Dairy Queen

by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Hardcover, 2006

Call number




HMH Books for Young Readers (2006), Edition: 1st, 288 pages


After spending her summer running the family farm and training the quarterback for her school's rival football team, sixteen-year-old D.J. decides to go out for the sport herself, not anticipating the reactions of those around her.

User reviews

LibraryThing member edspicer
Most fiction books for teens take readers to big cities or to isolated wilderness areas. Very few books for teens take us to Midwest farms. There are not very many books at all that really show the relentless, backbreaking work that defines farming. Dairy Queen shows this brilliantly and is the
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reason for giving this book a star. D.J. has assumed the responsibility for taking care of the cows after her father’s accident. Every single day, twice a day, without exception she must milk the cows. Neglect this duty for even a day and you risk killing a cow and losing thousands of dollars. Unthinkable and something that D.J. and her family will never discuss. D.J., however, also wants a life. She’s feeling a bit too much like a cow herself, always doing what is expected. D. J. is strong and she comes from a family of great football players. When she is put in charge of “conditioning” the star quarterback from a rival high school, D.J. begins to question what she wants to do with her own high school career. Football and cows! It works! Recommended for middle school students and all high school libraries.
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LibraryThing member craigwsmithtoo
When the wealthy quarterback from a rival football team is sent by his coach to work on a dairy farm with DJ, he gets lessons in football, life, and romance? His new trainer learns a lot about herself.

Great book about a girl who comes from a family of dairy farmers and football players. She has
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difficulty finding her own identity.

This is an excellent book for teens who aren't sure where they fit into the scheme of things. One message in this book is not to worry about your future, or living to be what other people think you should be. Instead, do what makes you happy and gives you satisfaction.
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LibraryThing member ranaemathias
Dairy Queen is a delightful story of a fifteen year old girl growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. DJ is expected to take over the farm work when her dad has hip surgery. Her depth of character along with her unspoken desires shows us how much she sacrifices for her family. With two older
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brothers who play college football, she grew up learning and loving the game. When the rival school's quarterback is required to help with the farm to "learn a work ethic", she teaches him many things, the least of which is how to improve his game. By summer's end, she has some tough choices to make about school, her growing feelings for the rival quarterback, and a decision that could change the course of her life.
I highly recommend this book, as well as its sequels; all of which flow beautifully from one to another creating a great story about family, sacrifices and growing up.
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LibraryThing member Jenson_AKA_DL
D.J. Schwenk is on her summer vacation from school, but it is not much of a vacation. Ever since her father hurt his hip D.J. has almost single handedly worked the family's dairy farm. With her oldest brothers in college on football scholarships, her youngest brother in little league playoffs and
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her mother working two jobs, who else is there? When her father's friend decides to send one of her school's rival quarterbacks to her for training D.J. can't figure out why, despite her experience training with her older brothers. However, it is nice having help working on the farm and she really loves football so D.J. goes along with the idea. Dairy Queen is the story of how one girl's decision to not be "just another cow" shakes up her entire world, for better or worse.

I'm so happy to say that I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed this story. D.J. is an amazing character and it was very easy to fall into her life. I loved how both D.J. and Brian's personalities developed during the course of the book. This is probably one of my favorite books that I've read recently and I was very happy to find out that there is a sequel planned. I'd highly recommend this one to anyone middle school and up.
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LibraryThing member lostinabook88
"When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said"

After D.J.'s father injured his hip, she had to take over the bulk of the work on their family's farm. Having to milk twice a day, hay whole fields, and clean out the barn, there's a lot that doesn't get said. And when Brian
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Nelson, Hawley's QB and most arrogant arch rival of Red Bend, shows up one day to work on the farm, D.J. doesn't take it lightly. Now with a best friend who's acting strange, a brother who won't talk, a family who doesn't communicate well, and a boy who may or may not be just the person D.J. needs, she must dig deep down to figure out who she is. And that she is not, by any stretch of the meaning, a cow.

