16 December 2011

Review: The Dairy Queen trilogy - Catherine Gilbert Murdock


The Dairy Queen trilogy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
published 2006, 2007, 2009
contemporary fiction from the YA section
bought my copies

The Dairy Queen trilogy focuses on the Schwenk family, their interactions and especially on DJ Schwenk. DJ is 15 years old in the first book and in the series the reader gets the chance to follow her life for over a year. DJ's life is all about trying to don't fail at school, about training hard for her sports because she needs a scholarship for college, and about working hard on her family's small farm. 

When you first meet DJ she is pretty hard on herself but throughout the series she gets more self-confident and happy with who she is. DJ and her family have to go through some hard times in the books, but they never give up. And DJ is the one person who manages to hold everything together. All of these aspects made the story very interesting. 
I don't want to give away any spoilers but I can promise you that all three books in the series are great. Every book is special in it's own way and still the three books fit together perfectly and create a fantastic story. The characters in this series are so interesting and especially DJ is amazing. Her voice is so fresh and very different compared to many other heroines from the YA section. The strength she shows throughout the series was admirable. 

I also loved reading about the other Schwenks, each member of this family is interesting and the family dynamics between them are so fascinating. I furthermore enjoyed that the farm work was described in a realistic way. I get crazy when farm work is described as something romantic and something that only needs a little bit of hard work. My grandparents both owned farms and at home we still have some animals, so I actually know how much hard work a farm needs just to earn enough money to survive. And yes, I actually can drive a tractor and know how hay is made :)

Hard work and determination are two things that are important for the Schwenks. I loved that they never gave up and always continued to work hard for the things they wanted to achieve. 

Throughout the three books a romance between DJ and a boy she likes develops. This relationship is important for DJs development but it's not the main focus of the books. I liked how the author handled the relationship and that she described it in a realistic way. 

At the end of a the last book I would have loved to get an epilogue with some info on how DJ's life looks like in college, but I was still happy and satisfied with how the book ended. Of course I wouldn't say no to another book in the series (but it doesn't look as if there will be one). 

covers
I think the covers are ok, I especially like the first one with the cow on it.

final appraisal
Each book in the Dairy Queen trilogy is a great one, the story & characters developed & changed throughout the series in a wonderful and fascinating way. DJ is an amazingly strong heroine and I loved how she managed to keep her family together and how she made her way. The series is full of interesting characters, a heroine with a unique voice and fascinating story lines. This is a series that you shouldn't miss. 

The Dairy Queen trilogy
1. Dairy Queen 
2. The off season 
3. Front and center

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