Review of “The Off Season” by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

This is Book Two of “The Dairy Queen” series about D.J. (for Darlene Joyce) Schwenk, 16 now, who is six feet tall, athletic, funny, and the charming narrator of this trilogy about her “coming of age” in Red Bend, Wisconsin. When D.J. isn’t doing chores on her family’s dairy farm, she is playing football or basketball on her high school team. She is also “crazy in love” with Brian Nelson, the quarterback of Red Bend’s main rival, Hawley.


In this book, D.J. gets injured during a football game, and has to decide whether to drop football, which she loves. But her shoulder injury is nothing compared to what happens to her older brother Win, who plays football for the University of Washington. On a televised game the whole family was watching, he sustained a severe injury to his spinal cord. D.J.’s mother threw her back out, and her father had to take care of the dairy cows, so it was up to D.J. to go to the hospital at U. of Washington and tend to Win.

Win was full of anger about his injury – “a C5 incomplete” – not talking to anyone, and not trying to help with is own recovery. D.J. is hurt by his rejection and doesn’t know what to do to help him. Moreover, she figured out that Brian was embarrassed by her, and that’s why he never would be seen in public with her.

But the Schwenks are nothing if not survivors, and in this inspiring book, they all figure out how to play the cards they were dealt.

Rating: 3.5/5

Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2007


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2 Responses to Review of “The Off Season” by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

  1. Beth F says:

    Sounds like a story with a lot of good messages.

  2. BermudaOnion says:

    D. J. sounds like such a strong character. I think I’d love her.

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