Release Date: 2006
Age Group: Young Adult
Read by: Natalie Moore
Received From: Library/Overdrive
When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people. But, D.J. can’t help admitting, maybe he’s right. When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isn’t so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth. Why her mom has two jobs and a big secret. Why her college-football-star brothers won’t even call home. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high school football team herself. And why Brian is so, so out of her league. When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D.J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say.
I’ve seen Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock around for years, but I never took the time to actually read what it was about. I knew that it was popular, but that was about it. Then I saw Sab’s review a few weeks ago and thought I need to check this out. See, Sab is my book twin, we pretty much always like the same books. So after seeing that I went straight over to overdrive.com to see if they had the audiobook. They did and I started it that same day. That was also the same day I fell madly in love with dairy farming, football, and D.J. Schwenk.
Dairy Queen is my new favorite thing ever. Really. I have no idea how I went so long without reading. It was one of those books that made me feel like my life was complete…okay…slight exaggeration, but really, I loved it. Here’s why:
D.J. didn’t have a lot of good things going for her at the beginning of the summer in Red Bend, Wisconsin. Her father hurt his hip and her mother was practically working two jobs, so that left D.J. with all the farm work. It wasn’t fair, but what could she do? Everything started looking up for D.J. when Brian Nelson showed up to help out on the farm. Brain is the quarterback at Holly, Red Bend’s number one rival. Needless to say, things got off to a very rocky start with them. I loved watching them form a friendship and then watching it slowly develop into something more. This definitely isn’t a romance novel. There’s no undying love, instead things unfold like they do in the world. The relationship between Brain and D.J. was so sweet.
D.J. Schwenk might be one of the most realistic and honest protagonists I’ve ever come across. She funny and insightful, but also so sad. She was just very believable to me. I connected with her so well. D.J. is the kind of person that I want as a friend. It seems like I don’t come across that too often. She had her fair share of trouble throughout the book, but her growth from beginning to end was extraordinary. That’s saying a lot since this is a short book. There were times that I felt her sadness or happiness so clearly.
Natalie Moore read the audiobook and she is by far the best narrator that I’ve listened to so far. She really brought the story to life. I loved that she had a spot on Wisconsin accent. It made the story even more enjoyable.
Are you ready to read Dairy Queen yet? You don’t have to have any interest in football or farms to read this. Don’t let that put you off. At its heart Dairy Queen is about the bonds between family and friends from the point of view of a teenager trying to figure it all out. I think there’s something in this novel that everyone could relate to. I loved so much that if there wasn’t a sequel I would have started it again right after I finished. It’s the newest addition to my favorites list. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it.
Stay tuned for my review of book 2, The Off Season, very soon!