The Off Season

The Off Season

by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780618934935
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 03/18/2008
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 177,294
Product dimensions: 5.54(w) x 10.58(h) x 0.72(d)
Lexile: 1160L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

Catherine Murdock grew up on a small farm in Connecticut and now lives in suburban Philadelphia with her husband, two brilliant unicycling children, several cats, and a one-acre yard that she is slowly transforming into a wee, but flourishing ecosystem. She is the author of several books, including the popular Dairy Queen series starring lovable heroine D. J. Schwenk,  Princess Ben, and Wisdom's Kiss.

Read an Excerpt

Every labor day, the Jorgensens—they own Jorgensens’ Ice Cream—set up a little ice cream stand right in their yard, which means you can spend the entire Labor Day picnic making yourself ice cream sundaes if that’s what you want to do, and for years when I wasn’t playing softball or chasing the Jorgensen kids or trying to keep up with my brothers, I’d sit myself at that little booth making one sundae after another until it was time to head home for evening milking, and then a couple miles into the drive I’d bring that whole sundae experience back up, right there on the side of whatever road we happened to make it to. Lately, though, I have a little more self-control. Now I only eat three or four, without marshmallows because I finally figured out that they shouldn’t really be part of the whole sundae thing, while I’m hanging out at the pig roast watching guys poke at the fire because apparently it’s a law that if you’re a guy you have to spend a bunch of time doing that. Then maybe I’ll grab one more between innings when I’m not pitching.
   That’s the other great thing about the picnic: the softball game. Randy Jorgensen has a huge backyard he mows all year for this, and he borrows bases from Little League so it’s official and all. He even got an umpire’s getup at a garage sale somewhere, and a friend of his who owns a pig farm works every year as umpire after he’s got the pig going in the pit.
   My mom used to pitch the game. She pitched all through college, and her team was pretty good from what she’s told me. Then one year she threw her back out, which isn’t that hard to believe considering she doesn’t get much exercise these days and, well, she weighs a whole lot more than she used to. She threw out her back so much that she couldn’t walk or anything, Dad had to drive her home in the back of the pickup as she lay there like a piece of plywood if plywood could holler to slow down, and she had to spend three weeks on the living room floor until she healed. Which isn’t such a swell thing to be doing when you’re supposed to be teaching sixth grade and it’s the first three weeks of school.
   So she’s not allowed to pitch anymore. But at least she started exercising again—not for softball but just to lose some weight—which means puffing around the farm fields, swinging her arms in this way that makes me glad she’s not walking where anyone can see her. I guess she figures that an elementary school principal, which she is now since she moved up from teaching sixth grade, shouldn’t be quite so heavy.
   The softball game is always kids against the grownups, from little tiny kids still in diapers to old farmers who get their grandkids to run because they don’t have any knees left. There’s always lots of arguing about where the teenagers should go. This year Randy Jorgensen made a big plea for Curtis, trying to get him on the grownup side on the grounds that he’s one of the tallest people there, which is true, but seeing as he’s only going into eighth grade he really does belong on the kids’ team.
   After Mom hurt her back, Randy tried pitching but he took it way too seriously, and the next year Mom suggested me, and now I guess it’s just tradition. Which is nice because I don’t play school softball seeing as I run track, and this fall of course I was playing football, which is another whole story in and of itself, so this is how I get my softball fix. Plus I’m not too biased. Mom says I’m Switzerland, which I think she means as a compliment.
   Besides, it’s not like competitive softball. You mostly just try to get the ball across the plate slow enough for whoever’s trying to hit it, and keep it dry from the guys who hit with a beer in their other hand. Some little kids hold the bat out like they’ve never held a bat before, which some of them haven’t, and I’ll toss the ball as gently as I can against the bat, which in this game counts as a hit, and the kid will be so surprised they’ll just stand there while everyone starts hollering, and their mom will have to take them by the hand to run around the bases, and in the meantime the catcher, who’s usually Randy’s wife, Cindy, will toss to first but just happen to overthrow, and so the kid will continue on to second just totally amazed, and the second baseman will fumble eight or nine times with a bunch of moaning, and the kid will make it to third, and sometimes if there are enough errors the kid will score a home run and walk around on a cloud for the rest of the afternoon.
