For the longest time I avoided reading Dairy Queen despite seeing a number of reviews indicating the book was a good read. I avoided it because the title indicated there would be dairy involved and well, as a vegan that isn't really up my alley. But I decided to give the book a try after reading the summary and there being limited dairy involvement.
Unfortunately there is a LOT of dairy involvement in the book, more than you would ever think from the summary (but yes, the title would indicate as such but foolishly I thought maybe it was a nickname or something along those lines). The book began with a cow being sent off to die because she was "old" and unable to produce anymore. DJ claims to feel for the poor cow but that doesn't stop her from bemoaning the fact that there are people out there that don't drink milk *gasp*. I won't even bother getting on a soap box about it, although I could, but I found it irritating when she would randomly mention certain "types" of girls that probably didn't drink milk yadda yadda. Well I cannot help but mention the certain "types" that think impregnating cows and drinking their babies' milk is normal. But I digress.
Despite there being a large part of the action on the dairy farm and mentions of milk at every meal I still was able to separate this from the main story. As a vegan you are trained to be able to do such things as the world, in general, is very much not vegan.
One of the biggest problems I had with the novel was the believability. How believable is it that DJ's father hurts himself and she is given pretty much the entire workload of the farm? The farm didn't seem HUGE mind you but big enough to require more than a girl who attends school and tries to have a life. Another believability issue involved the QB who comes to help on the farm (but really doesn't do much). First he starts as an ass and then does a complete 180. Then he accepts DJ training him to be a better QB simply because her brothers were good at the game and she knows some things? Really? What 17 year old guy wants a girl training him to be QB when she doesn't play football? I don't see that happening, especially with the school rivalry mixed in.
Another big problem was DJ herself. The style of writing was very laid back but poor. It was meant to be as such I realize since DJ continually tells us she is dumb. Well I kept hoping that this would in fact be proven incorrect but guess what? DJ actually isn't smart. I really have very little patience for lack of intelligence and therefore prefer my main characters to be smart. Granted her being a genius would never have fit the situation but a little more smarts would have been preferred. She misses very blatant things in front of her face and is confused about a myriad of things. Not only is she not book smart, she lacks common sense largely too. Needless to say she was very frustrating.
In addition to other grievances there was also the cliche ugly duckling actually being attractive storyline. DJ many times mentions how she is plain and/or ugly but then she gets a haircut and is suddenly attracting attention and turns out to be "hot". WTF? Wouldn't the story have been stronger if she had really just been plain? Why not choose to keep her plain but help her discover she is smart? That would have been better.
Overall I found the book frustrating but certainly not the worst out there. I think there were some good messages in the book, albeit cliche and drowned out under DJ's poor writing. I may consider reading the second book if the library has it available just to see where Murdock takes the series but I am in no rush.