Yikes! I was finishing up the Homeboyz post, when I realized that I'd completely forgotten about The Off Season, the follow-up to our committee's beloved Dairy Queen; a book that I'd nominated! Jeesh! I say beloved, because DQ was the only title that all nine of us voted yes on last year. What's not to like about D.J. Schwenk, I ask you?
For those you who don't know D.J., she's the only girl in her Wisconsin dairy-farming family, but she doesn't let that stop her from participating in the family's favorite sport: football. D.J.'s two older brothers are off on college scholarships, while she is currently kicking ass on the Red Bend, WI varsity. At the same time, she's having a somewhat secret romance with the quarterback on Red Bend's biggest rival -- a boy she trained all last summer (in Dairy Queen). Things are looking pretty good for D.J. when she pulls a ligament in her shoulder and has to go on the disabled list. But that's only the beginning of the "whole herd of trouble" that's headed her way.
And considering I finished this more than three weeks ago (ouch!), I'll just have to pull the annotation from my nomination: Narrator Natalie Moore is D.J., with her sweet voice, upbeat delivery, and that Midwestern accent. Giving voice to D.J. makes this a special novel: The listener is just sitting down with D.J. and letting her tell her story, it's so natural and confiding that you can't help but become her friend and care deeply about what happens to her.
I don't do much handselling/booktalking to teens, but I wonder if anyone has any luck giving these books to high school football-playing boys?
... And now I am truly caught up!