5 stars

Never again do you find friends like the ones you have when you’re fifteen year old.

Beartown is a small town deep in the forest. People say it’s dying. That people should just give up and move on to bigger and better towns. But despite their history of losing, the people of Beartown are hopeful. Tomorrow the Beartown Ice Hockey Club’s junior hockey team plays in the semifinals of the country’s biggest youth hockey tournament. Hockey is like a religion to the citizens of Beartown, and the team actually has a chance to win this year.

With the hopes of the entire town resting on their shoulders, the members of the team find the responsibility that comes with that daunting. Some boys step up to the challenge, while others struggle. A violent act occurs that has consequences for everyone in town and changes its future. It will test the loyalties of friends and make young and old alike evaluate their values. Some bonds will be strengthened, and others will shatter in disappointment.

The story is gripping and will make the reader really look inside to question how they would respond. The writing is beautiful and the story unfolds so effortlessly that I could not put the book down. You will be inspired, you will ache with the characters and you will cry. A lot. I highly recommend you drop whatever you’re doing right now and read this book. And then when you’re done with this book, immediately begin to read the sequel, Us Against You.