I loved D.J.'s voice in this novel. Going on the journey with D.J. trying to find out who she is and becoming comfortable in her own skin was funny, sad, and heart-warming. The scenes with Brian and D.J. talking but not talking were incredibly realistic in their ackward, there isn't always something to say manner. Their encounters were also hilarious. The relationship that builds between D.J. and Brian is so beautiful and believable because it's one that roots and ends in friendship, which is hard to find in books nowadays (between a boy and a girl). The plot twists and turns that come about are surprising and delightful. The sports scenes were accurate while still keeping the excitement in pacing. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this original novel about farms and football. It was a curve ball of a book I didn't see coming, and those are the best kind. D.J. really puts her heart into the book and it's clear from the beginning. Although she sometimes can be very self-hating, she learns things about herself and life at a pace that I think we all have or will. I would reccommend this book to anyone who likes reading about a family that comes together, a sweet first love, and anyone who likes (or would like to learn, as I did) about football and milking cows! This was dazzling!
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LibraryThing member aleon
Well , this book is really something new and different… and well its basically awesome. This book is part of a trilogy (no 4th book coming soon or ever unfortunately), the first book is really just a self empowerment type of book. The protagonist, D.J. Schwenk, works on a dairy farm, because her
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father has hurt his hip and cant work until he’s recovered. The book is basically about how D.J. fights against her school and others opinions to play football for the football team which is all male, and how her new friendship with her schools rival teams quarterback affects her.

Reading this book really made me feel like there was nothing that can stop you from doing what you truly love. The cover really isn’t a good way to judge the book, you see the cover and you think its probably a really fluffy teenage romance cliché.... And it is, but she's not this love-sick teenage girl going crazy for this guy and she's DEFINITELY not some girly girl. This girl essentially lives in a “hick” town and for her to go out for the boys football team is a tough road, and there are a lot of people who aren’t going to be ok with it. She goes through a tough time adjusting and her life isn’t perfect in fact joining the football team doesn’t mean she can actually play against other teams. I really did like this book, its very female empowerment.

What I loved about the main character is how funny, sarcastic, and open-minded she is, though you wouldn't know it from what she actually says, hiding behind a quiet exterior. Makes you think that maybe that quiet friend of yours has a lot more opinions than you actually thought. The tie in with cows is how she's most comfortable with cows and likes using them for metaphors for a lot of things in her life.

Overall, its very sentimental and sweet. I really do hope you have a chance to read it, a lot of people think that this is a good sports fan book but you can enjoy it otherwise (me being a good example). The plot twists will have you hooked. This book is probably more of a tween going on teen or early teen-read.
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LibraryThing member marnattij
Sick of being the one carrying the family farm while her older and younger brothers work on their football careers, D.J. decides to tryout for the high school team herself. D.J. is a very real character and her story is amusing. The book is perfect for middle school or high school girls, especially
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those who feel different from their girly-girl cohorts.
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LibraryThing member WarriorLibrary
I really liked this book and can hardly wait for the next one. D.J. is a farm girl with 3 brothers. When she starts training the quarterback from a rival school, it leads to complications.
LibraryThing member nhMidLib
I LOVE this book. There's humor, there's sports, there's romance, there's family issues. But most of all, there's D.J.--a genuine character who discovers while toughening up a pampered quarterback that she's pretty tough herself.
LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
DJ Schwenk does not have an easy time of it at all. She works herself to the bone running her family farm because her dad hurt his hip and her two older brothers aren't speaking to the family. She doesn't have many friends and her family doesn't really talk. She's failing English. And worst of all,
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she's being forced to work with the snotty quarterback of her rival high school's football team. DJ puts up with it all until one day she looks up and realizes that she's just like the cows on her farm. She's been going through life doing what's expected of her without even considering doing anything else. And it's going to be up to her to decide if she can change things around.

It took me a little bit to get into this book, but once I did, I totally loved it. DJ is a great character. She's got a lot of depth and a lot of conflict in her life. Nothing is easy for her, but she manages to persevere anyway. I loved how you can really see the characters learning and growing throughout the summer. A+ and I can't wait for the sequel!
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LibraryThing member delphica
(#30 in the 2007 book challenge)

Excellent YA novel. The blurb is along the lines of a high school girl joining the boy's football team, but this book is so not about ... you know, the usual story of a girl trying to join a boy's team, it's about 10 million times better. It's a great look at modern
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American farm life, and being an outsider. This was so interesting to me, because in so many YA books you get the whole "outsider" vibe as the kid who doesn't have many friends and maybe is a geek and maybe likes to read books too much and always picked last for sports, which is certainly my own experience as an outsider kid. I loved it that book creates this completely believable main character, D. J. Schwenk, who is genuinely an outsider in a different way.

