Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Review: The Off Season (Dairy Queen #2) by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Publication date: 4th June 2007
My rating: 5 stars

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.

The Off Season was a massive step up from Dairy Queen. I was a big fan of the first book Dairy Queen, but here Murdock just managed to take it a whole another notch, she had me bawling my eyes out every other page, had me snort laughing and shattered my heart into a million pieces.

After a topsy turvy couple of months, D.J. finally seems to be enjoying life, she’s line backer for the school football team, with her on the team Red Bend have a real shot at taking the title. Things are also better at school, D.J.’s on top of her classes; she’s also having fun spending time with Brian the Hawley quarter back and things at home have calmed down too. But then D.J.’s put to the test when things hit the fan, it’s not that one thing goes wrong, but everything seems to come tumbling around her. Truly testing her strength as a person.

I connected to D.J. in Dairy Queen, but in The Off Season she really shone through, her strength of character was tested to the max. I really felt for her as she’d been through so much already in Dairy Queen to get as far as she had, only for everything to be snatched away from her in the cruellest way.

The Off Season did have a more sorrowful feel to it, whereas Dairy Queen was more light and bubbly, the Schwenk family was pushed to the limits. I enjoyed getting to know the rest of the family more in this instalment, with Bill and Win away all the time, it was interesting seeing what they were really like after we’d heard so much about them through D.J. they both managed to add so much more craziness to the mix. Once again the main problem in the Schwenk family was their lack of communication. In several situations by not speaking up D.J. found herself in more trouble; I just wished she could have saved herself a lot of heartache and problems if she only spoke up when necessary.

Curtis, D.J.’s brother really surprised me in this book, although we didn’t get to see much of him as much as I’d hoped, he really brought a smile to my face in his brief appearances. Once again sport played a major part in this book, but I enjoyed the focus on it this time around a lot more, whereas before it was about the winning and team spirit, this side showed how much sport was really important and played and central part to a lot of the Schwenk member’s lives. The way this one part brought the Schwenk family, friends and community together when they needed them most brought so many tears to my eyes.

Leanne, Keertana and I had actually planned to read The Off Season together, as we’d had so much fun with Dairy Queen. But me being the great read-along partner that I am accidently zoomed ahead and ended up finishing the book when I was only meant to read a few chapters. This goes to show just how much a marvellous series this is and how much you’re missing out on if you haven’t picked this series up yet. Books which keep you enthralled that you’ve lost a sense of everything around you (my sister did start shouting at me by one point as I’d ignored her for so long) are the best gems you can find!

Bring on book three Front and Center. And this time I promise I will try to read this with Keertana and Leanne. 


  1. It is such a good sign when you can't stop reading!! I really like the sound of this series, I HAVE to read these, STAT!

  2. Great great review, Jasprit! :)
    I have this series on my to-read list and your review just persuaded me to buy it. I love the sound of the characters, especially DJ. Plus, I love that book is family-oriented! I will get the book as soon as I get the chance! Love the review, Jasprit! :)

  3. Oooo she's a linebacker for the football team? AWESOME! I didn't read Dairy Queen, will I be good to go starting with this book or will I miss out on some important back story? I love when I start a book only intending to read a few chapters and then a few hours later find myself closing the back cover. WIN! Fantastic review Jasprit!

    1. I think it would be best to start with the first book, so you get to know the characters better! I hope you decide to pick it up soon as I think you will love it! :)

  4. Yaay! I agree that this trilogy just keeps getting better. Your review just made me want to read it all over again and I probably will just as soon as my schedule clears a little.
    DJ remains one of my favorite voices in YA so I'm especially glad you connected with her too.
    Fantastic review, Jasprit! <3

  5. I scheduled time for this series in May because I have been wanting to read it for so long and your review of Dairy Queen reminded me to get it done. I am even going to contact the author and see if I can get her on my blog. I am very much looking forward to reading these books. Poor Leanne and Keertana left in the dust.

  6. I NEED to read these books! They sound fantastic, like books I know I would really enjoy reading.

    Amazing Review Jasprit <3


  7. This sounds so great. I love it when you find a book that you just can't put down! Haven't hread of 'dairy queen' before but will look out for a copy now ☺

  8. I haven't read any of these books, but your enthusiasm is catching! It sounds like a good book and I'm glad the second was even BETTER in certain ways. Sometimes that doesn't happen so it's great when it does work out. lol


  9. Hah! I suppose it does show how much you loved this book when you decided to read it all in one go. ;) Great review, Jasprit! I remember you enjoying the first book and I've been curious about this series ever since. I will have to try and make a start on it when my schedule clears up a bit down the line. :)

  10. I shall definitely have to pick up Dairy Queen soon, especially if the second novel has you off zooming ahead. If the third novel is just as good, I suggest you read more chapters in the readalong so you don't leave the others behind! haha.

    Lovely review, Jasprit! :)

  11. Jasprit, I actually STILL can't write a review for this! I don't know how to articulate my love for this book, but you've explained it perfectly!(: I really did love everything in this book so much more and MY EMOTIONS! Seriously, why has Murdock not written more books? I feel like this is an author whose style I can never get enough of. Amazing review, dearest!(:

  12. It's awesome that you felt you couldn't put the book down and just kept zooming ahead! I love your book passion, Jas :)

  13. I totally loved Dairy Queen when I read it a few months ago, but I never got around to any of the sequels because I didn’t want to be disappointed, and also because I wasn’t sure if Dairy Queen really needed a sequel, seeing as it was so perfect.

    All that to say that it’s very promising to hear The Off Season lived up to the standard set by Murdock’s first book. I really must get my hands on this—DJ and her family and friends were amazingly realistic characters, and I kind of miss them after reading your review.

  14. Ooohh I remember reading your review for the first book and how much you loved it :) I'm so glad you enjoyed the second book as well! haha it does show how much you absolutely love a book if you finish it in one go!! I hope to get round to reading this soon!<3 Fab review, hun :)

  15. The first one sounds so adorable and I didn't realize there would be a sequel hence even a third book! I must get to reading the first because it sounds so adorable but with so much depth to it. Which i love.

    Wonderful review, Jasprit!

  16. Ohhh I remember your review for the fist book. Only I didn't know that this was a series! I'm so happy that you love the second one. That means I'll hopefully read it soon :) This sounds so adorable! Great review! :)

  17. You MUST check this series out! Not even kidding, these are my favorite YA books ever and they are amazing. And yes, the dairy farm part is really cool too! :D

    Irene (TeakaToys)


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