Dairy Queen

Title: Dairy Queen (Book 1 in Dairy Queen)
Author: Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Publisher: HMH Books
Release Date: April 30, 2006

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.

This book was fantastic. The author set a good pace, and the writing was awesome and very easy to get into with the first person POV. D.J. was a very likable character, and almost immediately I found myself rooting for her. The way that her story-telling develops the plot is intriguing and is definitely the hook for readers. She’ll say things describing a problem and then say, “but I won’t get into that now,” even though you’re dying to know what it is that happened to create that problem. D.J. is a character that strings you along, and you very willingly run to catch up to her – no leash-tugging necessary.

The other characters were great, as well: her mom, Brian, Amber, her dad, and Curtis. I liked Bill’s involvement, too, and even though I wish that we saw a bit more of Win, I have a feeling that he’ll have a more significant presence in the future books. Which is another thing I liked – even though neither Win nor Bill were physically present for most of the book, I felt like they were because of the memories that D.J. shared. I think part of the reason I wanted them in the story so much is because D.J.’s desire to have them back in her life was rubbing off on me, the reader.

The book is a very nice reflection of real life – full of imperfections and errors, but beautiful moments, too. The things that D.J., a relatively simple girl, saw, made so much sense. Her comparisons of people to cows, even though they weren’t exactly elegant (“what if a cow decided one day to climb a tree?”) made complete sense in context and was a perfect metaphor for certain life lessons, like Don’t follow the crowd, but in a way that made the reader want to hear it and make that connection. So although this book was probably aimed at readers a bit younger than me (maybe ages 13-15) it really is a great book for older readers, too.

I’m very excited to start reading the second book, which I actually have right next to me, so I’ll be posting another review soon! I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in contemporary stories, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

~Yours Truly

*Note: Due to mild sexual content, I do not recommend this book to readers under the age of 12.

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