The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Series: Dairy Queen #2
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Sports, Romance, Chick Lit, Realistic
Release date: June 4th 2007
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Synopsis: Life is looking up for D.J. Schwenk. She’s in eleventh grade, finally. After a rocky summer, she’s reconnecting in a big way with her best friend, Amber. She’s got kind of a thing going with Brian Nelson, who’s cute and popular and smart but seems to like her anyway. And then there’s the fact she’s starting for the Red Bend High School football team—the first girl linebacker in northern Wisconsin, probably. Which just shows you can’t predict the future. As autumn progresses, D.J. struggles to understand Amber, Schwenk Farm, her relationship with Brian, and most of all her family. As a whole herd of trouble comes her way, she discovers she’s a lot stronger than she—or anyone—ever thought.
This hilarious, heartbreaking and triumphant sequel to the critically acclaimed Dairy Queen takes D.J. and all the Schwenks from Labor Day to a Thanksgiving football game that you will never forget.
My thoughts: D.J. is back in The Off Season and her life has been pretty good lately. She is becoming friends again with Amber and she is kind of dating the cute guy known as Brian Nelson. She is also the linebacker for the Red Bend High School football team. And then tragedy strikes. The Off Season is one of those books that made me smile, laugh, and cry awhile reading it and then when I reached the end I did a happy sigh. Personally, I think that The Off Season was better than its predecessor, Dairy Queen. I found this book to be much more poignant and engaging. (Although, Dairy Queen is still pretty darn good.)
I love D.J. She feels like a real person to me and I think she is a delightful character to read about. She has a lot thrown at her but she deals with it with determination. D.J. works hard and doesn’t give up. D.J. does have her faults though and she has trouble knowing what to say. But her determination to get through everything is admirable. D.J.’s voice is a very honest, funny, real, and engaging one. I wholeheartedly adore it. I also loved read about the family dynamics. I always enjoy reading about realistic families in books and I always enjoy it even more when there are siblings. The Off Season was able to pull it off amazingly. The Schwenk family is a very realistic one. They are flawed but they truly love each other and they get through all the obstacles. And I found D.J.’s brothers: Bill and Win to be enjoyable to read about. They are easily two of my favorite characters in this book(second only to D.J.).
The Off Season is also about sports just like Dairy Queen but there is more story off the field than on it. And I was not disappointed about that. This book tells the story of D.J. and her family growing and getting through the obstacles that come their way. There were sad moments but it was also heartwarming.
The “small town” element in this book is also something I enjoyed. Red Bend is a small community that has good people living in it. They help each other out and care for one another. I liked-if not loved- all the residents of Red Bend. And one scene that involved almost the whole community of Red Bend and Hawley brought a tear to my eye.
This has been my second time on the Schwenk farm and I loved it. Murdock has exceeded my expections a second time and I have no doubt that she will a third time. It makes me sad that there is only one more book in this series.
*This is my 100th post 🙂