   With other folks, of course, I’m not so nice. Mom always takes a couple turns at bat even though sshe shouldn’t because of her back. All the younger kids in the outfield think this is hilarious, their principal standing there in her big floral shorts and her big pink T-shirt, looking a lot more like a beach ball than a batter. But the older kids know enough to back up. One year she hit the ball so hard it took twenty minutes to find it. I guess she needs to get her softball fix in too, and also needs to teach those kids a lesson or two about mouthing off.
   Then there’s Curtis, who’s always a huge part of the game, and I’m not just talking about his playing. My little brother might not talk to grownups much, or to me, but with little kids he’s just amazing. I don’t know if it’s because they can tell, the way dogs can sometimes, that he’s safe and he’ll be really nice to them, which he will. Or maybe he’s just a lot more comfortable with kids than older folks, and they pick up on that. But wherever he goes where there are little kids, like this picnic, they just flock to him. As soon as Curtis and this girl he was hanging out with sat down on the edge of the softball field, a half- dozen little kids started climbing on him and giggling and asking him questions, and he settled into it like being a human playground was his calling in life. Whenever the littlest kids went up to bat, he’d run the bases with them if they wanted, and in the outfield he’d make sure they got to tag out their dads and uncles, who often tripped really dramatically right before the base so it’d be easier for the kids to get them.
   And then when it was Curtis’s turn to hit, the kids got so excited they were just exploding. Curtis after all was a state MVP in Little League, which everyone in town knows including the dead people, and when he walked up to home plate, the kids started zipping like bugs around a porch light, and all the folks in the outfield went way back, knowing what was coming, and I switched from nice-girl-tossing-the-ball-against-the-bat to big-sister-you-can-eat-this-one mode.
   I pitched a fast one and Curtis swished a strike, and the little kids went bonkers like this was the World Series or something, and then he smashed right through my second pitch and it was clear that all those folks in the outfield hadn’t gone back nearly far enough, and he ambled off toward first base because that ball was a couple hours from being found.
   A bunch of little kids, though, took that ambling personally. They ran up and started tugging on his arms, and his legs even, shrieking at him to run, and then another bunch of kids, his defenders, decided that this first group shouldn’t be so bossy and so they started pulling Curtis the other way because I guess they decided that walking would make him happier. Until finally you couldn’t even really see Curtis, just a dozen little kids hollering and waving their arms and giggling hysterically, pulling him in every direction.
   You know the expression “fall down laughing”? I actually did. I was laughing so hard, standing there on my little pitcher’s mound, that after a while my knees didn’t work and I had to lie down and try to breathe as I watched Curtis getting dragged around the bases. It was, hands down, the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.
   Anyway, that’s a very long story that doesn’t have much to do with anything. But even now that memory makes me grin, Curtis and all those little kids wriggling together . . . It’s hard to believe, sitting here in the hospital writing this down, that I ever felt so happy. That once, not so long ago, my life actually seemed okay.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"The main character is likable…[She] has qualities uniquely her own...readers can relate to, sympathize with and ultimately admire.” Starred KLIATT"

Customer Reviews

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The Off Season 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 110 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The only sport that D.J. will truly ever know is football, what with most of her family playing it and the cows having names like Joe Namath. The only life D.J. Schwenk is used to is the farm life. Now that her two oldest brothers are gone to college, and never seem to stay in contact with them, and her father having a bad hip, it's up to D.J. and her brother to keep her farm working. and the was in the book Dairy queen. Now this is the second book the Off season. C.J. Schwenk has a pretty good thing going. She is on the football team at her high school, has a boyfriend (sort of), and is reconnecting with her best friend. Then things start to unravel. First she has to choose between football and basketball in order to secure a scholarship. Then her boyfriend starts avoiding her. But those issues become minor when her quarterback brother is seriously injured in a college football game. Her parents are unable to travel, and she has to be the one to go to him in the hospital. There she realizes how strong she really is. D.J. is a wonderful character. She is athletic and strong, the opposite of the way young women are usually presented on the TV and in a lot of literature. Girls who liked her in the first book, Dairy Queen, will love her in this one. The author deftly combines large scale crisis, a brother who is paralyzed, with the small details that teens normally deal with, such as what to do when her boyfriend does not call. She is a realistic character in a realistic setting. Girls, especially those that are often accused of being tomboys, will love seeing themselves in D.J, Curtis, the one that hardly ever talks, to get things done.
