Audiobook Review: Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Front and Center audioTitle: Front and Center

Author: Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Narrator: Natalie Moore

Publisher: Listening Library (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children/Graphia)

Release Date: April 4th, 2011 (paperback), February 9th, 2010 (audiobook)

Interest: Trilogy continuation

Source: Purchased via Audible

Summary (From Goodreads): After five months of sheer absolute craziness I was going back to being plain old background D.J. In photographs of course I’m always in the background—it’s a family joke, actually, that us Schwenk kids could go to school naked on picture day, we’re all so crazy tall. But I mean I was returning to the background of life. Where no one would really notice me or talk about me or even talk to me much except to say things like “Nice shot,” and I could just hang out without too many worries at all.

But it turns out other folks have big plans for D.J. Like her coach. College scouts. All the town hoops fans. A certain Red Bend High School junior who’s keen for romance and karaoke. Not to mention Brian Nelson, who she should not be thinking about! Who she is done with, thank you very much. But who keeps showing up anyway . . .

What’s going to happen if she lets these people down? What’s going to happen when she does? Because let’s face it: there’s no way, on the court or off, that awkward, tongue-tied D.J. Schwenk can manage all this attention. No way at all. Not without a brain transplant. Not without breaking her heart.

Audiobook Review:

I’ve reviewed and mentioned this trilogy before because Natalie Moore *is* D.J.  Any time I think about the Dairy Queen trilogy I can hear Natalie Moore’s voice and I can see D.J. clearly.  Her Wisconsin accent is perfect and her differentiation between characters is great.  I read Dairy Queen to my sophomores, and many of them liked it, but I wonder if more of them would have enjoyed it if I could have used a Wisconsin accent like Moore uses.  Now that I’ve read Dairy Queen in the traditional way, I definitely recommend reading this series by audio.  I can’t say enough positive things about it.

Book Review:

Since Front and Center is the final book in this trilogy, I don’t want to say too much.  D.J. has become one of my favorite characters because she’s so honest and real.  She’s more confident in this final installment, but she’s still unsure of herself as an athlete and a young woman.  Watching her grow into herself was so enjoyable in this book.  This might sound odd, but I’m really proud of her.

I loved D.J.’s and Win’s relationship in Front and Center.  It’s obvious what an impact she made on her brother in The Off Season.  Win and D.J. need support from each other even though neither really wants to admit it.  Win plays a big part at the end of the book and it really warmed my heart.  I’d love to read something from Win’s point of view.

If you enjoy the Stupid Fast trilogy by Geoff Herbach then you’ll enjoy the Dairy Queen trilogy.  After finishing it I’ve decided that Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s trilogy is the female equivalent to Geoff Herbach’s.  D.J. and Felton’s lives parallel each other in terms of family, friends, sports, and relationships.

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