Monday, January 22, 2007

Dairy Queen: A Novel

Murdock, Catherine Gilbert. 2006. DAIRY QUEEN: A NOVEL. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0618683070 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]

After her father is injured, fifteen-year-old D.J. Schwenk must give up track and basketball so she can take over the operations at her family’s diary farm. After agreeing to help the opposing team’s quarterback work on his game (and developing a crush on him at the same time), D.J’s life grows increasingly complicated. Due to her successful coaching experience, and because she is tired of always doing what is expected of her, D.J. decides that she will try out for her high school’s team and play against her former student and now-boyfriend, Brian, whose football team is a bitter rival of her team.
Murdock’s DIARY QUEEN offers much that is appealing to young readers; well-drawn, quirky characters enrich the novel and help bring the story to life. Told in first-person memoir, D.J. is a winning narrator, and it is her voice, full of wit and humor, that shines in the book as she details the events that unfold around her. Also notable are Murdock’s secondary characters. From the reticent brother, Curtis, to D.J’s distant father, the supporting cast allows the story to flesh out to a satisfactory finish. And while the novel greatest strength may be the characterization, the engaging and fluid plot helps drives the story, making it noteworthy as well.
After selecting a secondary character, readers could rewrite an important event from the book, telling it from the point-of-view of that character.

Other teen novels with rural settings:
Fusco, Kimberly. TENDING TO GRACE. ISBN 0375828621
Weaver, Will. FULL SERVICE. ISBN 0374324859

By Rose Brock

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