Cassidy Mitchell More than 1 year ago
This book is great. I recomend the series to anyone who will listen!
Awesomeness1 More than 1 year ago
This one was better than the first one. It was more realistic with less of a Cinderella feel, and DJ really proved herself to be a dynamic character. This story to me was much more interesting. However, the writing style remained poor. I could barely read some sentences because the sentence structure was absolutely horrible. I swear there are one or two sentences that could qualify as the World's Longest Run-On. It also was refreshing to read a teenage book without cussing and sex on every page.
flannabanana on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I love DJ Schwenk. I love that she is realistic, she isn't perfect, and a lot of the time, she has no idea what to say. This book picks up where Dairy Queen left off--DJ is playing football on her high school's team, sort of seeing the rival team's quarterback, and trying to keep her family's farm going. In the first book, I became comfortable with DJ, her family, and the entire cast of secondary characters. They actually feel like actual people and it was delightful to see the continuation of their story and the growth of each individual character.Catherine Gilbert Murdock really threw me through a loop when she threw so much on DJ's table in this book. The best part of this series, obviously in my opinion, is that DJ doesn't just wallow in depression when hard things happen in her life. She deals with it. She deals with life. And that quality is contrary to a lot of YA literature out there in which the main character cannot get over their parent's divorce or moving to a new town or having no friends.As one of four kids, I really appreciate reading books where family dynamics seem realistic--especially those between siblings. I'm trying to figure out what it is about this series that just makes me happy and I think it's just that the entire Schwenk family and their town are good, hardworking people. I kind of hate when people refer to "small-town America" and that value system but, in the case of this book, it kind of applies. I like the idea of a community rallying behind a family and of farmers helping each other when trouble arises. Now, I know this can happen in the suburbs (or even in urban areas) but it just feels so much more...likely in a small town.I was ecstatic when DJ came into herself near the end of this one.*I listened to this an an audiobook. The same person narrates the entire series which is awesome. She does a fantastic job. Especially with the Bob the Duck voice:) "Hey baby, check out this winnngspan."
sarah1234 on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I was disappointed to find it wasn't quite as good as the first one, though books rarely are. This book, though good was also disappointing and I had to force myself to finish it.
lalalibrarian on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I love this series about a tough farmgirl who plays on the boys' football team. DJ isn't in touch with her emotions, but is forced to be as everything in her life falls apart. The audio book was especially fun to listen to because the reader had such a convincing midwestern accent.
BookDrops on LibraryThing 24 days ago
coming of age, farm life, country life, football, basketball, family responsibility, friendship, romance, female athletes, relationship study, first person narrator, authentic voice, football injury, dealing with illness, tween fiction, ya fiction, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, limited audience, Teen Book Festival
JRlibrary on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I know this book isn't new, but it sat on my shelf for a while, not because I didn't want to read it, but because I knew I could count on it to be good, and I was holding out for reading it when I needed a book I could count on. This is the sequel to Dairy Queen, and I think it's even better. This book contains lots of meat; peoples reactions to her best friend Amber's sexual orientation, DJ's fierce attraction to Brian Nelson and his hot and cold responses to her, the financial difficulties she learns her parents are facing about the farm, the trouble that her brother Curtis seems to be getting into just when she's in charge and her parents are not around, and the frightening, potentially career ending football injury that lands her brother, Win, in the hospital. DJ is a believable, honest, strong female and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her take on events as they unfolded around her. My only small regret is that I can't seem to get my readers interested in either book. For some reason, the cover or the title just does not attract them. I think it looks too old fashioned perhaps.
lilibrarian on LibraryThing 24 days ago
DJ is now a linebacker on the boys' football team, and is seeing Brian, the quarterback of a rival team. Her life is turned upside down by that relationship, and her best friend leaving. Then she learns what upside down can really be when her brother is injured in a college game.
sdbookhound on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This was a little different from the first book but I still loved it. Different because DJ spends a lot of time with her brother in the hospital. She still has plenty of deep thoughts and shows her strength throughout the book. I definately think that her family would be lost without her. I could understand her taking over the farm work in the first book more than I could understand her being the sole person at the hospital with Win. I understand that her mother was in no shape, but I thought her dad gave in too easily. Loved the book and can't wait for the third one. I want to see if Brian ever gets a backbone and if DJ finally gets to have some fun.
