Dairy Queen (novel)
|Author||Catherine Gilbert Murdock|
|May 22nd, 2006|
|Followed by||The Off Season|
The sequel is called The Off Season. And the next book is Front and Center.
The novel is about a 15-year-old girl named Darlene Joyce (D.J.) Schwenk, who lives on a farm in Red Bend, Wisconsin. During the summer, she is pressured into training a stubborn football player named Brian Nelson. Who attends Hawley High school (which is Red Bend's rival school). Eventually, they become friends, and D.J. develops romantic feelings for Brian. Part of D.J.'s struggle is that she had once been a star athlete in volleyball and basketball. When her father hurts his hip, she had to take over all the responsibilities of running their dairy farm. Her only hopes of college had been sports scholarships, and when she is forced to quit sports in order to run the farm, she starts slacking in school. She fails her English Class
D.J.'s two older brothers Win and Bill are legends at her school and both play college football. D.J. decides to try out for her high school football team. When pre-season is about to start, D.J.'s best friend Amber walks in on a waterfight between D.J. and Brian. Brian leaves, and D.J. and Amber argue. Later on, D.J.'s friend Kari invites her to a gravel-pit party, which Amber attends. D.J. tells the two of them about her decision and Amber expresses her disgust. After, D.J. encounters Amber away from the rest of the party. Then Amber reveals, "You're with me. You're not with him. It's the two of us. Don't you see that?" It then occurs to D.J. that Amber is in love with her.
D.J. withholds her decision to try out for the team from Brian, and when he finally finds out their friendship is ruined because Brian feels like D.J. has betrayed him.
Throughout the summer, D.J. learns a lot about the people in her life. She also discovers that there is a lot of meaning in speaking out. Brian once says to her "When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said." D.J. and her family don't communicate effectively, her father rarely speaks to any of them except for her mother, her two older brothers are in the middle of a silent fight with her father, they have no contact with the family, until D.J. finds out her mother has been communicating with them the whole time, and her younger brother speaks only when he is spoken to. But in the end, D.J. and her family are brought closer together.
An extract from this novel was included into one of Cambridge Exams (FCE for schools) in the beginning of May 2011.