The Off Season

by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

D. J. Schwenk has a lot on her plate: a budding romance with quarterback Brian, work... read more

D. J. Schwenk has a lot on her plate: a budding romance with quarterback Brian, work responsibilities on her family’s Wisconsin dairy farm, the academic load of her junior year, and her new highly visible role as linebacker on the high school football team. As the school year commences, D. J.’s initial optimism quickly takes on a downward trend. Brian only seems to like her when they are alone. A separated shoulder forces her to choose between playing football, as her team expects, or giving it up for basketball, which will likely result in an important college scholarship. Her best friend Amber is taking heat from classmates for her relationship with her girlfriend, Dale. D. J. is sure that things have hit bottom when an embarrassing article on her football career (including asides about her personal life) appears in People magazine, but when her older brother Win is seriously injured on the football field everything else moves back stage. Compelled to stand in for her parents following Win’s injury, D. J. must come to terms with her family’s dynamics, her own choices for her future, and her responsibilities to herself and those around her. Picking up D. J.’s story from where it left off in The Dairy Queen (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), Catherine Murdock again shows an understanding of small town culture, athletics, and farm life, while continuing to develop her cast of likable characters. (Ages 14–17)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008

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