Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
....why couldn't Murdock just continue to write YA instead of delving into middle grade? Sorry, Ms. Murdock, I am not saying Wisdom's Kiss was bad but this is SO much better. Actually it was pretty great, as soon as I finished it I went online to order the other two books in the series.
All because of DJ.
DJ Schwenk is no Barbie doll. She is tall, big, strong and runs her family's farm. Despite being in high school, she is overwhelmed by the daily chores required for the normal upkeep of a farm, a burden she acquired after her father injured himself and is therefore unable to do hard work. Aside from being farmers, the Schwenks are also good at playing football and DJ is no exception. So when Brian Nelson, the quarterback of a rival school is coerced by his coach to show up at her doorstep looking for training and to help with the farm, DJ cannot but accept, hoping to teach the guy a lesson. But, as it turns out, it will be DJ to learn more than she bargained for out of this lesson, about herself, her family and the importance of communication.
So after a brief surfing interlude with Raw Blue, here goes another typical Italian national sport, football.
NOT. Football is, in Italy, just about as widespread as Mountain Dew and Starbucks (yes, you can start pitying now, we have none of those here). Consequently, my knowledge of either slang or rules related to this game is... close to zero, I'd say (I only know names of players that the Kardashians have dated so... pretty many actually).
BUT, in Dairy Queen, it didn't matter. To be honest, I have to confess that my interest got piqued and I am developing a certain attraction towards the game. But again, I think it might be all because of DJ. This book is so good primarily for its main character.
Written in first person, DJ is a truly amazing voice in the ranks of YA heroines. She is neither beautiful nor particularly brilliant but she is so honest, authentic and just.... genuine that it was impossible for me not to sympathize with her and with her predicaments. And cheer for her all the way. I mean, this girl plays football, how cool is that?
And while I would define this as a great, fresh and fast summer read (I read it at the beach and I have to say the cow cover perfectly matched with the surroundings), it is far, far from shallow. DJ's dysfunctional family and friends guide us through the rules of personal communication, familiar love and friendship beyond social strata, giving it a depth hidden behind the simple, yet clever tone and writing style.
I really enjoyed it, it pleasantly surprised me and I'm looking forward to knowing what happens to DJ next! Definitely recommended.
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