NONFICTION

 
 
Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention

Donna Freitas has lived two lives. In one life, she is a well-published author and respected scholar who has traveled around the country speaking about Title IX, consent, religion, and sex on college campuses. In the other, she is a victim, a woman who suffered and suffers still because she was stalked by her graduate professor for more than two years.

As a doctoral candidate, Freitas loved asking big questions, challenging established theories and sinking her teeth into sacred texts. She felt at home in the library, and safe in the book-lined offices of scholars whom she admired. But during her first year, one particular scholar became obsessed with Freitas’ academic enthusiasm. He filled her student mailbox with letters and articles. He lurked on the sidewalk outside her apartment. ...

In Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention, Donna Freitas delivers a forensic examination of the years she spent stalked by her professor, and uses her nightmarish experience to examine the ways in which we stigmatize, debate, and attempt to understand consent today.

 

Consent on Campus: A Manifesto

Freitas offers an in-depth accounting of the problem of sexual assault on college campuses, analyzing both the likely exacerbating factors and various successful or ill-advised response strategies from universities. Based on a decade of research, her book is measured and rigorously reasonable, taking pains not to stray too far in any ideological direction…Freitas is worth reading for her interviews with college students, whom she treats with an uncommon degree of dignity and respect. They are, she reminds us, the experts in their own lives. —The New York Times Book Review - Moira Donegan

A 2015 survey of twenty-seven elite colleges found that twenty-three percent of respondents reported personal experiences of sexual misconduct on their campuses. That figure has not changed since the 1980s, when people first began collecting data on sexual violence. What has changed is the level of attention that the American public is paying to these statistics. Reports of sexual abuse repeatedly make headlines, and universities are scrambling to address the crisis.

 
The Happiness Effect

Drawing on a large-scale survey and interviews with students on thirteen college campuses, Freitas finds that what young people are overwhelmingly concerned with--what they really want to talk about--is happiness. They face enormous pressure to look perfect online--not just happy, but blissful, ecstatic, and fabulously successful. Unable to achieve this impossible standard, they are anxious about letting the less-than-perfect parts of themselves become public. Far from wanting to share everything, they are brutally selective when it comes to curating their personal profiles, and worry obsessively that they might unwittingly post something that could come back to haunt them later in life. Through candid conversations with young people from diverse backgrounds, Freitas reveals how even the most well-adjusted individuals can be stricken by self-doubt when they compare their experiences with the vast collective utopia that they see online. And sometimes, as on anonymous platforms like Yik Yak, what they see instead is a depressing cesspool of racism and misogyny. Yet young people are also extremely attached to their smartphones and apps, which sometimes bring them great pleasure. It is very much a love-hate relationship.

 
 
Sex and the Soul

Based on dozens of face-to-face interviews, Sex and the Soul explores the sexual and spiritual lives of today's college students. Donna Freitas crisscrossed the country, visiting a range of America's colleges and universities--from public to private, Catholic to evangelical--to find out what students had to say about these highly personal subjects. Their stories will not only engage readers, but, in many cases, move them with the painful struggles these candid young women and men face. Indeed, the book uncovers aspects of college life that may unsettle some readers, especially parents. Many campuses, for instance, are dominated by the pervasiveness of hook-up culture. Moreover, many students see little connection between sex and religion, even as they seek one between sex and spirituality. Indeed, these observations hold true even at Catholic schools. Only at evangelical colleges is religion an important factor when deciding whether or not to engage in sex. But Freitas's research also reveals that, even at secular schools, students are not comfortable with a culture of casual sex, and that they do want spirituality, at least, if not also religion, to speak about what they should do and who they should try to be--not just what they should avoid doing.

FICTION

Coming Soon
 
Donna Freitas's debut novel for adults, The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano, a multifaceted story that explores “women’s bodily autonomy, motherhood and societal expectations,” will be published in February 2021 by Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, and in more than twenty other countries and languages.
 

YA & MIDDLE GRADE

The Big Questions Book of Sex & Consent

What this book is NOT:

The fear-based How-To on sex and consent, oversimplified and focused on technicalities, that represents so much of our sexual education today.

What this book IS:

A journey into the Big Questions that will turn you into a thinking person about sex and consent, with the ability to wrestle towards the answers that work for YOU and continue to wrestle towards them for the rest of your life. What is the meaning and purpose of sex? How does it intersect with who I am? Why are people so afraid of it? What does a healthy and joyful approach to sex look like for me? Why is consent so much more than a yes or no question?

Who this book is FOR:

Everybody!! No matter your sexuality, gender, religion, or race.

What could be more essential?

 
 
The Healer

“I couldn’t put it down—The Healer is a tonic.”—Gregory Maguire, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked and Hiddensee

Marlena Oliveira has—mysteriously, miraculously—been given the power to heal all kinds of ailments. People around the world believe she is a saint. But it all comes at a price. Because of her power, she’ll never be able to live a normal life. And the older she gets, the more trapped she feels.

Then she meets Finn, a boy who makes her want to fall in love. For the first time, she begins to doubt her power—and herself. Is her gift worth all she must give up to keep it? And who would—or could—she be without it?

 
The Mind Virus (Unplugged #3)

In the tradition of M. T. Anderson’s Feed and Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies, The Mind Virus is the thrilling conclusion to the Unplugged series.

Skylar Cruz has managed to shut down the body market that her sister Jude opened, and to create a door to allow App World citizens reentry into the Real World. But as tensions between the newly mingling people escalate, she’s not sure if it was the right decision after all. Still reeling from Kit’s betrayal, she’s not sure of anything anymore.

