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The Off Season [Kindle Edition]

Catherine Gilbert Murdock
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Life is looking up for D.J. Schwenk. She’s in eleventh grade, finally. After a rocky summer, she’s reconnecting in a big way with her best friend, Amber. She’s got kind of a thing going with Brian Nelson, who’s cute and popular and smart but seems to like her anyway. And then there’s the fact she’s starting for the Red Bend High School football team—the first girl linebacker in northern Wisconsin, probably. Which just shows you can’t predict the future. As autumn progresses, D.J. struggles to understand Amber, Schwenk Farm, her relationship with Brian, and most of all her family. As a whole herd of trouble comes her way, she discovers she’s a lot stronger than she—or anyone—ever thought.
   This hilarious, heartbreaking and triumphant sequel to the critically acclaimed Dairy Queen takes D.J. and all the Schwenks from Labor Day to a Thanksgiving football game that you will never forget.



Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 7–10—This sequel to Murdock's Dairy Queen (Houghton, 2006) catches readers up with narrator D.J. Schwenk as she hits her stride in her junior year of high school. She's playing linebacker for her high school football team, hanging out with Brian (the rival high school's quarterback), earning passing grades, and pulling her weight on her family's struggling dairy farm. But "a whole herd of trouble" is coming her way. First, D.J. and, by extension, Brian become the unwitting subjects of a People magazine article. Then D.J. suffers a shoulder injury that threatens her sports career, her gay best friend runs away with an older girlfriend, and D.J. notices that Brian isn't too keen on being seen with her in public. These problems are all put into perspective when D.J.'s older brother, Win, suffers a serious spinal-cord injury during a college football game. D.J. stays by his side in the hospital, a task made even tougher by Win's refusal to communicate, and accompanies him to rehab in Minnesota. There's no too-tidy ending here; readers gain a sense of the wait-and-see and grueling nature of physical rehabilitation. Though not as laugh-out-loud funny as the earlier title, The Off Season depicts a believably maturing D.J., a young woman whose character shines through even as she struggles to find her voice. Readers will root for her at every tragicomic turn, and will hope to hear from her again in future novels.—Amy Pickett, Ridley High School, Folsom, PA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This funny, touching follow-up to Dairy Queen (2006), a 2007 Best Book for Young Adults, succeeds whether read on its own or as a sequel. D. J.'s junior year starts off promisingly: she has finally been accepted as a valuable player on the football team, and Brian Nelson, quarterback for a rival school, is still coming around to see her. Storm clouds gather, though, as her close friend is bullied for being gay, money problems on the farm increase, and an injury forces D. J. to choose between football and basketball, which could net her a college scholarship. She also begins to wonder why Brian makes out with her but never wants to take her anywhere. Then brother Winn is seriously injured on the football field, forcing her to gain some much-needed perspective. D. J. is an easygoing, likable narrator, full of self-deprecating humor and insight, and her struggles, whether they are everyday or life altering, will resonate with teen audiences. Krista Hutley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 1423 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0618934936
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (March 18, 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003K16PVY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #231,122 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
D.J. Schwenk spends Labor Day at the neighbors' picnic, eating and playing a baseball game so funny that she literally falls down laughing. But the family's cows must be milked and fed, so the Schwenks leave early to tend to their dairy farm chores. At home Brian Nelson shows up, to D.J.'s delight. Brian helps with the cows, he and D.J. discuss their last football game (they play on opposing teams), and then there's a little awkward shuffling as he prepares to leave. D.J. remembers how they botched their one attempt to make out as Brian takes off.

When school starts, D.J. discovers that she is no longer invisible, thanks to the fact that she's the only girl on the football team. However, D.J. doesn't like the attention; she joined the squad to prove to herself that she was unique, not to become public property.

D.J. is thrilled when Brian calls to ask her to ride with him to Minneapolis over the weekend. But she turns him down for Saturday because her brothers play college football. Watching the games with her family is more important than anything else, so she's relieved when Brian suggests a Sunday trip. Their excursion ends with kissing so inflammatory that D.J. suddenly understands how easy it would be to "Do Anything Stupid" (which her mother constantly warns her against).

To her amazement, D.J. learns that the paparazzi are after her story. She doesn't want people accusing her of being a linebacker to get publicity. But maybe those reporters from People won't show up after all...

Meanwhile, kids at school begin hassling D.J.'s best friend Amber because of Amber's girlfriend. Amber starts cutting school, which is a total bummer for D.J. Next, D.J. is benched for "bullying" when she was actually defending a kid from a real bully.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm 37 years old and I'll read any age level as long as it's good. This is great. I love D.J. She's tough and decent and has a hilarious inner voice and is just a genuinely great person. At times she's given almost too much for a teenager to handle but she does it because there's no one else and at their core Schwenks go out there and get the job done.