vanedow on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I read and reviewed the previous book in this series, Dairy Queen, not long ago, and I wasn't a wholehearted fan. However, enough people recommended that I continue with the series that I took their advice. I am SO happy I did, because I absolutely loved The Off Season!DJ, with her down-home, farmgirl sensibilities, is delightful. Even though I was never a big sports girl, I love that DJ is strong and athletic and that she's proud of it. DJ feels like a real person, and she has this deadpan way of speaking that cracks me up. A favorite quote (just so you'll get it, Doing Something Stupid is what gets you pregnant): "...and while I hadn't Done Anything Stupid, I wasn't sure where exactly I stood on the whole subject. I mean, it's not that I wanted to do anything Really Stupid, but I wouldn't be so against doing something Kind of Stupid- something A Little Silly, maybe."I felt like The Off Season had a lot more substance to it than Dairy Queen. This is due largely to an accident that befalls one of DJ's family members. As the family starts to deal with the changes that have befallen them, they all start to grow up a little, and actually deal with what's happening, even if they can't talk to each other. It's a Schwenk thing. This story really dealt with a lot, while still being light-hearted overall and maintaining a PG rating. So, good characters, strong writing, entertaining plot.... definitely recommended.
larson23 on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This book is absolutely amazing! I fell in love with it the moment i picked it up. This is a fast pace book and D.J., the main character, is absolutely inspiring. She shows so much courage and smart, because of how she deals with Brian and that situation in the book. That part was inspiring to me. I would recommend this book to teenage girls.The Schwenk family is all about hard work and their farm. D.J. is playing football for the high school football team, even though she is a girl. She has worked hard for her position and has even trained the rival team's QB the past summer because he was sent to her families farm to develop a work ethic. During that time on the farm and spent with D.J., Brian, the rival QB, starts to develop a liking for D.J. and she develops a liking for him. In D.J.'s mind, everything is going just perfect, until everything just seems to stop going her way. She gets injured, her family is going through some hard times, her relationship with Brian goes downhill, and her best friend moves away. After some difficult times, though, D.J.'s life starts to become normal, whatever the new normal is for her family and she ends up liking the change.
passionateaboutbooks on LibraryThing 24 days ago
The Off Season continues the story of 16-year-old D.J. Schwenk. People in her small community have accepted her decision to play on the high school football, mostly because she is a great player, and Brian Nelson, the rival high school quarterback from Holly, is talking to her again. Things seem to be going well for D.J. until she has an injury that forces her to choose between playing football and basketball. Then, when she thinks that her life can't get any harder for her or her family, D.J. has to cope with an accident that changes everything. Overall, this book is good; at times, I found myself slightly annoyed with D.J.'s narration but liked the fact that she doesn't put up with Brian's lame attempts to be her boyfriend when it's convenient for him.
RoseMarion on LibraryThing 24 days ago
D.J. Schwenk is a junior in high school in rural Red Bend, Wisconsin. Her family has two passions: dairy farming (which is out of necessity) and football (their true delight). D.J.¿s older brothers and father were all football stars, and now D.J. herself is playing linebacker for the high school football team. Her life seems to be going well especially when she becomes close with the quarterback of the rival football team, Brian Nelson. However, situations change and D.J. worries when her parents struggle with making ends meet, Brian ignores her around his friends, and her best friend moves away. Still none of that compares to the heartbreak of seeing her older brother, Win, become paralyzed because of a football injury. Soon D.J. becomes the main caretaker of her brother while he goes through rehabilitation, and she learns how to become a stronger person with deeper perspective.The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock is a sequel to Dairy Queen. Dairy Queen introduces readers to the appealing Schwenk family and D.J. and Brian¿s relationship. While it would be helpful to read Dairy Queen first, it is not necessary to enjoy The Off Season. Furthermore, although The Off Season deals with heavy subject matter, there is humor and joy sprinkled throughout the novel.
mikitchenlady on LibraryThing 24 days ago
A great follow-up. Does not disappoint. Great characters, compelling story. Can't wait for the third installment.