And for those who are still in the App World, a new danger looms. A virus, set in motion by Jude’s actions, is killing off the bodies of those who remained plugged in—and no one knows how to stop it.

It’s up to Skylar to once again save the worlds—and only time will tell who will be standing alongside her in the end.

 
The Body Market (Unplugged #2)

In this heart-pounding sequel to Unplugged, Skylar Cruz found her sister in the Real World—only to learn that her sister has betrayed her and put everyone in the App World in danger. The Body Market is now open for business and everyone still plugged into the App World is for sale.

Shaken by the betrayal of everyone she trusted, Skylar is through being a pawn. She may be the only one who can stop what her family started. And she has to do it before the App World runs out of time.

 
Unplugged

Unplugged is the first in a provocative and compelling new series from acclaimed author Donna Freitas.

Humanity is split into a dying physical world for the poor and an extravagant virtual world for the wealthy. Years ago, Skylar Cruz crossed over to the App World for a chance at a better life, and her family stayed behind in the Real World. Now Skye is a virtual teenager, surrounded by glamorous apps and expensive downloads—yet she’s never felt like she fits in, and all she wants is to see her mother and sister again.

Skye is desperate and ready to risk everything to unplug from the App World. But she soon learns that the only person she can trust—in either world, including friends and family—is herself.

 
The Tenderness of Thieves

Jane is ready for a fantastic summer. In fact, she’s pretty sure the universe owes her one.


This past winter, Jane was held at knifepoint during an armed robbery and the specter of that night still haunts her. A summer romance with one of the town bad boys—sexy Handel Davies, who takes her breath away and makes her feel like a bolder version of herself—seems like the universe’s way of paying her back.


But bad boys always have secrets, and Handel’s secret just might shatter Jane completely.


This suspense novel marries psychological thriller with summer romance and is perfect for teen fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.

 
Gold Metal Winter

Esperanza Flores is "America's Hope for the Gold!" in this sweet novel about a figure skater who gets the chance to achieve her Olympic dreams.

After years of practice and competitions, of sit spins and perfect poses and thrillingly high jumps, Esperanza Flores will be skating for the United States. But with the excitement of an Olympic shot comes new attention, and big distractions.

Suddenly Espi can't go out with her friends, or even out her back door, without reporters and autograph-seekers following her every move. The other U.S. figure skaters have a lot more international experience, and they let Espi know they don't think she's ready. And Hunter Wills, the men's figure skating champion, seems to be flirting with her, even as the press matches her up with Danny Morrison, the youngest, and maybe cutest, member of the U.S. hockey team.

In the midst of all this, Espi is trying to master an impossible secret jump that just might be her key to a medal.

 
Gold Medal Summer

Joey Jordan loves gymnastics: the thrill of performing a backflip on the beam, the cheers of the audience when she sticks a landing. But even with all her talent and style, she's never quite made it to that gold medal stand.

 

Now big changes shake up Joey's life in and out of the gym. Joey wants to break out some daring new beam and floor routines — but she'll have to defy her strict coach to do it. Her best friend, Alex, is thinking about quitting gymnastics for good. And an old friend named Tanner just moved back to town, and he's suddenly gotten very, very cute. Can Joey handle all the challenges coming her way, and make her gold medal summer happen at last?

 

Drawing on her real-life experience as a competitive gymnast, acclaimed novelist Donna Freitas delivers both a terrific gymnastics story and a classic novel about stretching some limits, bending the rules, and finding your balance.

 
The Possibilities of Sainthood

Antonia Lucia Labella has two secrets: at fifteen, she's still waiting for her first kiss, and she wants to be a saint. An official one. Seem strange? Well, to Antonia, saints are royalty, and she wants her chance at being a princess. All her life she's kept company with these kings and queens of small favors, knowing exactly whom to pray to on every occasion. Unfortunately, the two events Antonia's prayed for seem equally unlikely to happen. It's not for lack of trying. For how long has she been hoping to gain the attention of the love of her life – the tall, dark, and so good-looking Andy Rotellini? Too long to mention. And every month for the last eight years, Antonia has sent a petition to the Vatican proposing a new patron saint and bravely offering herself for the post. So what if she's not dead?

But as Antonia learns, in matters of the heart and sainthood, things are about as straightforward as wound-up linguini, and sometimes you need to recognize the signs.

 
This Gorgeous Game

A CHILLING NOVEL ABOUT THE ISOLATION OF BEING STALKED AND THE ABUSE OF POWER.

Olivia Peters is over the moon when her literary idol, the celebrated novelist and muchadored local priest Mark D. Brendan, offers to become her personal writing mentor. But when Father Mark's enthusiasm for Olivia's prose develops into something more, Olivia's emotions quickly shift from wonder to confusion to despair. Exactly what game is Father Mark playing, and how on earth can she get out of it?

This remarkable novel about overcoming the isolation that stems from victimization is powerful, luminous, and impossible to put down.

 
The Survival Kit

When Rose's mom dies, she leaves behind a brown paper bag labeled Rose's Survival Kit. Inside the bag, Rose finds an iPod, with a to-be-determined playlist; a picture of peonies, for growing; a crystal heart, for loving; a paper star, for making a wish; and a paper kite, for letting go.

As Rose ponders the meaning of each item, she finds herself returning again and again to an unexpected source of comfort. Will is her family's gardener, the school hockey star, and the only person who really understands what she's going through. Can loss lead to love?

For Lecture Visits or Media Inquiries, please email Donna Freitas:

donnamariefreitas@gmail.com