Nov 30, 2010

Review | This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas

Seventeen-year-old Olivia peters has long dreamed of becoming a writer. So she's absolutely over the moon when her literary idol, the celebrated novelist and much-adored local priest Mark D. Brendan, selects her from hundreds of other applicants as the winner of the Emerging Writers High School Fiction Prize. Now she gets to spend her summer evenings in a college fiction seminar at the nearby university, where dreamy college boys abound and Father Mark acts as her personal mentor.

But when Father Mark's enthusiasm for Olivia's writing develops into something more, Olivia quickly finds her emotions shifting from wonder to confusion to despair. And as her wide-eyed innocence deteriorates, Olivia can't help but ask - exactly what game is Father Mark playing, and how on earth can she get out of it?

Cover: This cover is sort of bleh for me, because of the purple lighting. But I really like the girl and the look on her face; it captures what I expect the protagonist to have felt throughout the book.

Thoughts: As I started off the book, I knew what it was going to be about and where it would eventually lead to just by reading the summary. For the first few chapters, I wanted to scream at Olivia to turn and run. I didn't want her idolizing, admiring, trusting Father Mark because I knew there was something just wrong about him.

It starts off simple enough; we are introduced to Olivia who is an honest, trusting, likeable girl who wants to be a writer. She is, obviously, stoked to find out that she has won a writing contest and will be mentored by the literary idol and priest, Mark Brendan. Not only does she love his work, but priests have always been a huge part of her life and have played the "father "role that her own father didn't fill when walked out on her family.

The story continues simple as well, a few meetings here and there. Learning about the characters, her friends, family, the new guy she meets, and more about who Father Mark is. But then he starts to leave her notes, and just happens to turn up wherever she is, and it makes us suspicious. It seems innocent enough, and I can understand why Olivia didn't see anything wrong with it, but sometimes her cluelessness made me want to smack her. As readers, we know what's going on. But the author's writing weaves us through the story and we can't help but think that maybe it is just our imagination. Maybe it is a coincidence.

After a few weeks of this though, there's no denying it. Olivia can't figure out how to fix it, how to get out of this situation and we are lead through the story as she struggles with herself and the thought of how something like this can be happening to her.

I was happy with the conclusion, because even though Olivia still struggled with the after effects of the situation, we know that she has family and friends that will support her. There is no real happy ending, but only hope that there will be better days, and this left me satisfied. No one comes out of a situation like that and resumes normal life like it never happened. It takes time to transition yourself and I loved that the author included this as part of the ending.

This book is creepy and haunting, but completely captivating. I could not put it down and really wanted to finish it, more to just know that everything was going to turn out okay. The author's ability to write about such a tough topic, and show others what it's like to be in this kind of situation, is great and will leave you chilled and open your eyes about stalking.

Favorite Quote: "The thought saved by dinner passes through my mind. If it's not dinner that saves me lately, it's sleep, and if it's not sleep it's, oh, I don't know, cleaning my room, scrubbing the toilet. Just about anything sounds more appealing than dealing with some God damn demand from him."

This book was provided by 1 ARC Tours.


  1. This definitely sounds like the kind of book where you shout at the protagonist to turn back. Great review!

  2. I've seen a few good reviews about this one.

    I'm happy that you enjoyed it :) & such a lovely review to boot!

    Mad Scientist

  3. This one does sound disturbing, but I think it's refreshing that it doesn't wrap up a difficult situation with a pretty bow, but rather leaves us with a more realistic ending knowing that she's going to deal with each day moving forward. Really nice review!