Grade: A
Recommended: Great book for middle school girls, and it works great as a football book as well.
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LibraryThing member stephxsu
A cow. That’s what Brian Nelson calls D.J. Schwenk on the first day he works for their farm. D.J. is a cow because she does everything her injured but grumpy father tells her to do, which is basically to run the farm by herself, forced to give up her athletic passions along the way. Brian’s
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accusation may be harsh, even after he apologizes and they start becoming friends, but D.J. is forced to admit that what he said is true. Most people in the world, she realizes, simply do what they are expected to do, whether they know it or not.

And certainly a bigger group of cows there can not be than her own family, the Schwenks. They are poor and uncommunicative and repress their feelings when it would be better to speak up. As a result, D.J.’s older brothers don’t talk to the family anymore. Her mother hides away in her active principal’s office even during the summertime. Her younger brother Curtis speaks about once every blue moon, and her dad simply complains about D.J.’s faults without helping one bit.

The summer before her junior year certainly gives D.J. new things to think about. She’s stuck on Brian’s cow comment, for example, and how she can make herself stand out from the “herd.” She learns something shocking about her best friend Amber. Most of all, she’s experiencing a totally new emotion with Brian, who is popular, athletic (under her training, of course), smart, good-looking…everything she will never allow herself to hope for.

Maybe, however, junior year and her new decisions will make her life turn out a lot differently than what she expected.

DAIRY QUEEN was a joy to read! D.J.’s troubles may begin to sound like a soap opera after a while, but her down-to-earth farm-girl manner of talking keeps things fresh and interesting. D.J. may put herself down, but readers will not hesitate to want to befriend her, and to find out what happens in this great book’s sequel, THE OFF SEASON.
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LibraryThing member yhslibrary
This was a fun book to read about a dysfunctional family and a girl who must work the family dairy farm alone while her father recovers from a hip injury. Along comes Brian, football hero from the other high school to train. All the cows are named for early NFL football players. If you like
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football this will be fun to read, even if you don't know much about football.
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LibraryThing member debmonn
Loved it! It's great to listen to as well. Be sure to check out the sequel, The Off Season.
LibraryThing member Emibrarian
D.J. must work hard to keep the family dairy farm running. She has the opportunity to train her rival football team's quarterback and decides to try out for the football team herself. She learns how to talk to others and why communciation is so important. (Listened to on CD)
LibraryThing member jwhalen
A fun look at a girl who has the skills to be on the football team like her brothers had been but are girls allowed on the football team.? To complicate matters she is asked to help train the local quarterback while they also work on her dad's dairy farm.
LibraryThing member ethelmertz
I loved this book! It was funny and sweet, and I connected with DJ as a person rather than a character. I love the "don't be a cow" attitude.
LibraryThing member parkridgeya
This is the story of D.J. Schwenk who has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her life is a bit of a mess and she is in charge of her entire farm since her Dad hurt himself and her little brother is too young to really help. She doesn’t complain though and soldiers on even though it meant
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skipping out on basketball and failing English.

