This Gorgeous Game

Donna Freitas

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

A CHILLING NOVEL ABOUT THE ISOLATION OF BEING STALKED AND THE ABUSE OF POWER. Olivia Peters is over the moon when her literary idol, the celebrated novelist and muchadored local priest Mark D. Brendan, offers to become her personal writing mentor. But when Father Mark’s enthusiasm for Olivia’s prose develops into something more, Olivia’s emotions quickly shift from wonder to confusion to despair. Exactly what game is Father Mark playing, and how on earth can she get out of it?  This remarkable novel about overcoming the isolation that stems from victimization is powerful, luminous, and impossible to put down.


Read an Excerpt

ON LUCKI FEEL DISBELIEF.That’s how it starts: with a pervasive sense of this cannot be happening and thinking that no one is going to believe me when I tell them because I don’t even believe it myself. The thought Mom is going to freak when she finds out races through me in a wave of giddiness.There I am in seventh period AP calc and Ms. Lewis is drawing tangent lines on the board and her arm and the chalk slope up, up, up and there is a knock and the door opens and Sister June our principal is standing there and I see the expression on her face and I know. I know. I know it right


Praise for This Gorgeous Game

“Freitas, author of the successful debut The Possibilities of Sainthood (2008), deftly catches the claustrophobia, uncertainty, and self-doubt that come with an obsessive relationship. The interwoven comparisons to Thomas Merton’s affair with a young woman add heft to this fast, chilling read.” –Booklist

“Young women who have found themselves the object of obsession will relate to the protagonist's ordeal and be inspired by her decision to speak out no matter the consequences.” —Publishers Weekly

“This novel will resonate with teens who struggle with what appear to be impossible situations and come to terms with the desire to receive attention however unwanted it may be.” —School Library Journal

“Figuring out when attention has become inappropriate is a tough call for people of all ages, and this will engender a lot of discussion among readers on the issue, making it particularly suitable for a book-club entry.”—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“The book could be used to spark discussion about keeping secrets and setting boundaries.” —VOYA

“A remarkable book that will speak not just to teens, but to women of all ages.” —Sara Zarr, author of National Book Award Finalist Story of a Girl

“A riveting portrayal of the corruption of power and, ultimately, the triumph of innocence.” —Francisco Stork, author of Marcelo in the Real World

"A powerful story about attention, expectations, faith, and trust. It's about the power of authority, and the abuse of that power. It's also about the love of writing, and of family and friends. Most importantly, it's about speaking up when you know something is wrong." -Bildungsroman Book Blog

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Donna Freitas

  • DONNA FREITA S’s first novel was THE POSSIBLITIES OF SAINTHOOD, a Miami Herald Best Book of the Year. She lives in New York City.
  • Donna Freitas Allen Murabayashi



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This Gorgeous Game

Donna Freitas

American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults, CCBC Choice (Univ. of WI), CPL: Chicago Public Library Best of the Best