Front and Center September October 2009 569 Catherine Gilbert Murdock Front and by ProQuest


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									   September/October 2009                                                569

   Catherine Gilbert Murdock Front and Center
     257 pp. Houghton 10/09 isbn 978-0-618-95982-2 $16.00 g
     (Middle School, High School)
   In the third and final book (Dairy Queen, rev. 5/06; The Off Season, rev.
   7/07) about farm girl, linebacker, and basketball star D.J. Schwenk, the
   self-aggrandizing heroine must decide her future: is she up to playing
   basketball for the Big Ten schools that are starting to recruit her, or
   should she choose a smaller college, where the game is less brutal but
   also less challenging? Having given up football to focus on basketball,
   her meal ticket to higher education, D.J. must also contend with her
   older brother’s ongoing rehab from a devastating football injury, the
   romantic attentions of her goofball friend Beaner (and her conflicting
   feelings about former boyfriend and football rival Brian), and her
   coach’s insistence that she exercise more of a leadership role on the
   team—a huge challenge for the perpetually tongue-tied D.J. The partic-
   ulars of farm life, high school relationships, and college decisions are
   imparted with uncommon realism, and Murdock showcases the unex-
   pected drama of everyday characters making mundane but essential life
   decisions. D.J.’s voice is intimate and compelling, her story both uni-
   versal and unique, familiar 
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