Catherine Gilbert Murdock grew up avoiding all sports involving hand-eye coordination. She now lives in suburban Philadelphia with her husband, children, and several cats. Visit her webiste at www.catherinemurdock.com.
If you ask 15-year-old tomboy D.J. Schwenk, summer is off to a lousy start. But, since she's not real big on talking and neither is anyone in her family no one's likely to hear or understand her complaints. D.J. is saddled with all the chores at the Schwenk dairy farm while her father recuperates from an injury, her mother takes on extra work at the local school and her older, football-legend brothers stay away from home due to a family rift. Then Brian Nelson, the conceited quarterback from D.J.'s rival high school, is assigned by his coach (and Schwenk family friend) to help out on the farm. Sparks of all kinds, and cow pies, fly as D.J. and Brian eventually bond over work and football, and D.J. tries out for her own school's varsity team. Moore does an excellent job of mastering a natural, Midwestern accent that whisks listeners right to Wisconsin. She's wholly believable as a teenager struggling with attitudes about first love, friendship, gender and sexuality, self-confidence and sports. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Gr 7-10-After her father is injured, 15-year-old D.J. Schwenk takes over the lion's share of work on her family's small Wisconsin dairy farm. Between milking cows, mucking out the barn, and mowing clover, this erstwhile jock takes on training Brian, the rival high school's quarterback. A monster crush and a tryout for her own school's football team ensue. D.J., a charming if slightly unreliable narrator, does a good deal of soul-searching while juggling her grinding work schedule, an uncommunicative family, and a best friend who turns out to be gay. Savvy readers will anticipate plot turns, but the fun is in seeing each twist through D.J.'s eyes as she struggles with whether she really is, as Brian puts it, like a cow headed unquestioningly down the cattle shoot of life. Wry narration and brisk sports scenes bolster the pacing, and D.J.'s tongue-tied nature and self-deprecating inner monologues contribute to the novel's many belly laughs. At the end, though, it is the protagonist's heart that will win readers over. Dairy Queen will appeal to girls who, like D.J., aren't "girly-girls" but just girls, learning to be comfortable in their own skins. The football angle may even hook some boys. Fans of Joan Bauer and Louise Rennison will flock to this sweet confection of a first novel, as enjoyable as any treat from the real DQ.-Amy Pickett, Ridley High School, Folsom, PA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Finally, a football book a girl can love. . . . With humor, sports action and intelligence abundant, this tale has something for everyone. --Publishers Weekly, starred A fresh teen voice, great football action and cows--this novel rocks. --Kirkus Reviews, starred This extremely likable narrator invites readers into her confidence and then rewards them with an engrossing tale of love, family, and football. --Horn Book In her debut novel, Murdock skillfully captures the messiness that comes with learning to open up to others and deal with life and love. --Columbus Dispatch