Us Against You Essay Contest

Win VIP tickets for you and your whole class to see and meet Fredrik Backman at Third Place Books on June 14, AND a limited edition deluxe Beartown hockey jersey.

Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove (soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.

Backman visited Third Place Books Lake Forest Park last June for the release of Beartown. More than 550 people attended to hear the entertaining writer speak about writing, hockey, and the difficult yet important themes of Beartown, which centers around the teens in a small town obsessed with hockey. On June 14, Backman will return to Lake Forest Park with the sequel to Beartown, Us Against You. Details about the event and the book can be found here.


One winning essay will be chosen by Fredrik Backman and his team, and the winner will get VIP tickets for the sponsoring teacher and his/her whole class to attend the June 14 author event with Fredrik Backman, plus a signed copy of Us Against You AND a limited edition Beartown jersey, commissioned by Third Place Books and signed by Backman himself. The winner will receive his/her/their prize regardless of whether the winner can attend the event, and the winner's teacher (and the winner's class) will still be welcomed as VIP guests.


In Beartown, nearly all the teammates on Beartown's junior hockey team fall in line behind their star player, Kevin, to protect him from accusations of sexual assault by the coach's daughter Maya. Can you think of another example in real life where a closed group with its own set of values comes into conflict with a person whose values are at odds with theirs? How is that situation similar, and how is it different? What might be that person's reasons for keeping silent, and what is the price?


  • Respond in 2-3 typed pages. Use specific evidence or examples. You may refer to Fredrik Backman’s Beartown, but that is not a requirement.
  • Electronic submissions only. Email essays (.doc, .docx, .rtf, or .pdf) to
  • Include a cover page with "US AGAINST YOU ESSAY CONTEST" in the header, with essay title, your full name, name of school and sponsoring teacher, and a email address and/or phone number for yourself and sponsoring teacher
  • Sponsoring teacher does NOT need to be an English or Language Arts teacher, but the class that will be invited is the one attended by the winner and taught by the sponsoring teacher (eg, Mrs. Nelson's third period History class). The sponsoring teacher may also be an adult sports coach or scout leader for a team or group to which the entrant belongs; if the winner's sponsoring teacher is a team coach, for example, then the team will be invited to the event
  • Anyone between the ages of 12-18 is eligible
  • No purchase required (links to relevant books provided below as a resource)
  • Entries must be received no later than 11:59 pm on June 4, 2018

Questions? Email Special thanks to Atria Books and Simon & Schuster for their help and participation with this contest, and for bringing Fredrik Backman to Lake Forest Park!

Beartown: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501160776
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Washington Square Press - February 6th, 2018

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY: LibraryReads BookBrowse Goodreads

“You’ll love this engrossing novel.” —People

The bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price req

Us Against You: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501160790
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Atria Books - June 5th, 2018

Instant New York Times Bestseller! The author of A Man Called Ove returns with “a lyrical look at how a community heals, how families recover, and how individuals grow” (The Washington Post).

“Fans of Backman will not be disappointed.