Audiobook Review: Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock


Release Date: 2006
Age Group: Young Adult
Read by: Natalie Moore
Received From: Library/Overdrive
IBSN: 9780618683079

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 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!


  1. I’d have never expected tis to be s sore awesome!!! It’s great how you read a review from someone you trust so much and find a new booms you just loved so much!
    Totally giving this one a tr, even though it normally wouldn’t be on my TBR pile…
    DannyBookworm recently posted..The Iron Fey Tour – Iron Court & Exclusive GiveawayMy Profile

  2. I’ve heard SO much about Dairy Queen but I’ve yet to read it though I think that might change after your review, which by the way is beautiful! Adding this to my to-read list and hopefully I’ll get to it soon since you made it sound oh so amazing! Thanks for reminding me about this book, now I finally might read it!

    P.S – I LOVE your new design. It’s fresh and simple, nice work! Your very talented :)
    Rebecca recently posted..AAA: Kody Keplinger, author of The DUFF: Top 5 Books Everyone Should ReadMy Profile

  3. I already added this to my WL but I’m tempted to go get it NOW! I cant wait to read it! I spent some summers on a dairy farm. Waking up at 4 to milk the cows wasn’t my favorite thing ever, but I still loved that place! And I have spent some time in Wisconsin and I’m ready to visit again!
    candace recently posted..Review: Origin by Jessica KhouryMy Profile

  4. oh man I was like you. Seeing this book around everyone and actually having an interest in it but just never picking it up. I think YOUR review is going to make me pick it up ASAP!! I love sport themed novels and this setting is just cute!!

    great review!

    – Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf
    Juhina recently posted..Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington – FarahMy Profile

  5. Kim Mathwig says:

    Thanks for the review. Your review convinced me this needs to go on my To Be Read List.
    Fun review!

  6. Awesome review!! I put this on my audiobook list from my library after I saw it in one of your mailbox posts. Now I am even more excited to get to it.
    Amy @ Book Loving Mom recently posted..Review: Undead by Kirsty McKayMy Profile

  7. YAY! I’m so happy you loved it (though I knew you would, we have great taste :P)
    And I loved book 2 even more.. you’ll see.
    What a cute awesome layout by the way. So simple and perfect! :)
    Sab (YA Bliss) recently posted..Audiobook Reviews (11)My Profile

    • We DO have great taste! 😀 I’ve already finished book two and loved it! Overdrive doesn’t have three on audio so I’m going to have to buy it asap.
      And thank you! :)

  8. Lisa Garrett says:

    Thanks for the review. I would love to read this.

  9. Okay, clearly I need to read this book. And I think I might just go the audiobook route. I’m really into audiobooks right now, but I do not have a long commute to work, so it takes me a long time to get through one. I’m listening to A Great and Terrible Beauty right now, and then I plan on listening to The Fault in Our Stars. But maybe after that I can listen to Dairy Queen. It’s been on my list for awhile.
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted..TGIF (15) and Feature and Follow Friday (2)My Profile

    • These are only about 5 hours long…so fairly short. Plus, they are soooo good. It’s the first audiobook that made me want to just sit down and listen to it and do nothing else.

  10. Finding a protagonist that one can either imagine as oneself or care about like a great friend always makes the experience so much better!
    PS Aren’t audiobooks the best?
    Melissa recently posted..Book Review: The Dark Unwinding by Sharon CameronMy Profile

  11. You have no idea how happy I am to hear this, especially considering I just bought this audiobook on Audible! YAY! After I finish listening to Sweethearts, I’m thinking this will be a good choice :) So glad you loved it and good narrators are SO SO IMPORTANT.
    jen recently posted..My Thoughts: A Million Suns by Beth RevisMy Profile

  12. Glad you love it! This is always the first thing out of my mouth when people ask f or contemps with sports. Catching Jordan? Fa-ged-aboud-it. This trilogy is definitely up there on my love it shelf as well!
    Allison (Allure of Books) recently posted..From What I Remember… by Stacy Kramer & Valerie ThomasMy Profile

  13. This is one of the books I wouldn’t give a second glance at if it weren’t for book bloggers! The people who’ve read seem to absolutely love it. I love that D.J. is such a likable and realistic protagonist!
    elena recently tales: 10 amazing libraries around the worldMy Profile

  14. Yay! This is my all-time favorite YA book, and I read it aloud every year to my 8th graders. Maybe I should just play the audio for them instead of losing my voice? 😉 I especially love it because both boys and girls can identify with DJ – she’s such a likable character and experiences so many of the things we all feel.
    Sarah (The Brazen Bookworm) recently posted..Book Review: The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa JamesMy Profile

  15. Like you, this is one of those books that I feel like I’ve heard about a hundred times but never bothered to read. I love the sound of DJ, she sounds like a great MC and I like that the issues seem very relatable (I love books about friends/family).

    Lovely review, Lori, and now I am going to check out that audio book site, too!

    Also: LOVE the new blog design! It’s so simple but refreshing and I absolutely love the white/black/aqua and red – very nice!
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