stephxsu on LibraryThing 24 days ago
As far as debut novels go, it¿s hard to top Murdock¿s DAIRY QUEEN, a winning combination of wit and heart, love and loss. But incredibly, she succeeds with its sequel, THE OFF SEASON. It is everything her first book is, and more.As quite possibly the first girl in her state ever to be on her high school football team, D.J. Schwenk has been getting a lot of attention and publicity lately, and she doesn¿t want any of it¿ particularly as she fears it will make her something-or-other friendship/relationship with Brian Nelson, her rival high school¿s star quarterback, even more confusing than it already is. But D.J. never has to go looking for publicity and problems; they come to her. More than ever, she is worried about the future of the Schwenk farm, a dilapidated, outdated relic from the past. Her youngest brother, Curtis, has been mysteriously running off with some girl.Things only get worse when a bad shoulder injury forces her to quit the football team, going from Most Intriguing Girl in Town to Most Despised. D.J. has no time to wallow in self-pity, however, for not long after that her brother Win is badly injured in a football game and has lost his will to live as a cripple. With all of these issues that SHE has to deal with, it¿s no wonder she has no time for schoolwork, friendships, and even Brian. D.J. may be forced to grow up faster than she wants, but maybe some good will come out of it all in the end.In THE OFF SEASON, Murdock continues her beloved heroine¿s story, throwing more hardships her way. The amount D.J. has to deal with may seem like a rural soap opera sometime, but nevertheless D.J. prevails, and so does our admiration and envy of her. She is the best friend you always wish you could have.
BrynDahlquis on LibraryThing 24 days ago
This is the most depressing book ever. But somehow, it's still good, and I still read it all in one sitting.One of the reasons I like it so much is that, as an athlete, I understand lots of the stuff D.J. goes through with unjuries and physical therapy. While my athletic injuries aren't nearly so serious, I can relate to her situation, and yet the story encourages me too, so I don't feel too miserable after finishing a chapter.Somehow Catherine Gilbert Murdock pulls it all in to a bit more hopeful ending so you aren't left feeling depressed and suicidal, but I still don't expect to ever reread The Off Season.
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing 24 days ago
I was delighted to be back with DJ again, she is as wonderful as ever. This sequel was full of disaster, but through it all DJ was true to herself, and her observations filled with honesty and hilarity, no matter how dire the circumstances. Again a great sports story, a great relationship story, a great family story. I'd give this to anyone I catch standing still. Oh, and this cover is so much better than the cow on the first one!
lauren97224 on LibraryThing 24 days ago
The year is good. D. J.'s friendship with Amber is great, and with Amber's girlfriend Dale. And Brian is her boyfriend, kind of. Brian is awesome when they are alone or at the farm, but out in public, he get a "What is the world is SHE doing here?" look. Why? D.J. has a lot of time to figure it out when her brother Win gets a spinal cord injury from football and she stays at the hospital with him. I so loved The Off Season! I thought it was a lot better than Dairy Queen, probably just because I liked the story line better. I definately recommed this book to anyone!
mmillet on LibraryThing 24 days ago
The sequel to Dairy Queen in which through a series of accidents and down right back luck, DJ is no longer playing football but has to help her family when tragedy strikes. This book wasn't as good as the first one, even though you learn more about the Schwenk family and their relisency throughout life. I liked all the issues that were addressed and the fact that DJ got a bigger taste of the world, but I missed the fresh narrator style from the first book. Still it was pretty good. I really wanted to only give this book 3.5 stars, but since it won't let you do that, I'll give it four.
Jenson_AKA_DL on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Things for D.J. Schwenk are finally working out. She's helping the football team win games, her best friend has returned and is speaking to her again and she has a boyfriend she can't stop thinking about. However, life can never be that easy and when tragedy strikes it strikes hard. Very soon D.J. is learning that there are more important things in life than football.I was really apprehensive going into this book having liked "Dairy Queen" so very much. Although it is a much more serious and sad story I thought it was much better. Considering I thought "Dairy Queen" was a pretty amazing book, that's saying something. D.J. is an amazing character that you keep rooting for. This book is a discovery of exactly how strong a person D.J. is and of what she wants to be in the future. I would very highly recommend both of Ms. Murdock's stories.
