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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Winners


ISBN: 978-1982112790

Publisher: Atria Books

Publication Date: 09/27/2022

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars + (ARC)

The long-awaited conclusion to the beloved New York Times bestselling and “engrossing” (People) Beartown series—which inspired an HBO series of the same name—follows the small hockey town’s residents as they grapple with change, pain, hope, and redemption.

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.

My Review

STELLAR! What a finale.

Swedish storyteller Fredrik Backman returns with his popular Beartown trilogy, THE WINNERS —A powerful conclusion to a masterful series by a tremendously gifted author bringing his characters and small-town setting to life, with a wise lesson for us all.

A massive fan of the author was delighted to receive an early reading copy of THE WINNERS. There is no one quite like him with his signature winning style. My favorite of the series!

The ongoing question is, "Do you want to understand the people who reside in two hockey towns? If so, you need to know the WORST and the BEST they are capable of.

Full of heart, with characters from the previous two books and some new ones, the author does a superb job catching you up between the two towns, the characters, and their rivalry—Beartown and Hed.

So everything that seemed so utterly improbable when Maya and Benji left now feels, two years later, like merely a question of time; the green town is on its way up, and the red village is on its way down.

A winding road through the trees is the only thing separating Beartown and Hed. Beartown plays in green jerseys with a bear. Hed plays in red with a bull. They hate one another. Their sport is about much more than sport.

They live and breathe hockey even outside of the game. This may be a hockey town, but they are forest folk. Surrounded by trees, rocks, and land. Soon a terrible natural disaster is going to destroy things they love. A storm is coming.

HAVES AND THE HAVE-NOTS. From the pressure to WIN at all costs, greed, entitlement, victimization, prejudices, violence, dark secrets, abuse, damage, hatred, threats, corruption, and manipulation. There are also political, financial, and legal aspects.

The author examines the issues with compassion, understanding, wisdom, and insight.

Rich in character, the author does not hold back on the hard-hitting issues from rape, depression, etc., that make up the lengthy novel. While the book is about hockey, it is so MUCH MORE. It is about LOVE in many forms; nobody does that better than Backman.

Oh, does this author have a way with his WORDS!

A master craftsman, Backman's writing grips you from his teasing, the suspense, his humor, his wisdom —keeping you glued to the pages to learn what is to come. You will be highlighting many pages in awe.

An examination of good intentions goes wrong. The author delves deep into the human psyche, the good, the bad, and the gray areas. From the athletes, the parents, the students, and the community. Both brutal and beautiful. Tragic and hopeful.

Ultimately, regardless of who wins, there are no winners if they cannot get past their hatred. However, no matter how dark, there is always HOPE.

Beautifully told, as always, the author's novels feature strong characters and an array of emotions from tragedy, forgiveness, revenge, hope, and redemption. I was immersed and invested in all the characters and storylines.

Backman fans will enjoy this captivating, epic, and satisfying conclusion to a remarkable and compelling series. We are all anxious to see what comes next. A must-read soul-searching book for every person in this world.

The book description describes the novel to perfection: "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."

I highly recommend reading all the books in the series and his complete backlist. Life-changing.

Thanks to #AtriaBooks and #NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. And the beautiful hardcover finished copy!

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars

Pub Date: Sept 27, 2022

About Fredrik Backman

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. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter @BackmanLand or on Instagram @BackmanSK. WEBSITE Read the New York Times profile of Fredrik Backman.







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