The Off Season - Catherine Gilbert Murdock I'm going to start off this review by saying I really enjoyed this book, but in my opinion it was not nearly as good as the first, and therefore I've rated it one less star.

Many of the positive aspects of the first book were still true of this one. D.J. is still an awesome and relatable character, the relationship between D.J. and her family is still interesting, and D.J. still has amazing chemistry with Brian Nelson. The relationship between D.J. and Brian was handled beautifully. The issues they faced were very realistic and I enjoyed D.J.'s handling of the situation. It was nice to see a YA protagonist stand up for herself rather than letting her love interest walk all over her.

The reason I didn't enjoy this book as much as the first was because I felt the story lost some of its realism. The situations D.J. found herself in were over the top, in particular the People article. I'm not a regular reader or even an occasional reader of the magazine, but I've picked it up a few times in doctors' offices over the years and I find it extremely difficult to believe that they would do a story about an unknown girl from some unknown small town joining her high school football team. People is far too busy covering A through D list celebrities to have room for that sort of story. If Murdock had used some teen magazine like Teen or Cosmo I would have believed it (back in the day, when I still read those magazines, they often profiled non-celebrities and D.J.'s story was right up their alley), but not People.

There were also several unrealistic plot points related to D.J.'s brother's injury. Her parents' neglect in that situation didn't ring true given what we know about their characters. Also, Murdock went a little heavy on hero worship of D.J. in terms of Win's recovery. This might have bothered me more if it hadn't been balanced by Brian's betrayal and the end of her football career, which made her seem less perfect.

Overall, an enjoyable read and I'd still recommend it to anyone who liked the first book, but it just didn't resonate with me in the same way the first one did.