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Dairy Queen Hardcover – May 22, 2006


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Dairy Queen + Front and Center (The Dairy Queen Trilogy) + The Off Season
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 990L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1ST edition (May 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618683070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618683079
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,237,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10-After her father is injured, 15-year-old D.J. Schwenk takes over the lion's share of work on her family's small Wisconsin dairy farm. Between milking cows, mucking out the barn, and mowing clover, this erstwhile jock takes on training Brian, the rival high school's quarterback. A monster crush and a tryout for her own school's football team ensue. D.J., a charming if slightly unreliable narrator, does a good deal of soul-searching while juggling her grinding work schedule, an uncommunicative family, and a best friend who turns out to be gay. Savvy readers will anticipate plot turns, but the fun is in seeing each twist through D.J.'s eyes as she struggles with whether she really is, as Brian puts it, like a cow headed unquestioningly down the cattle shoot of life. Wry narration and brisk sports scenes bolster the pacing, and D.J.'s tongue-tied nature and self-deprecating inner monologues contribute to the novel's many belly laughs. At the end, though, it is the protagonist's heart that will win readers over. Dairy Queen will appeal to girls who, like D.J., aren't girly-girls but just girls, learning to be comfortable in their own skins. The football angle may even hook some boys. Fans of Joan Bauer and Louise Rennison will flock to this sweet confection of a first novel, as enjoyable as any treat from the real DQ.-Amy Pickett, Ridley High School, Folsom, PA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-9. D. J.'s family members don't talk much, especially about the fact that 15-year-old D. J. does all the heavy work on their Wisconsin dairy farm since her father broke his hip and her two older brothers left for college. Nor do they talk about why D. J.'s mom, a teacher, is so busy filling in for the middle-school principal that she's never home. And they never, ever discuss the reason why her brothers haven't called home for more than six months. So when D. J. decides to try out for the Red Bend football team, even though she's been secretly training (and falling for) Brian Nelson, the cute quarterback from Hawley, Red Bend's rival, she becomes the talk of the town. Suddenly, her family has quite a bit to say. This humorous, romantic romp excels at revealing a situation seldom explored in YA novels, and it will quickly find its place alongside equally well-written stories set in rural areas, such as Weaver's Full Service (2005), Richard Peck's The Teacher's Funeral (2004), and Kimberly Fusco's Tending to Grace (2004). Jennifer Hubert
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Catherine Gilbert Murdock lives in Philadelphia with her husband, two brilliant, unicycling children, several cats, and a one-acre yard that she is slowly transforming into a wee but flourishing ecosystem.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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I will undoubtedly read the next book in this 3-part series.
YA book lover
The last thing that D.J. wants is help in the form of spoiled, lazy quarterback Brian Nelson, who plays for rival Hawley.
Lea Kelley
This was a great audiobook with a narrator who had a great Wisconsin accent and the story was just fantastic.
Jennifer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Robinson on June 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
D.J. Schwenk is the third child, and only daughter, of a small-town Wisconsin dairy farmer. The summer she turns sixteen finds her shouldering much of the load of the farm, because her two older brothers are off at football camp, and her father has an injured hip. She doesn't complain much, and struggles to meet the expectations of her demanding father, but inside, she's not happy. She's doing poorly in school, because of the farm work, and had to quit the basketball team, where she was a star. She has a best friend, Amber, but things aren't perfect between them either. And she worries about her younger brother, Curtis, who hardly ever talks.

A family friend, the football coach of the rival high school, sends one of his star players to help out on the Schwenk's farm. Brian Nelson has a great arm, but has been spoiled by his father, and doesn't have much discipline or team spirit. Before she quite knows what's happening, D.J. agrees to train Brian, to help him get ready for the fall season. They have to keep this a secret, because the towns are such strong rivals, and Brian ends up helping out on the farm quite a bit as camouflage for what they're really doing. After a prickly start, Brian and D.J. learn to talk to one another openly, and both grow as a result.

The story is told in D.J.'s first-person voice, which is necessary, because she's so quiet that we could never get to know her in third person. But inside her head, D.J. has a lot to say, and a thoughtful, sometimes sarcastic, voice. Here are a few examples:

"If there ever was a TV show called People Who Are Crazy and Need to Have Their Heads Examined, I'd be the very first guest.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ken C. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
Refreshing and wholesome, Catherine Gilbert Murdock's DAIRY QUEEN stands like a tall glass of cold milk in a crowded YA soda cooler. Examples that set it apart: the setting is Wisconsin; the protagonist (D.J. Schwenk) is a 15-year-old tomboy who wants to play on the boys' football team; and D.J. falls in love with the quarterback of her hometown's archrival (of all people).

The first-person point of view provides an intimate, even folksy bit of country charm. Murdock keeps it clean, too, choosing to make this much more than a farm girl-meets-privileged boy tale by highlighting the strange family dynamics of the Schwenks. Like many of us, this family has its secrets. For example, sons Bill and Win, who have left the nest (OK, farm), are not talking to the dad; the youngest boy, Curtis, is not much talking to ANYone; and nobody seems to know how to talk the words "I'm sorry" to each other.

D.J.'s curmudgeonly dad can no longer run the dairy due to physical limitations and her mom is subbing as the principal at a local school. That leaves D.J. and Curtis to milk the cows and run the farm. When archrival Hawley's coach (a good friend of D.J.'s dad) sends quarterback Brian Nelson to the farm to work, D.J. falls udderly in love and takes on the improbable (and some readers might complain, unbelievable) role of Brian's personal trainer.

The Brian-D.J. relationship takes front seat, but D.J.'s place in her family is equally compelling. Then there's her best friend Amber. More secrets. (And you thought life was all cheeseheads and sausages in Wisconsin. Who knew?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Little Willow on January 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Dairy Queen by Catherine Murdock tells the story of a girl named D.J. who has to pick up the slack on her family's farm when her father's hip injury prevent him from doing the bulk of the work. Her two older brothers, now away at college, were big hometown football stars. She helped them train for football while she trained for track and basketball.

During the summer, she has to help train Brian, the quarterback for the rival high school's football team, as a favor to the coach, a longtime friend of her father's. D.J. does so reluctantly at first, only to strike up a friendship with him -- and realize how much she herself enjoys the game. So much so that she decides to go out for the team when the school year starts back up again.

Though this book has been strongly received by sports fans, please note that there's more to this story than just football. It is also about family. It is about growing up on a farm, about growing up in a small town, and simply about growing up. Though D.J.'s family members don't talk or emote very much, they are everpresent: the farm and her father are always on her mind, and she misses her brothers in fits and starts. D.J. is also going through a rough patch with her long-time best friend, Amber, and almost doesn't believe it herself when the two girls argue and drift apart. She's got a lot on her plate, and if she doesn't balance it correctly, she may have to drop something and disappoint her family and herself.

Catherine Murdock's debut novel won over readers. It was followed up a sequel entitled The Off-Season. D.J.'s fans should also check out the corny-but-cute made-for-television movie Quarterback Princess starring Helen Hunt.
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