by Fredrik Backman
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Pub Date 27 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 18 Oct 2022
It starts with a storm, a death, and two funerals on the same day.
One person’s life is being celebrated by all of Beartown.
One person’s life is being forgotten.
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. They can see how much Beartown has changed. There is a 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.
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Average rating from 138 members
THE WINNERS is a winner. The author shows humanity at its best and its worst. You don't necessarily have to read the other two Beartown books first, but for those who have, it brings closure to so many issues. It will break your heart, but also give you hope. Paraphrasing one quote that stuck with me: life doesn't go on, life just starts over again with new possibilities and realities. Way too long but still highly recommended.
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