But what's really great about DJ is that she's not perfect. She gets angry and resentful and bottles up her feelings and shoves her foot in her mouth and thinks selfish thoughts. In other words she's a real, relatable person. Her family and the supporting characters are all vividly drawn and believable. No one's a villain and no one's perfect, just like real life. These books made me snicker and they made me cry and they made me smile about remembering the feeling of first love.

I really recommend both Dairy Queen and The Off Season and I'm planning to send them to my nieces pronto because DJ's a pretty awesome role model.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Filled with heart and humor. A must-read. June 24, 2007
Format:Hardcover
I was eager to read Catherine Murdock's The Off Season, sequel to Dairy Queen, because I loved the first book. The Off Season picks up right where Dairy Queen left off. Quiet, determined D.J. attends the Jorgensen's annual Labor Day picnic and starts her junior year in high school. School is a bit different for her now, because she's playing on the school football team. As a girl. So she gets more attention than she's used to. It's mostly positive attention, because she's good at football. So the year starts out well for D.J. Things really look up when the handsome rival quarterback, Brian (featured in the previous book), begins treating her as more than just a friend.

But alas, things start to go downhill from there. An injury makes D.J. question whether or not she can continue playing football. D.J.'s best friend, Amber, is wrapped up in a new girlfriend, causing some strain. D.J.'s favorite brother, Curtis, is sneaking around and lying to the family, and their mother throws out her back from the stress. Not to mention Brian's evident reluctance to be seen with D.J. out in public. And then a real tragedy occurs, changing everything for D.J. and her family.

Oh, how I love the Schwenk family. They are dysfunctional, but in a non-toxic, quirky sort of way. D.J. has to take on responsibilities well beyond her years because she's the only one physically and mentally capable of doing so. Her mother is laid low by the back injury. Her father's inability to help is based solely on his personal limitations, which D.J. accepts as part and parcel of who he is. As for D.J., she grows up tremendously over the course of a few difficult months. Here are a couple of examples that capture D.J.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
This book, the sequel to Murdock's Dairy Queen, may be marketed for young adults, but it's not the equivalent of Sweet Valley High or The Princess Diaries, as both the book and heroine D.J. Schwenk have their feet planted firmly in reality. D.J. is a high school junior in rural Red Bend, Wisconsin, who has a lot on her plate: handling the pressure and jibes directed at her as the first female member of the high school football team; trying to figure out and handle her feelings for Brian, the quarterback of the rival high school team; and putting in hours of work on her family's dairy farm, worrying that said farm will soon go under; trying to reconnect with her best friend, Amber, who has recently come out and is dating an older woman; and, of course, struggling with school work.

The Off Season is such a gripping read that I read it a single sitting. D.J. is such a believable, sympathetic character and faces up to her challenges (including a big one towards the end of the novel) that the reader empathizes with her throughout, even when she does something somewhat foolish. Murdock does an admirable job of capturing the rhythm and concerns of small town and rural life and has an ear for dialogue. The supporting characters, including her father, mother and younger brother, ring true and are fleshed out enough that they give us a picture of D.J.'s upbringing and family life. This is one-level headed girl with a down-to-earth grip on what's important in life. I can't wait to read of her further adventures.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great series. It was supposed to be for teens ...
Great series. It was supposed to be for teens but anyone would love it.
Published 14 hours ago by Arthur B. Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
I cannot rave enough about this book. It's clean, it tackles a lot of family issues and what goes on when someone we love is going through a tough time. Page turner for sure!
Published 17 days ago by Brett M. Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Im in 9th grade pre-ap English and we have these test called book chats. I usually read books about world war II but i decided to try a new genre and this book is perfect! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lorelei Harsha
4.0 out of 5 stars A Book and a Hug: The Off Season
DJ Schwenk, girl football player extraordinaire, is back in action in the snappy second book of the Dairy Queen series. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mme. Librarian
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good book
Published 3 months ago by sandra dickson
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
great book
Published 3 months ago by cj
5.0 out of 5 stars The Off Season
I loved it, it showed passion and sacrifice and bravery and i feel like i would never be able to do what she did
Published 3 months ago by Amy Klosowski
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING!!!!
I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK! You totally should read this you won't regret it! I cried at the end, so if you read this be prepared! ; )
Published 6 months ago by specifintent
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVED THIS BOOK
I LOVED THIS BOOK ! I definitely recommend this to anyone who read the first one, Dairy Queen. The plot is big and there are exciting twists and surprising turns. Read more
Published 7 months ago by jonadad
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannot wait to start Front and Center
I think this book was even better than the first in the series. Murdock's writing style is so smooth, so funny, and so real. Read more
Published 10 months ago by jbetht
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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.

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