Book Review: Dairy Queen #3: Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

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Young Adult > Contemporary | Romance

(Dairy Queen #3)

After five months of sheer absolute craziness I was going back to being plain old background D.J. In photographs of course I’m always in the background . . .

But it turns out other folks have big plans for D.J. Like her coach. College scouts. All the town hoops fans. A certain Red Bend High School junior who’s keen for romance and karaoke. Not to mention Brian Nelson, who she should not be thinking about! Who she is done with, thank you very much. But who keeps showing up anyway . . .

Readers first fell in love with straight-talking D. J. Schwenk in Dairy Queen; they followed her ups and downs both on and off the court in The Off Season. Now D. J.steps out from behind the free-throw line in this final installment of the Dairy Queen trilogy.

Book 1: Dairy Queen review       Book 2: The Off Season Review

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…3 books in the Dairy Queen series. All of them, I rated 4 stars. It’s not that amazing, but I have a soft spot for them – I really liked the series. 🙂 D.J. Schwenk’s life adventures in Red Bend, Wisconsin are so good (and sometimes fun) to read! There are times when I thought the plot was too simplistic for a contemporary book. Maybe it’s Murdock’s writing that got to me. She wrote in a way that the characters are real people to me: their issues are my issues, D.J.’s family is my family. =) Front and Center finally gave what D.J. needs – it might not be what she initially thought she wants, but it worked out for her in the end. So nice!

D.J. grew up, from The Off Season until Front and Center. I wanted to pat her in the back and say, “that’s my girl.” I’ve been cheering for her since Dairy Queen, and she did not disappoint. D.J.’s character might be slow to adapt, coward to a fault, but she emerged victorious in this final book. These simple, little victories she had from her family, from Brian, from sports – inch by inch she realized that she can change, and make a difference for those she loves – by speaking up.

Front and Center‘s ending was hopeful, and funny too. I would’ve love to see more of Brian getting his ass kicked by D.J., but I think it would’ve defeated the purpose of the book: that before you can share your life (and love) to other people, you need first to reach out, live your life, and embrace your family – no matter how imperfect and crazy they were. =)

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FRONT AND CENTER by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Hardcover, 254 pages

Published October 19th 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

4/5 stars

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