Murdock, Catherine Gilbert.
New York : Houghton Mifflin, 2006
DJ sometimes feels just like the cows she tends to every day. The cows just do what they are supposed to do and never question their lives. And DJ is not so different. With her older brothers away at college and her father unable to do the farm work, DJ takes on the responsibility of doing the work. She has no plans for college herself since there is no money to send her. But this summer may hold some surprises. The quarterback for the rival school's team is sent to help out on the farm to get into shape. Even though it is a rocky start to their relationship, Brian soon realizes that DJ knows football. And DJ has the knowledge to train Brian and help him win a football scholarship. But can a farm girl really help someone like Brian?
be “just a girl,” but D.J. knows football. She has always helped
her older brothers’ practice, and now the coach of her rival high school’s
team has asked her to train their quarterback and toughen him up.
On top of that, she’s trying to keep the family farm up and running as
her ailing father and working mother try to make ends meet. But as
the summer wears on, D.J. begins to realize that she is ready to step out
of her role as a helper and practice buddy and step up to the line on her
own. This funny, high-spirited character will have readers cheering
in Dairy Queen, by Catherine Murdock. (New Hampshire Isinglass Teen
Read Award committee)
Booktalk #3Dairy Queen is told through the eyes of D.J. (Dorrie) Schwenk. While her father is recovering from an injury, she does most of the work on her family’s dairy farm since her older brothers are big football stars and away at college. All the Schwenks are interested in football and D.J. is too. If you can imagine a big football rivalry like the Eagles and the Cowboys, or Army / Navy, you’ll understand the level of animosity between D.J’s high school, Red Bend, and their archrival, Hawley. Circumstances arise that put D.J. in the position to train Hawley’s quarterback, Brian, over the summer. Brian has an attitude. He’s a bit lazy, kind of rich (at least compared to DJ’s family) and… he’s really cute. It makes for a story! And D.J.'s voice makes the story come alive. Dairy Queen isn’t just about farm life and football. It also explores the importance of open, honest communication and what can happen if families and friends don’t ever really talk to each other. (Jean B. Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards, 2007-2008)
Set in Red Bird, Wisconsin.
The main character is 15 year old D.J. Schwenk, the only daughter in a
dairy farming family that produced two older sons, Win and Bill, high school
and college football all stars, and a quiet, smart, but un-athletic younger
son, Curtis, D.J. seems to be the only healthy, mature, strong, and hardworking
member of the family. Her father is recovering from surgery, and her mother
escapes to her job as an elementary school principal, Her three brothers
are distant and non-communicating. A close family friend, the football
coach in a neighboring small town, sends his star quarterback to the farm
to help out, but primarily to develop a work ethic.
When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.
Those are harsh words, and D.J. is kind of shocked to hear them from Brian Nelson of all people. But D.J. also can’t help admitting that Brian might be right. When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that gets shoved down and ignored, that maybe shouldn’t be.
Stuff like why D.J.’s best friend Amber isn’t so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother Curtis never opens his mouth. Why D.J.’s mom has two jobs and one big secret. Why her college-basketball star brothers won’t call home. And why D.J.’s own dad would go ballistic if D.J. dared to try out for the high school football team herself. And maybe why the guy she’s stuck tutoring, Brian Nelson, football jock and all-around star is so, so very out of her league.
Yeah. When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff ends up not getting said.
Welcome to the summer that
fifteen-year-old D.J Shwenk of Red Bend Wisconsin learns to talk, and ends
up having an awful lot to say…
So I know what you are thinking.
"Heifers don't play football." D.J. Schwenk must be crazy thinking she
is going to play for the Red Bend, Wisconsin, high school football team.
Football -- Fiction.
Farm life -- Fiction.