16178Dairy Queen (Dairy Queen #1) by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Release Date:  May 22, 2006
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

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.– Goodreads


Oh my heart. This book. THIS BOOOOOK. I loved and adored Dairy Queen. I found D.J. to be a smart, realistic teen character who is just trying to survive. Not in a dramatic way, just in a “this is my life” and she learned to deal and enjoy her life, as someone who is called Dairy Queen, because her family runs a local farm, a nickname she hates.

D.J.’s family doesn’t really talk to each other. While they talk about the day, they don’t talk to each other about the important things in life. They discuss what they know: football, the farm, and that’s about it. DJ Schwenk is no Barbie doll, or All American Girl. She is tall, big, strong and because of her father’s injury, she runs her family’s farm.  Yes, she is in high school, and running a farm. Because of this, she is completely overwhelmed by the amount of daily chores that are required for the upkeep. They are often given help from D.J.’s dad’s BFF, the football coach of the rival high school. That is why D.J. isn’t overly surprised when Brian Nelson, the quarterback of a rival school, who is also kind of an asshole to DJ, is ordered by his coach to show up at her doorstep. He is looking for what every other boy in the area is looking for training and to help with the farm. Although D.J. loathes him, she cannot but accept when it comes to free labor on the farm, plus she is hoping to teach the guy a lesson.

However, the most important less in Dairy Queen, is one that D.J. learns about herself, her family, and ultimately the importance of communication.  D.J. keeps a lot inside, and Brian encourages D.J. to talk about more than just the superficial aspects of life. D.J. often states her life isn’t meant for Oprah Winfrey moments, and she is okay with that. What she doesn’t know is how much better life can be. So D.J. starts to go outside of her comfort zone like trying to work on her English paper and actually improve her grade and even join the high school football team.

I read this as an audiobook from the library. I need to state that because the narrator of Dairy Queen is amazing. Mostly because she pulls of the Wisconsin/midwest accent well. Said as someone who has a midwest accent. Although this book was recommended to me from my friend Renae, I, too, cannot recommend this book enough.