Rating: 4/5 Stars
Release Date: 5/25/2010
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About the Book: Olivia couldn't be more thrilled when she is chosen as the winner of a writing contest sponsored by her favorite writer, Father Mark Brenden. As winner, she gets a critique and mentorship by Father Mark himself and is accepted into his exclusive college class. But as Olivia works with Father Mark more, she's drawn into a dangerous relationship that she can't seem to get out of. Father Mark becomes obsessed with Olivia and Olivia doesn't know how to escape.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: This Gorgeous Game is vastly different from the author's first outing, The Possibilities of Sainthood. Where Sainthood was a lighter story, This Gorgeous Game is a darker tale of obsession. Even though it's a darker tale, it never felt too heavy and the author weaves an emotional tale.
Olivia was somewhat frustrating for me, but at the same time I think she acted in a realistic way-I believed she was sucked into a situation that she didn't know how to get out of and I really felt her drowning. But what frustrated me, and this is probably coming from an adult reader, is that it took so long for her to say anything, especially with the close relationship with her mom that I thought she had. I also felt like the adults should have seen something earlier than they did-a grown man stopping by unannounced, sending mail, and taking up all Olivia's time and giving gifts? They all thought it was just nice Father Mark, but I found him creepy from the start. But I'm also the reader who knows he's creepy from the start. But still, all the things he does that the adults are aware of don't raise any flags?
I loved that the author pulled all of this off without making it a physical relationship-Olivia wasn't attracted to Father Mark and she didn't flirt with him. I never felt like she led him on, but it was Father Mark's own loneliness and Olivia's awe of him as a writer that pulls him in. I also think there was something in Olivia's short story that attracted him-he saw himself in her and thought they were the same and that made his obsession grow.
Stalking isn't a widely discussed issue in YA, and This Gorgeous Game is heartwrenching and emotional, but a book that needs to be read. I think it could make a great book discussion book as well.
Book Pairings: Something Happened by Greg Logsted isn't as well done, but I think it would make a great pairing, since it's told from a male point of view and deals with teacher relationships/obsession
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC sent by publisher