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The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock


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.

I have to admit I really love D.J.s voice in this book and 'Dairy Queen'! She is a spunky, down-to-earth, normal teenage girl. Except she lives on a small dairy farm; is taller than some boys (probably stronger too)and is a natural athlete. But she's dating a cute QB from the rival high school, she's starts on her high school football team, she's back to being BFF with Amber and her older brothers both play on national t.v.
But life has a way of throwing a curve ball. D.J. gets hurt, she notices Brian, the QB, ignores her in public, the farm isn't doing well financially and one of her older brothers is seriously injured in a game.
D.J. has to make some personal sacrifices through it all. She grows from her trials and realizes things aren't always as they seem.

I like this at the end of the book: " But I guess he (Brian) never learned those other kinds of toughness, like how to stand up to your so-called friends, and how to defend those people who really are your friends even if they're unpopular or poor or the wrong size."

Taffy's rating:
PG-PG13
Deals with issues such as: teen hormones, homosexuality, finances, families and teen angst.
I would read this book again.

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