book review of Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch

Magan: Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

book review of Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert MurdochDairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (facebook | website)
Publication Date: May 22, 2006
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 275
Target Audience: Young Adult
Keywords: girl playing on male football team, milk farm, sports and training
Format Read: Audiobook purchased from Audible.com

Narrated by: Natalie Moore

Summary: D.J. isn’t the smartest girl there ever was, but one thing she certainly knows is her way around her family’s farm. D.J. was a star basketball player until her family hit a few speed bumps and she was forced to quit the team to help out more. Her father’s friend, Jimmy Ott, recruits D.J. to train his lackluster quarterback, Brian, which leads to a surprising turn of events when D.J. decides to try out for her school’s football team.

Thanks to the fantastic Lori at Pure Imagination, Dairy Queen was on my radar. It’s been out in the wonderful world of published books for a few years (a 2006 release) so when I saw her audiobook review, I knew that a) I HAD to read the book, and b) I needed to use one of my audible credits to listen to it as an audiobook. I’m very new to the world of listening to books. In fact, this is only my second to finish. But before I begin chatting about the audio aspect of Dairy Queen, let’s get into the nitty gritty details of D.J.’s life.

Things you should know about D.J.:

  • Her family owns a milk farm. She single-handedly keeps it running and this has forced her to quit her high school basketball team and be pretty distanced from “normal” high school activities.
  • Her brothers are college athletes — athleticism runs in their genes. However, her family’s kind of at an impasse, feuding over something silly and mundane.
  • D.J. isn’t the smartest cookie; she failed her Sophomore English class because she couldn’t possibly keep up with the farm work and school.
  • D.J. attends Red Bend’s high school. Their arch-rival is Holly.

One day D.J. is approached by Jimmy Ott, the Holly football coach and her father’s best friend, about training Brian Nelson. Jimmy suggests that maybe Brian can do some conditioning and farm work so that he can get in better shape, build his character, and simultaneously lend a hand to a family who desperately needs the help. Brian and D.J. are practically complete opposites. He’s popular and well-known. D.J. has a bit of a reputation as a hick. Brian’s got the big headed attitude of an awesome athlete, but he’ll never become more than the backup quarterback if he doesn’t train more. D.J. has raw, natural talent, but the opportunity for her to participate in sports has been taken away from her.

There’s this fantastic dynamic between Brian and D.J. as they try to figure out how two rivals can work together. And you know, of course, there’s this amazing chemistry that flares up but both of them want to ignore. BUT Dairy Queen offers more than just a tense relationship. There’s so much happening with D.J.’s family; they don’t really speak or communicate well. Why is that? And why is D.J’s best friend, Amber, having such a difficult time with D.J. training Brian? Amber has always been a say-what’s-on-her-mind kind of girl, but the things she’s blabbing to D.J. are becoming hurtful.

So there you have it: a rocky friendship with a questionable best friend, a family that needs a little fixin’, and an awesome dose of two very unlikely characters spending tons of time together.

As for the audio, it was spot on. I loved the narrator, Natalie Moore. She really got into D.J.’s character and I think I probably laughed out loud more than I would have if I were speed reading through the pages. Moore captured my husband’s attention, too, as I asked to listen to Dairy Queen while we were driving to Florida. I had to pause the book and explain the characters, setting, and plot so he could follow along with me. (He was asking a million questions.) We both really enjoyed the story — not too girly for him and not too heavy on the football/farm setting for me.

One bonus? There are two more books following Dairy Queen. I didn’t realize there was more when I finished listening, but I’ve just added The Off Season and Front and Center to my audible shopping cart because I’m so anxious for more D.J. and Brian. (And the rest of the gang, too.)

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Sweet Summertime Reads - Summer Beach Reads Feature with Fiction Folio and GReads!

Sweet Summertime Reads: The Yearbook

Sweet Summertime Reads - Summer Beach Reads Feature with Fiction Folio and GReads!

