(Day 18/30 of the 30 day blog challenge. Read more about it here!)
As an avid book lover I try not to be swayed by book covers (as I noted in my Wordie Wednesday about Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) but I have to be honest– I’m not a large fan of most romance-based novels. Sure, I like romance in my novels, but there’s got to be more to the plot. I only picked up Dairy Queen because it is continuously mentioned on YA blogs and by critics as a classic, but look at that cover– doesn’t it look like a fluffy chick-lit novel to you where the girl or guy almost loses the girl/guy but gets him/her in the end? Ehn.
I’m glad I picked it up, because this book was narrated by, hands down, one of the most compelling voices I’ve ever read. Our narrator, D.J Schwenk, is incredibly different from most other YA narrators. She lives in the mid west, considers herself a hick, and runs a family farm. She fully believes that she isn’t that smart, and, the way her voice is written reflects these characteristics. She’s a delightful character, even though she’s flawed and not your average upper-middle class east or west coast narrator.
D.J. is running her family’s farm by herself while attending high school because her father is injured and can’t do heavy work for a period of time. She’s missed out on a lot because of her extra duties, namely basketball and volleyball, and she’s currently failing English because she doesn’t have the time to keep up with her work. This bums her out, but D.J. is a hard worker and knows when to keep her mouth shut; after all, this farm is her family’s livelihood, and they don’t have enough money to hire someone to help out.
A football coach for the rival town sends Brian, a player on his team, over to the farm to help D.J. out. In exchange, he’d like D.J. to help Brian train for the upcoming football season (her family has produced some of the best football players in the area and D.J. helped them train when they were on the team). She’s at first incredibly reluctant to help him out– he’s more popular and assured of himself, and he’s a bit of a jerk to her when he sees her out in public– but they develop a close friendship on the farm.
The great thing is that the novel does explore their relationship, but what’s more important is that D.J. becomes more comfortable with speaking to her family and friends about how she’s feeling and what she needs, and that she also decides to fully live, unlike the cows she tends to that just stand around and chew their cud. I won’t share the wild decision she makes, but I can promise you that it has nothing to do with her interest in Brian.
I couldn’t put book down, and I’m hoping you’ll pick it up and try it out.