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Book Nine...

How did I choose these books? Each of the Top Fifteen are five star reads (which means I read every word and LOVED it). To narrow it down further, I thought about my delight in the story and how completely enraptured I was as I read it. For all of these fifteen, I lost myself in the world of the book.

The covers link to The Tattered Cover (to promote indie bookstores a bit) in case you'd like more info. Here's number nine:

this dangerous gameThis Dangerous Game, by Donna Freitas
Why did I love this? First, it's the writing. I really love Freitas' writing style. I loved her first book (The Possibilities of Sainthood), as well. There's a lightness to it, even when she's writing about serious (and sometimes frightening) issues. Second, her characters are very likable and relatable. Olivia, although clearly an attractive girl, is still easy to understand as we see her vulnerable heart. She's no more secure in her looks than any of the rest of us, and she longs to find an area of strength in her life (which every teen I knew also wanted). Third, the familial relationships are strong. I really like that in YA books. It's rare, often, because family offers so many possibilities for tension and pain -- but I love how Freitas instead finds complications outside family and uses those relationships to add strength to the main characters.
The story: Olivia, a very beautiful girl, has just been offered an unique opportunity to study advanced writing under the tutelage of a college professor (also a Catholic 'father') at a local university. When Father Mark meets Olivia, however, he begins to develop an unhealthy obsession with her -- and not all of it is attached to her writing. As he pursues her more and more, Olivia's feelings move from confused to terrified. She doesn't know how to get away from his attentions, and she feels like it must somehow be her fault.
I'd recommend this to anyone who loves strong writing and well-drawn characters -- as well as those who enjoy tension and good pacing.

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