Dairy Queen – Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Synopsis from Goodreads.
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

“If this was a movie or something I’d give this awesome speech and everyone would cheer and it would be great. But it wasn’t a movie-it was my life. And I don’t have much to say in the best of situations.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
If you need me, I’m gonna be in Schwenksville. Also… this review is brought to you by the letter ‘R’… for REAL

High Points.
This book is re-… OK, I’ll stop that right there. DJ Swchenk. Brian. Summer lovin’. A girl with ambitions. Diversity. Cows. Pick-up trucks. Water fights. Painting. Brothers. Nervous phone calls. Head butts. Brownies.

Low Point.
(Prepare for a ramble, this actually is only one low point. But I just like the sound look of my own voice words.)
This year I got tricked into staying up and watching the Superbowl. I was told “It’s like rugby. Except you can’t really see their face because they wear protection so you can’t objectify the players like you do with rugby. But apart from that… there’s no difference.”
Disclaimer: There are more reasons to why I watch and enjoy rugby than the prospect of Jonny Wilkinson in tiny shorts. Like Toby Flood, Delon Armitage, Mark Cueto, Chris Ashton and when we play Scotland… everyone but especially Richie Gray but don’t tell anyone because I can’t love the enemy….in tiny shorts. Like I get to watch it with my dad and my brother and it makes me all goosepimply when the crowd starts singing ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’ at Twickenham.
But anyway… it turns out there is a huge difference between American Football and rugby. I get far too into games of rugby (I could have given Martin Johnson a run for his money in the scowling stakes this past Six Nations *grumbles*). I know rugby. I understand rugby (well, I’m not an expert and I still have to ask my granddad, who gives me an exasperated look and states “This is why girls shouldn’t watch sport” or “The effin’ ref, Jo, that’s what’s happening.”) sometimes but I understand about 95% of what is happening… which is good for a girl).
I do not know American football and I do not understand American football. I tried to watch Friday Night Lights but every time Kyle Chandler was on the screen all I could think about was Early Edition and that episode of Grey’s Anatomy and that can of worms was opened and… yeah.
So this book often lost me in that sense…. But it didn’t take away any of the enjoyment, but I just think it would have increased the enjoyment if I actually knew what the eff was going on.

OK, I’m pretty sure I am was DJ Schwenk in another life. She is awkward, she isn’t all that clever but she is so real genuine as a teenager and she was so believable. Also she is gutsy and cynical and not a girly girl without being too overwhelming or ‘YEAH. LOOK AT ME. I’M A MASSIVE TOMBOY AND FEMINIST. WHATCHA GONNA DO, HUH? YEAH. I’M GONNA PUNCH YOU IF YOU LOOK AT MY BOOBS’ because, to me, that’s just as bad as a YA heroine being simpering and blarrgh.
The line isn’t that fine between these two categories and I wish more authors would take a leaf out of Ms Gilbert Murdock’s book and create characters that experience feelings that every day people have but not lose themselves completely when things go belly-up.
DJ is such a refreshing heroine and I can’t wait to find out more about her.

Best Friend.
I really hope we see more of Amber in the next book… such an original relationship and I can’t wait to see where it will go.

Love Interest.
Brian, you are as cute as a button. And even though you’re flirtytirty relationship with DJ was very subtle it was still present and so cute… and surprisingly swoonworthy.
From other reviews of this book I have read, I thought this book was going to be a love-free zone, so I was pleasantly surprised when I ended up getting a bit tummy-flippy at certain parts.
Again, I don’t think your story is finished yet and I bet you continue to make me go weak at the knees and wish I knew more about American football so I could understand a single word you said and not just focus on you painting barns topless.
Which I didn’t do. Nuh-uh not me.

Theme Tune.

Milkshake- Kelis
HAHA…I’m kidding.
*looks shifty*
I thought it would be really difficult to find a song about this book because surely there are hardly any songs about cows and dairy and farming… right? WRONG.
I found lots.
But I’m saving them for t’other books in this series which I can’t wait to get my grubby mitts on. Although… they might not even be about farming. But whatever.

So here’s Numero 1.

Because I love the Foo Fighters and I have seen them about a million times live and whenever I have seen them they were with my best friends at the time and Dave Grohl will always have a special place in my pants heart.

Boy/Girl Angst Level.
2/10. YOU GUYS, I have found a book with absolutely no boy angst. Well, OK. About two pages. But it’s completely OK, because D.J is a normal girl who is real and thus doesn’t have approximately a million chapters of ‘WHY DOESN’T HE LOVE ME?’ She has normal hang-ups but doesn’t blabber on about them. She gets on with things which is what normal and real life people do and it’s awkward and sometimes I had to read this book through my fingers because it reminded me so much of myself but it’s real. And I loved it.

Sadness Scale.
5/10. This was a tough one because there were some parts that really made me quite sad and it was kind of like when you’re in the cinema and you get a bit choked up at a part and you look to the person next to you and it’s not affected them at all. And then you feel a bit silly for getting a bit worked up. That was like looking at D.J’s life. It wasn’t that she didn’t let things bother her.. but she just didn’t let other people know they were bothering her.
Oh, I just loved D.J.

Recommended For.
People who are looking for a realistic fiction where a girl is just a girl and a boy is just a boy. No one changes into something at night, no one has a taste for blood and no one has the fate of the world resting on their skinny shoulders. People who were awkward. People who have ever dreamed of being taunted with a jock strap by a sweaty boy of doing something that you love. People who have older brothers. People who have always wanted to live on a farm. People who like American Football… I’m presuming the depiction is quite correct? People who love brownies that you can eat like soup. People who collect animal skulls. People who wouldn’t know where to even begin if someone handed them a power hose. People who have ever used the excuse ‘Um, we were just doing sit ups Dad”.

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