A hardworking teenage girl, DJ Schwenk takes on more than her fair share of responsibility when she takes over her family dairy farm as her father recovers from hip surgery and her eldest brothers leave for college. DJ, tall and mature, never complains about the stress that she is under, but the work is weighing her down and making her deeply unhappy, to the point that she is failing classes. As a gifted athlete who needs good grades to earn a scholarship for college (the only way her family could ever afford to send her), this is very bad news indeed.
On top of the dropping grades and the increasing load of farm chores, DJ has to knock some common sense into Brian Nelson, the cute star football player from the rival rich high school who has been sent to work on the Schwenk farm over the summer. Where they initially butt heads, the two talented jocks inevitably end up falling for each other in between mowing clover and milking cows. With her budding relationship making her happy again, DJ can almost forget that no other kids her age have to work as hard as she does, let alone worry about the secret football training sessions that she and Brian are having together. She’d be skinned alive if anyone at her school found out that she was helping the enemy improve his game!
DJ has another big secret of her own, though—the trainings she holds for Brian serve as conditioning for her too. The little sister of two big football stars, DJ knows that she has more than enough skill to make her school’s team. How will the community react when a girl takes the field to compete in what is traditionally a man’s sport? Will Brian ever forgive her for keeping secrets from him? Will playing football make her happy again?
DJ Schwenk has a marvelously real and funny voice, and she serves a great narrator to this girl-power story of sports, first love, and family. Even better—there are already two sequels to this book that readers will surely want to snap up the minute they finish this excellent debut.274 pages.
Recommended by Molly Crumbley, Librarian.