Title: Dairy Queen
Author: Catherine Gilbert Murdoch
What it's about: D.J. Schwenk is fifteen, and she lives and works on her family's dairy farm in Wisconsin. Her summer has a twist thrown into it when a family friend who is also the coach of a rival community's football team sends one of his players to help at the farm in hopes of the player, Brian, learning something about hard work. Eventually, D.J. takes on the task of training Brian in football. D.J.'s well suited to the task, too, since two of her brother's play college ball and the Schwenks are a football family. This is a summer of issues being resolved for D.J. and her family, as she has to deal with the rift between her two older brothers and the rest of the family, her younger brother's propensity for silence, and the direction her own life is taking.
What I thought: The first-person narration here really works. D.J. is an engaging narrator whose voice really rings true to me. She has a lot of issues to deal with in this story, but it never felt like the author was just heaping on the misery to up the angst factor. Probably has to do with the sense of humor D.J. has. The story seemed pretty well paced to me, and though it's approaching three hundred pages, fairly long for a teen novel thing, it was a fairly quick read, just a couple of hours in the afternoon. I enjoyed it a lot, though, and I'll be picking up the sequel from the library soon as it comes in.
Overall: This is exemplary teen fiction.