told through multiple key character’s perspectives. Can Hed and  Beartown survive this disaster?
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While I acknowledge his appeal, this didn't do it for me .. the chummy voice, and perhaps that is a late book in the series put me off. Not for me ..
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It’s hard to express the wonderful feelings that I have towards this series. I think each new book has made me feel so many emotions, that I truly feel like I am part of the story. The way that Fredrik Backman writes is basically incomparable. There is so much heart and truth thrown into his storytelling that I feel everything that these characters go through. I yearn for more and more.
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This book was fantastic! I really enjoyed it and it kept me guessing throughout, which is difficult for most books to do. I felt like I connected with the characters and really enjoyed the plot!
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We are the Bears! The Bears of the Beartown!

Fredrick Backman drew his epic conclusion to the Beartown trilogy with The Winners.  I found myself satisfied, although sad, with The Winners.  I'm sad to see the end of the stories of these characters I've grown to love over three novels.  There are some new characters that are introduced in The Winners, but they help to draw the narration of the conclusion of the story. 

My only complaint about The Winners is that I found the last portion of the novel very redundant where Backman is talking about the future of the characters.  I know that is something Backman does fairly often in his writing style, but it got overly taxing in this portion of the novel.  Regardless of that minor complain I still loved this story and the conclusion to his tale of Beartown.
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Beartown is struggling to recover from past events.  While everyone is desperately trying to move forward things are happening that will link past incidents with the present.  Current circumstances will eventually bring a conclusion to the hateful and hurtful affairs that have threatened the families and the communities of both Beartown and Hed.  

This third book in the series brings back many of the characters from the previous books.  Peter struggles with his decision to leave hockey.  Maya suffers from the memories of her rape but returns to Beartown.  Amat must face his failed hockey career and reach for a new future.  Benji is haunted by his past in Beartown but in spite of it returns for a funeral.   

In addition to the familiar characters from the past books, many new characters populate the pages of this book.  A few of the newcomers who play an important role in the book’s plot are Hed residents Hannah and Johnny and their daughter Tess, as well as, their sons who play hockey.  

Things are topsy turvy in this book.  Beartown has come out on top while Hed is struggling for success.  And now the council wants to merge the two teams into one. Even the mention of such a venture is certain to lead to turmoil and increased animosity leaving the people in both towns on the verge of violence and chaos.  

As the story progresses the plot is augmented with more than hockey. Corruption, politics, scheming, dysfunctional family life, tragedy and loss, and more.  All of this follows on the heals of a considerably large winter storm.  

Backman ends this trilogy by once again immersing the reader into the lives of the residents of the two hockey towns.  He immediately captures the interest of his readers with his engaging storytelling style and his beloved characters, and then, continues to hold them captive in the snow laden forest until the very conclusion of the tale.  

This review is written courtesy of the ARC from NetGalley and the publisher, Atria Books.
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Is there anything Backman writes that isn't pure perfection? The Beartown series made me ball my eyes out. I felt so close to the characters and I grieved with them and loved with them and lost with them. 

This third book was equally heavy to all the other ones, and the ending just shattered me in the most beautiful way. Backman gave me all the closure that I needed. Highly recommend!
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