Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Ever since her dad injured his hip and her older brothers left home, D.J. Schwenk’s life has been keeping her family’s dairy farm going. She dropped out of basketball, failed classes, and has almost no social life. Then Jimmy Ott sends a new challenge her way--help Brian Nelson train to be Hawley’s starting quarterback in the fall. Even though Brian is a stuck up rich kid as well as Red Bend’s biggest rival (and therefore the enemy), D.J. is intrigued by the job.

Surprisingly, as Brian learns from D.J., she learns some things from him. D.J. begins to understand that people might be different than they appear. She also learns that talking and facing your feelings may not be as difficult as staying silent. With a small town Wisconsin backdrop, Dairy Queen is a wonderful coming of age story that covers a wide range of subjects. Sports, gender roles, family struggles, and friendship all roll together in an interesting story with complex and lovable characters. The entire trilogy is a unique win for girl-power novels.

Recommended ages--12 and up

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