Front and Center

Reader: Elizabeth S
Age: 15
Title: Front and Center
Author: Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Pub Date: 10/19/2009
Galley: Yes
Nominate for Teens Top 10: Yes
Recommend: Yes
Annotation: Her junior year of high school, small-town D.J. Schwenk faces basketball season, college scouts,and a long-time friend turned boyfriend. That's not to mention that her one-time-friend (and maybe boyfriend), Brian, is back in her life, and he's not letting go this time.
Convince us to read the book: D.J. is hilarious and heartwarming. I love every single one of these books (Dairy Queen, The Off Season). She's a real main character that makes me laugh as I read, and she's easy to relate to.
Compelling Aspect of the Book: The best part of this book is the fact that it's real life. The problems D.J. faces are really real. She has to step up and be a leader when all she wants is to hang out in the background. She has to make a choice on college: a safe choice small-time school, or a riskier big-time school with more pressure? Her brother is recovering from a big accident. Brian, a boy she used tolike before he turned on her in a big way, is trying to make up with her just as she's settling into a new relationship with long-time friend Beaner. I felt like I could relate to each and every one of theseproblems. Nothing is written in too far-fetched of a way. Murdock doesn't feel the need to work in huge stretched problems that just make the plot feel un-relatable, and I love that. I think this is one of my favorite growing-up stories, and I mean that in a totally non-cheesy way. It's great to read about a main character who honestly has no idea what they are doing.
Did you finish: Yes
Were you disappointed with the book: The only thing I was disappointed with in Front and Center was a lack of Curtis, D.J.'s younger brother, and Amber, D.J.'s best friend. I loved both characters in the two previous books, and I just felt like they were being cut out in this one. It made them feel kind of one-sided, then, when they actually appeared in the story.
Did the cover reflect the contents: The cover of this book features a teenage girl laying in the grass beneath the words "Front and Center." Though the cover matches the rest of the series' covers, I thought the cover didn't quite fit the book. I don't really like when the cover gives me an actual picture of the main character; I like to picture them myself. Also, the book is so much more than a girl lying apathetically in a field.
Age Range: 14-15, 16-17, 18 up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal

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