“Beartown” is a complete departure from Backman’s previous novels and I absolutely loved it. This book starts off making you think this is going to be about a small town and their hockey team finally turning things around for the better. But then it takes a turn that brilliantly examines small town life, where everyone knows everybody and they all have a story to tell, along with opinions about each other. This was such a complex and emotional look at how people act when everything they know and believe is challenged, the power of belonging, loyalty and tradition, and the love of family and friends. Every character examined in this story left a powerful impression on me, and the topic is so timely in this day and age. A must read for fans of Backman as well as his first time readers.