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This Gorgeous Game

by Donna Freitas

Published by Frances Foster Books/Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010
208 pages
ISBN: 978-0-374-31472-9

Ages 14 and older

After winning a prestigious writing contest sponsored by Father Mark, a well-known priest and successful author, seventeen-year-old Olivia is honored by the recognition and flattered by the manís interest in her work. But as time passes, Father Markís attention and expectations begin to feel more like a burden than appropriate mentorship. Olivia grows uncomfortable with increasingly unwanted attention as his early support turns to relentless interest: daily phone calls, emails, letters, appointments, invitations, and unannounced visits, as well as demands around reading and writing assignments. Unable to share her concerns with friends and family, who are thrilled that famous Father Mark is so personally involved in her writing career, Olivia struggles to acknowledge that the man for whom she had so much respect has become an obsessive and frightening stalker. The quiet support of Sister June, a perceptive high school teacher, and her friends and family when she finally reveals whatís been happening, empowers Olivia to confront the abusive behaviors of Father Mark, and a burgeoning romance with a fellow summer school student hints of a hopeful future for her. This compelling portrait of a naive teenager masterfully manipulated by a powerful adult captures Oliviaís self-doubt assessing Father Markís actions.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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