Welcome back for another Sweet Summertime Reads post. As summer winds down, stores fill up with huge school supplies displays that make us yearn for the days we’d be doing our school shopping and prepping for our first days of school. So this week, Ginger, Tara, and the two of us are focusing on going back to school. Estelle and I thought we’d celebrate the new school year with some of our favorite books and aspects of going back to school.

making new friends.

winger by andrew smith and the reece malcolm list by amy spalding

Winger by Andrew Smith: Goodreads | Amazon | Magan’s Review
The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding: Goodreads | Amazon | Estelle’s Review

M: In my tiny little town, there wasn’t a lot of people turnover. Friends from year to year pretty much stayed the same and since my school included Pre-K through 12th grade, there was no changing campuses and fretting over who I would meet. New people were scarce. Maybe that’s why I get nostalgic when I read about YA characters venturing into new schools. It seems like such an opportunity — a fresh start. However, it also seems frightening and kind of scary! I loved how Ryan Dean was taken completely out of his comfort zone by having to live with guys he had preconceived notions about. Definitely changed his perspective and life. Read Winger, y’all!

E: My town wasn’t really THAT tiny, and I don’t remember every starting a school year thinking “oh yay! I can’t wait to make new friends!” Probably because I just couldn’t wait to see my old ones. In high school it was a little different when we were able to choose our own electives (creative writing, journalism) and started to get paired up with different people in our class. (I graduated with 742.) I remember making some special friends in those classes just like Devan was trying to / starting to make with some of the theatre kids at her school.

new clothes.

going vintage by lindsey leavitt and queen of kentucky

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt: Goodreads | Amazon | Magan’s Review
The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker : Goodreads | Amazon

M: Clothes shopping was something that was a favorite, favorite part of my going back to school experience. I would plan out my outfits for weeks. We didn’t shop at the nicest stores or have tons of money to splurge on tons of new things, but I was really excited about the experience. I love, love, loved going with my mom. If only my taste was an ounce as awesome as Mallory’s in Going Vintage. I wasn’t nearly that brave or cool.

E: The best part of back to school was definitely buying new fall clothes, and then picking out what I would wear the first day back. So so exciting. (As I got older, I did stop wearing the dresses and tried to be cooler by wearing jeans.) Queen of Kentucky is such a great book in general because it deals with fitting in with a new group of kids but also maintaining who you are. Ricki Jo is a hilarious main character and she has some fun makeover moments that I loved experiencing with her!

after school activities + clubs.

BOOKS FOCUSED ON AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES AND CLUBS

Band Geek Love by Josie Bloss: Goodreads | Amazon
Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell: Goodreads | Amazon | Magan’s Review | Themed Gift Pack

E: I’ve talked about it on here plenty of times, but I was a band geek. I was a majorette (twirled a baton) but I went to band camp, had practice after school every day, went to every single high school football game (home and away), and performed at other events too. It was like a full-time commitment, and I loved the friends that came along with it. But there was drama and a lot of romance and a lot of gossip, and Band Geek Love gets that so so right.

M: Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe made me really wish my school had it’s own little radio show. I desperately wished I could have been spending time with the mismatched crew after school trying to save the radio from being cut off. Despite not having that experience, I could visualize every moment of it.

sports + athletics.

dairy queen by Catherine Gilbert Merdoch and Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch: Goodreads | Amazon
Dare You To by Katie McGarry: Goodreads | Amazon | Estelle’s Review

M: Dairy Queen is my current audiobook read and oh. my. gosh am I loving it. DJ is so full of personality and my, oh, my does it make me want to do another rewatch of Friday Night Lights. The football rivalry runs so deep in DQ. DJ knows her stuff and definitely knows how to stand up for herself, even around pig-headed football players. This is one book that definitely had me more alert than listening to music as I drove to photograph a wedding.

E: I used to play softball in a league not related to school, but I did play with a few classmates and we always invited our teachers to come to our games. (Such suck ups, we were.) My high school “team” was really the marching band (see above and YES it is a sport) but when I’m reading books now of kids this age playing sports, I really wish I would have had the guts to play for the softball team. Ryan in Dare You To was an amazing baseball player and so motivated to make it big. I loved seeing that side of his character.

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Did you see the awesome kindergarten and high school photos Ginger shared in her back to school post?

Make sure you check out Tara’s blog later this week for her back to school post, too! Can’t wait to see what she comes up with!

Tell us what your favorite back-to-school book recommendations would be…