ewyatt on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I won a set of these books from a book club contest. I just finished the book and can't wait to go back and read Dairy Queen. DJ is the only girl playing varsity football around. Her life is going along smoothly, so smoothly in fact she feels like the other shoe is about to drop. And it sure does. On top of discovering her family's money troubles that may put the future of their farm in jeopardy, her kind-of boyfriend never wants be seen with her in public, her best friend has stopped coming to school, she hurts her shoulder, and her oldest brother has been seriously injured in a football game. DJ deals with all the turmoils with sincerity. This book was a joy to read!
kaburns on LibraryThing 5 months ago
A truly worthy sequel to The Dairy Queen, Murdock's first book about D.J. Schwenk and her family. Football again figures prominently in this second book, as does D.J.'s love life and family problems.
jsjohnso on LibraryThing 5 months ago
The Schwenk family lives in Wisconsin on a dairy farm. The Dad keeps the farm and the Mom is s principal. All four Schwenk siblings are talented--Win--football U. Washington, Bill football U of Minnesota, D.J. Junior at Red Bend High School. She is the only girl on varsity football team & is a 6 foot basketball star, Curtis is an 8th grade science studnet who is very smart. During the summer before D.J.'s junior year, Brian Nelson who is the quarterback for rival Hawley High School (cute, smart and popular) comes to the Schwenk's farm to help out. He and D.J. become friends and just before school starts, he a D.J. go to Minneapolis and begin to think about going out together. She is relly starting to like him. One day while he and D.J. were at the farm, some reporters from People magazine come by and D.J. thinks they are there to talk about turkey farms. Later an article about D.J. and her brothers is in People magazine and D.J. is mortified and embarassed about the article. (Ch. 12) Amber is D.J.'s best friend and she is the one person at school that D.J. can talk with about everything. But, Amber has decided to leave home with Dale (girl friend) in Dale's camper so D.J. feels alone at school.Each Saturday the family watch Win and Bill's games on TV. One Saturday as they are watching Win's game, he is tackled and has a serious head/spine injury. He is taken off the field and to the hospital. Soon the phone rings and it is Charlie, a coach at U. of Washington and he wants Win's parents to fly to be with Win. Mrs. Schenk has hurt her back and cannot move and Mr. Schenk needs to stay home and take canre of the milking and the farm. It is decided that D.J. will go and she flies to be with Win. When she gets there, she is shocked because it is very serious--she knows from Anatomy and Physiology about spine injuries. When she does see Win, he tells her to get everyone out of his room, not to let anyone come in, and to stay out herself. Then he does not talk. Soon Bill comes but he cannot deal with what is going on so it is up to D.J. to handle things and try to get Win to respond. She stays in Win's room late at night as he cries and she wipes his tears but does not say a word. They begin to bond. Finally he goes to rehab and has a wonderful therapist helping him--Maryanne. As Win starts to improve it is up to D.J. to handle the family and encourage Win. Charlie offers Win a job at U. of Washington helping coach so Win must get better. Finally Thanksgiving is here and Win goes home for the day and the family is pulling together to support each other. They are thankful for all that they have together. On a trip home D. J. goes by Brian's school to surprise him and discovers that he is embarassed to be seen with her by his firends. (His dad has raised money for a van for the family to use with Win.) As she thinks about this, she realizes that she does not want to care for someone who trats her that way. Although she has depended on him while Win was first in the hospital, she knows that she cannot be involved with him. This is a great story about a young girl who faces tought circumstances and decisions but handles things well a grows up by accepting so much responsibility. Great story!
abbylibrarian on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Continuing the story started in Murdock's Dairy Queen, this book sees DJ Schwenk starting the school year. Things with Brian are going well and they have a great time... when no one else is around. And football's going great, too, until DJ gets a shoulder injury that leaves her to choose between playing football or dropping football to heal her shoulder for basketball. And when DJ finds out that the family farm is losing money and that basketball might be her only chance to go to college, it doesn't seem like much of a choice. Everyone seems to be mad at her for letting her team down, and DJ doesn't have the words to explain to them why she had to... but then something happens that makes all those worries seem very small. And suddenly DJ's life is changed forever...This is an excellent follow-up to Dairy Queen. It seemed to take up just where DQ left off and I was immediately drawn back into the story. DJ is a great, complex, loveable character and I didn't want her story to end! I laughed and cried with her and I'm really hoping there will be more to the story. These books are Highly Recommended!!