Genre: Realistic Fiction/ Sports
Age Level: 14 and up
# of Pages: 274 p.
RAC Book: Yes
2008 Iowa Teen Award Winner
D.J. works constantly on her family’s dairy farm since her father hurt his hip. Her mother was forced to take an extra job in order to earn more money and her older brothers have not spoken to the family since Christmas. Running the farm, with some help from her little brother who doesn’t speak, has been difficult for D.J. because she feels like she just goes about her day doing what she is told.
One day, Brian, from the nearby rival of D.J.’s high school comes to work because his football coach feels he needs to get tougher. Things do not go well at first, but eventually D.J. starts training him for football. D.J.’s two older brothers were fabulous football players so she knows what it takes to succeed. As D.J. and Brian become closer it begins to get complicated as her best friend stops talking to her and she decides to try out for her own high school football team. In a place where everyone does what they are supposed to and never speaks up, D.J. decides she wants to do something different and begin saying what she feels.
This story asks many questions about communication, goals, responsibilities, and loyalty to family. D.J.’s family never spoke about anything they were feeling because they didn’t want to start fights, but that just meant they ended up not saying anything. As D.J. realized how unhappy she was always doing what she was supposed to and not what she wanted she decided to make some changes. Everyone must learn to balance responsibilities and desires and this book reminds us of the choices we make everyday that guide our lives. A well-written story that young adults will enjoy.