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|This gorgeous game|
Author: Freitas, Donna
Olivia Peters, an aspiring writer, is selected to take a college fiction seminar taught by her idol, Father Mark, but when he tries to be more than a mentor, Olivia shifts from wonder to confusion to despair.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG+
Reading Level: 5.10
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 140588
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 6.40
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 50050
Common Core Standards
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Kirkus Reviews (05/15/10)
School Library Journal (06/01/10)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (07/10)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 06/01/2010 Gr 7 Up— Seventeen-year-old Olivia wins a prestigious award that includes the opportunity to attend a writing workshop at the local Catholic university taught by a successful novelist whom she idolizes. Olivia is thrilled: her dreams of being a writer are becoming a reality. While basking in Father Mark's attention, she becomes uneasy as his actions become more pervasive and possessive. Caught by her awe of him both as an author and a priest, she questions her own discomfort as the emails, texts, and requests for her time and attention leave her confused, secretive, and defensive. Hiding this predicament from her family and friends is further complicated by her attraction to a fellow student. Throughout Olivia's story, Freitas alludes to actual events in 1966 when Catholic priest Thomas Merton fell in love with a student nurse assigned to his care. Freitas has skillfully woven Merton's reflections of his historically documented "gorgeous game" into her fictitious exploration of the effect of stalking, as told through a series of Olivia's writing exercises. A nun helps her realize that she can't and shouldn't have to face this problem alone. With the support of close friends and Sister June, Olivia is able to confront the situation. 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. The message that stalking is not the fault of the victim is especially important.—Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY - Copyright 2010 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2010 It’s the best thing that ever happened to Olivia Peters: only a junior in high school, the talented teen has won a writing prize that will allow her to take a college writing seminar and gets her the chance to work with its teacher, the famous writer Father Mark Brendan. Starstruck and thrilled, as well as hungry for a father figure’s attention (her own father left the family ten years ago), she gratefully soaks up his attention, with which he is astonishingly lavish. In fact, even Olivia, a sheltered, naïve girl from an intensely conservative Catholic upbringing, begins to realize that his focus on her has become something other than generous, and his insistence on controlling her time is inappropriate and disturbing. While the book is a little overworked at times (as in its focus on Olivia’s seemingly preternatural gorgeousness), it’s exploring a challenging dynamic that’s a lot commoner in life than in literature. While this particular scenario involves a lot of complicating and exacerbating elements-Father Mark’s priestly status, his position of power, Olivia’s age-he’s clearly demonstrating abuse-pattern behavior that’s never acceptable by anyone anywhere, regardless of who they are. Olivia’s lack of sophistication is believable, but so are her good instincts, which encourage her to pull back from Father Mark fairly early on; her fear that no one will believe her even if she does tell somebody is also credibly supported. 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. DS - Copyright 2010 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 07/01/2010 Seventeen-year-old Olivia is a writer so good she is chosen by popular priest and best-selling author Father Mark to be the recipient of the Emerging Writers High School Fiction prize. In addition to $10,000 and being published, the accolade means she will also have a spot in his university summer fiction seminar. Olivia is elated, and when Father Mark shows real interest in her writing, she feels chosen in all sorts of ways. But having Father Mark’s attention is a mixed blessing. Meetings, calls, and text messages begin to take over her life. Olivia doesn’t know how to extricate herself or even if she should. Perhaps because there are relatively few scenes between the two, Father Mark sometimes seems more like a caricature than a character. However, Freitas, author of the successful debut The Possibilities of Sainthood (2009), 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. - Copyright 2010 Booklist.