I believe I checked this book out of the public library because it was listed in Booklist as one of the best first novels for young adults of the year, and I would agree. It is funny, thought provoking, will appeal to girls and boys (really, title aside, it WILL appeal to boys - it's all about football!), and is set in Wisconsin. Who could ask for more? I'm going to suggest it to Mr. Arn since he's a cheesehead.
This is the story of JD Schwenk (tough last name, don't you think?) who is a pretty incredible girl. She basically singlehandedly runs her family's dairy farm AND goes to school. Unfortunately, she doesn't have much of a life outside of school because of it, but she's ok with that.
Brian Nelson is the star quarterback from the next town over and he comes to supposedly help out on the farm - basically because his coach is making him. He doesn't last long, at least at first. He's lazy and working on a farm is not easy. Ask anyone who's done it. So he bails. But he actually comes back and with DJ's training help becomes a decently hard working guy who can really throw a football.
See DJ has helped her older brothers practice football since she can remember, so it's a pretty natural fit for her to help out Brian. But she discovers a lot about herself along the way, and one of the things she discovers is that SHE wants to play football for her high school's team this year. You can imagine that this causes some hubbub, not the least of which is with Brian who she sort of doesn't tell about it until after it's a done deal. Not her best move, but her people skills really aren't the best. She's really good with cows, though!
I enjoyed reading this book a lot. There were lots of laughs and the characterization is quite excellent. I'm very impressed that this is Catherine Gilbert Murdock's first novel and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.