January 4, 2012

Book Review: Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Front and Center
At First Sight: D.J. Schwenk is, for once in her life, happy to be going back to school after a few months filled with craziness. Even though she had to leave her football days behind, D. J. is happy to be able to play basketball again. Not only because it's her best and probably only chance to get out of Red Bend, Wisconsin and go to college but because she actually loves the game.

But what once was her refuge from the world's craziness and family drama, quickly becomes another source of stress when her oldest brother Win - who is recovering from a spinal chord injury that cut short his promising college football career - starts to put pressure on D.J. to be start looking at schools and scholarships, even though she's still a high school junior.

And to add to the personal drama, D.J. suddenly finds herself in a relationship with her long-time friend Beaner - who is funny and sweet and has a lovely boyfriend smile, though there aren't that many sparks between them. And Brian Nelson, the rival school's QB, and D.J. somewhat-secret ex boyfriend is coming around again, seemingly ready to leave both the ex and the secret behind him.

This time D.J. is, for once, Front and Center in her family and the pressure is on. 

Second Glance: Front and Center is the third and last book of the Dairy Queen series and though it wasn't my favorite of the lot, it was a nice conclusion to D.J.'s story.

In this book, D.J. faces quite the struggle to find her own voice and talk to her own family, mostly about how afraid she is of being really good and how much pressure that would represent, and I loved how she eventually realizes that Win is on her case so much because he wants her to have what she deserves and what he knows she's capable of.

I really liked Brian in this story - I was always a bit hot and cold when it came to him, but I think he finally grew up a little int his one and was ready to treat D.J. the way she deserved to be treated. Oh and Curtis, D.J. youngest brother, he probably has the least lines in the whole book but I adore him.

Bottom Line: Though not my favorite in the series, Front and Center was a great conclusion to a really good series. I've loved seeing D.J. grow up and find her own voice and how realistic it was that she still struggles with with, but in the end she always grows up a little more.

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