I have been on a contemporary kick recently. The fact that I discovered some very awesome books in the genre helped a lot too. The reason I picked up The Dairy Queen was simply because I read Princess Ben by the same author and found it to be personable and relatable. I loved the way she developed her characters and told the story. So I decided to take a risk and read The Dairy Queen.I was not disappointed. At all.D.J is a real person. Okay, a real fictitious person. She could be you. Or me. Her feelings, her thoughts, the way she processes things – they are real. Let me begin again.One of the main strengths of the story is its main character D.J through whom the reader gets to vicariously live the life of a girl growing up on a dairy farm. I am not unfamiliar with books that have a pastoral setting. Heck, I grew up on a farm. Sure, a sugarcane farm but still, some things are similar. Lack of money, for one. D.J is just so likeable. Her conflicts and her troubles are all entirely believable. And her fight to be more than just a helping hand for a father who seems not to appreciate her at all makes for a more fascinating read than you would think. The writing is interesting. The story is told from the first person point of view and Ms. Murdock has let the flow of the story be a true reflection of the age of its teller. Usually, there is a narrator even when there’s a first person p.o.v used. You can tell this by the diction or perhaps by the thoughts of the author. And the fact that Ms. Murdock took pains to integrate the writing level to D.J’s age is an indication of her dedication to really tell D.J’s story.I also really liked the family dynamics and the depiction of family life in the books. The parents don’t die. They do get sick but instead of being a plot device for melodrama and victimization, D.J actually has to face the realistic consequences of having sick parents. D.J’s relationship with her three brothers is also interesting to read. It’s not all honey and roses. In fact, it never is. There is a genuine building up of the relationship between the siblings. It’s a realistic portrayal of the changing dynamics in a growing family.The love interest. There’s no insta-love in this trilogy. Thank God for that. This is one of those books where the love interest is actually shown to be as faulty as they come and it is only when he has redeemed himself that he and D.J can actually move on. D.J is not a perfect character, in fact, she is far from it. She has lots of flaws, a lack of self esteem that often causes her to make decisions that are safe rather than risky so she does not get hurt or does not have to push herself. The journey she makes through the three books to end up as the confident character she ends up at the end is worth reading. I totally recommend this trilogy to anyone who wants to read a good, solid story about how real girls navigate life that has no sparkly creatures but is challenging all the same.