Dairy Queen

by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

D.J. is a sixteen-year-old girl growing up on a dairy farm in Red Bend, Wisconsin.... read more

D.J. is a sixteen-year-old girl growing up on a dairy farm in Red Bend, Wisconsin. Her family has a lot of communication problems, most notable among them the fact that her father doesn’t speak to her two college-age brothers, who are both gifted football players. Her father also has had a hip replacement, leaving D.J. to assume primary responsibility around the farm. Her dad’s best friend, the coach of the rival high school football team, sends his star quarterback, Brian, to help D.J. with the farm work in order to toughen him up. Having helped her brothers train for football when they were in high school, D.J. soon begins working as Brian’s trainer and, over the course of the summer, finds that she, too, is skilled at football. D.J. is so good, in fact, that she decides to try out for her high school team. She also grows to like Brian—a lot. But her inability to talk about her feelings, and her skill on the football field, combine to alienate Brian, forcing D.J. to think hard about what she wants and what she’s willing to do to get it. Murdock’s cast of characters, from major to minor, show depth and credibility, never relying on stereotype. In a novel both funny and moving, the author tackles themes of love, friendship, family, gender, and athletics in a novel that strongly conveys a sense of life in a small Wisconsin town. (Ages 13–16)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2007

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