Beartown is a secluded town in the middle of the woods of Sweden. They have one defining characteristic: a fierce ice hockey team that the town’s inhabitants rally behind every winter. Their junior ice hockey team is about to enter the semi-finals when something traumatic happens to a young girl. Accusations fly and the course of the semi-final is flipped in the complete opposite direction. The novel explores the hopes of a small town and the courage it takes for an individual to step up and tell their story. 

At first glance, Beartown by Fredrik Backman seems like a book that focuses solely on hockey, a sport that I know virtually nothing about. However, the plot explores other aspects of the town, with the sport woven into each. The story explores what happens when a violent act happens and how each part of a town is affected by that act. There isn’t one main character featured in the book, it has chapters that focus on different members in the town, a technique that served an advantageous purpose throughout the book. The different point of views that the reader gets throughout the book provide a more complete understanding of the town and its inhabitants. This book is very well written and explores a topic that many authors shy away from. It’s a heartbreaking story that sheds light on a topic that isn’t typically spoken about and its impact on those surrounding the event, especially the victim. Overall, this book was moving and deep, one I would highly recommend.

Content warning for Beartown: rape, violence


About Ella Terry

Ella is a senior and the editor-in-chief of The JagWire. In her free time, Ella is likely reading or becoming emotionally invested in a fictional world. She loves all things cats, baking, and Parks & Rec.