This book was better than I expected. Which considering my expectations were fairly low, that doesn’t necessarily mean much. Except, it turns out this book is completely adorable. Like, SO adorable. But more than that, it manages to take on the issues that come with growing up in a way that feels real without being depressing or heavy-handed.
DJ is kind of my hero. She’s just all kinds of awesome. Her life seems like it sucks: she’s pretty much shouldering all the work on her family’s dairy farm, her older brothers aren’t speaking to the rest of the family, her dad’s health is affecting her school life, and she has to spend time training Brian Nelson, the quarterback at a rival high school. But DJ takes it all head on, and she never gets negative about her situation. Yes, she’s unhappy and unsatisfied at times, but she’s too resilient to let it keep her down. One of the other things that I love about DJ is that she’s never ashamed of where she comes from. She’s from a struggling farm in a poor town, but she never has anything mean or denigrating to say about them.
I really appreciated that the focus of this book wasn’t on romance. Yes, DJ and Brian have a little something going on, but the story was more about DJ learning how to communicate about things that matter and figuring out what she wants. Usually I’m all about the romance, but I think a heavier emphasis on it would’ve detracted from this story. Plus, honestly, Brian is a bit of a douche. A douche with redeeming qualities, yes, but douche all the same. And knowing that about Brian, I was a little worried about how things would work out between him and DJ in the end, but I can happily say that I liked where their relationship was when the book was over.
As for things specific to the audiobook, I loved the narrator, Natalie Moore. I felt like she was spot on in her portrayal of DJ, and to put things over the top, she even did this Wisconsin accent that was 100 percent fantastic. That accent somehow made DJ even more DJ than she would’ve been if I had just been reading this book in my head.
Overall, a great book and a great audiobook as well. I really liked that the book dealt with a variety of issues but didn’t bite off more than it could chew, so I ended the book feeling totally satisfied. I just discovered on Goodreads that there are two more books in the series, so I’ll be snapping those up for sure. I totally recommend this book, especially to fans of the Ruby Oliver series.
Rating: 4 / 5