Sep 27, 2010

Audiobook Reviews: The Off Season & Front & Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

I am going to review both of these books together because my feelings and the things I liked about both of them are pretty much the same. This is not to say I could just lump them together as one, because they are both just excellent books.

Cover Love: Yes! Very good covers, appealing, wholesome models that are pretty much how I imagine DJ would look.

Why I Wanted To Read These: I read The Dairy Queen, the first book about DJ and really enjoyed it. Since I knew I had these car trips coming up I checked the audio books out from the library to continue on with DJ's story.

I Kept Listening Because: The narrator was perfect! She had a touch of a midwest/Wisonsin accent, but it was not overwhelming. She read the book like she was DJ just sitting down and having a chat. I loved listening to her!

Romance?: YES! I LOVE Brian Nelson. And I LOVE DJ. The are a great YA couple--and pretty realistic. Mistakes are made by both of them and the other always has to find a way to forgive because they are meant to be together.

What I Liked (& Didn't): I think DJ is such a realistic character. She has so many insecurities and thinks way too much, but she is able to stand up for herself when she needs to and she does sometimes!

I really didn't like Amber, DJ's supposed best friend. She really weighed what she was going through as way more important that what DJ was going through. I really don't know why DJ considered her such a good friend, I thought she was a very bad friend. And anyway, when you get right down to it, Brian was her best friend. The one she could really talk to who would listen and not jump in and judge her, like Amber does repeatedly.

The narrator brought out so many emotions for me during The Off Season. I am not sure I would have cried as much reading the book, but I cried pretty darn good while listening. DJ has all this stuff just piling up and piling up and you get so mad and sad for her and then, BAM, the big thing happens and nothing else matters. It was such an interesting change for a YA book! All of the sudden the main character has too look way outside herself (and DJ does a great job reflecting this). A lot is asked of her and she handles it very well!

I did not like how lightly underage drinking is talked about, however, it was never to the point of abuse or drunkenness. It just seemed to be acknowledged as part of today's youth, with the parents even knowing a bit about it. And during sports seasons. I wish it hadn't been mentioned so lightly. (Some may argue and say that's how it is nowadays, but I know plenty of kids who take the contract's they sign for sports seriously and don't drink and plenty who go all the way through high school without drinking).

For awhile I was worried that after investing two books in a major character like Brian Nelson we wouldn't see him much in Front & Center. Not too worry. I hate when an author invests time in a character that many readers love and then dump him later on in the series (I am talking to you Charlaine Harris) so I was glad that Ms. Murdock did not go that route.

There were also times when I really wanted DJ to just wallow in self pity and she never let herself. She was good at playing the hand that was dealt her.

To Sum Up: I will be forcing these books into the hands of my girl readers this year. I know so many of them who will relate to DJ in some small way and will really enjoy these books!

Audio books checked out from public library.


  1. I always love your reviews, Jana! :-)

  2. I always love your comments Shannon!!