Then one day, Brian Nelson, a local football star, comes by after being sent to help out by his football coach. Through various means, D.J. ends up training Brian for the summer to get him ready for football. About halfway through D.J. decides to go out for her school’s football team. Meanwhile, she and Brian are having these heart to hearts and she is starting to really like him, but D.J. is a little more stocky than most girls he goes for.
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LibraryThing member kelleykl
Book Talk: D.J. Shwenk doesn't talk a lot. And neither does her family. But, when the quarterback from her high school's rival team shows up to work on her farm, D.J. begins to wonder why. Things get complicated when she goes from being the little sister of the football stars to trying out
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I was a little reluctant to read this book, but ended up really liking it. Plenty of thought-provoking ideas especially about gender roles. Although most of the teens in my library might have trouble relating to the farm culture, the voice is genuine an the themes are not heavy-handed.
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LibraryThing member Erin14
"Dairy Queen" was a fantistic book for sports crazy females. The main character is a young girl who must take over ALL the work on her family's farm when her father is injured and her older brothers are away at college. She is the only daughter in a predominately "football" family and is a gifted
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athlete. Read the book to find out how she uses her athletic prowess to repair family relationships that have been recently strained.
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LibraryThing member GaylDasherSmith
OK, so it was the title that first got to me. But this was a great girl empowerment story. The backdrop of life in a small town Wisconsin farming community felt very real. The football was even shown in a great light in terms of what it did for the young people in the story, male and female alike.
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I rooted for D.J. She reminded me of my own farmgirl friend, Darlene, who shares her name.
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LibraryThing member ewyatt
I read The Off Season first. I liked it so much I had to find out the beginning of DJ's story.
Dairy Queen takes place immediately before The Off Season. DJ is working, hard, to keep her family farm running. When Brian, the second string quarterback from her school's arch-rival, is assigned by his
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coach to learn work ethic and get trained by DJ her world flips quite a bit. DJ does a lot self-discovery during the summer. She is a likeable, hard-working teenage girl who wants to break out of her do what she's told and what is expected.
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LibraryThing member JRlibrary
This isn't my review. It is a review by Kristi Olson from teenreads.com and she explains the book much better than I ever could.
Fifteen-year-old D.J. Schwenk wants more than anything not to be a cow. Cows just "go along doing what they're supposed to do without complaining or even really noticing,
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until they die." And if anyone should know about cows, it's D.J. Schwenk, who has pretty much been running her family's Wisconsin farm for the past six months. Her father has a back injury, her mother works full-time as a teacher/temporary principal, her two older brothers are away playing football at college, and her younger brother Curtis is too young and mute to take control. There's no one else to run the farm but D.J.
So, despite the fact that she's a high school girl, D.J. finds herself spreading manure, bailing hay, and milking cows daily. At the start of summer, she gets an unexpected helper. Jimmy Ott, an old friend of the family who also happens to coach the neighboring town's football team, sends over Brian Nelson, his team's quarterback, to assist the Schwenks. Now, the Schwenk family is good at two things in the world:
farming and football. D.J.'s older brothers, Win and Bill, were the stars of Red Bend's teams. Her father used to coach and names all his cows after football players and managers.
Brian Nelson is "the very worst that a lazy, stuck-up, spoiled Hawley quarterback could be." Despite the fact that D.J. desperately needs help on the farm, she's not sure if she's so desperate as to want his help. And then, Coach Jimmy Ott has an even crazier idea. Since D.J. knows so much about football herself, maybe she could be Brian's summer trainer. Although Brian and D.J. both find the idea insane at first, they agree to try it out.
D.J. and Brian have a very heated relationship. What starts out as annoyance with one another turns into friendship. Talking to Brian makes D.J. see things about herself and her family that she never realized before. Brian comments how D.J. doesn't say too much and keeps her thoughts and feelings locked inside. D.J. realizes that her entire family is like this. Her brother Curtis is so mute that the teachers at school keep giving him tests to make sure he's not disabled. And her parents had a huge fight with her brothers and haven't talked to them for months. (Or so she thinks.)
Talking to Brian makes D.J. vow not to be a cow. She's tired of keeping the true D.J. locked up. And what does the true D.J. want to do? In true Schwenk nature, of course, she wants to play football on her high school team. Little does she realize the ruckus that will ensue when she follows her heart.
DAIRY QUEEN is a wonderful first novel from author Catherine Gilbert Murdock. D.J.'s unique voice makes the story engaging and fresh. Not only is D.J. a highly likable character, her wry wit and humor make her a tomboy with heart and a great heroine for the YA genre. The Schwenk family life is at times heartbreaking, but is so realistic that I can't believe the author isn't really a football-playing farm girl from Wisconsin.
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LibraryThing member readingsarah
One of the best books I've ever had the pleasure to pick up. D.J. has a fresh and new voice that doesn't sound like it came from any author.
LibraryThing member kpickett
DJ’s family owns a dairy farm in Wisconsin, which takes up most of her time. With her two older brothers gone off to college, DJ has to help her dad with the farm before and after school. This doesn’t leave a lot of social time. When the rival town’s football coach sends their quarterback to
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DJ for summer training, DJ gets an idea and decides to try out for her high school’s football team. DJ and strong and realistic, full of self doubt, but still determined and brave.

Just a warning for the conservative reader, DJ's best friend does come out as a lesbian in this one.
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0618683070 / 9780618683079


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