Donna Freitas

A deeply moving novel about a woman who thought she never wanted to be a mother--and the many ways that life can surprise us

In every woman there are many stories . . .

Rose Napolitano is fighting with her husband, Luke, about prenatal vitamins. She promised she'd take them, but didn't. He promised before they got married that he'd never want children, but now he's changed his mind. Their marriage has come to rest on this one question: Can Rose find it in herself to become a mother? Rose is a successful professor and academic. She's never wanted to have a child. The fight ends, and with it their marriage.

But then, Rose has a fight with Luke about the vitamins--again. This time the fight goes slightly differently, and so does Rose's future as she grapples with whether she can indeed give up the one thing she thought she knew about herself. Can she reimagine her life in a completely new way? That reimagining plays out again and again in each of Rose's nine lives, just as it does for each of us as we grow into adulthood. What are the consequences of our biggest choices? How would life change if we let go of our preconceived ideas of ourselves and became someone completely new? Rose Napolitano's experience of choosing and then choosing again shows us in an utterly compelling way what it means, literally, to reinvent a life and, sometimes, become a different kind of woman than we ever imagined.

A stunning novel about love, loss, betrayal, divorce, death, a woman's career and her identity, The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano is about finding one's way into a future that wasn't the future one planned, and the ways that fate intercedes when we least expect it.


“Freitas’s prose is engaging and precise, and her what-if format proves ideal for elegantly unpacking the tensions of the plot. She balances tightly written scenes of confrontation with Rose’s poignant reflections on how much she can compromise without losing herself completely. This isn’t one to miss."Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Fans of Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life (2013), Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot (2011), and the film Sliding Doors will find themselves happily lost in this charming, heartfelt, thought-provoking novel.”Booklist, Starred Review

“Reminiscent of Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life or the movie Sliding Doors, Freitas’ novel explores nine (but certainly not all) possible outcomes when a woman who has never wanted children marries a man who gradually decides he does….Following the maze of numbered takes becomes an addictive game, highly literate escapism, like watching The Queen’s Gambit….Highly readable and provocative.”Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

"Freitas debuts an extraordinary, multi-faceted novel for adults...this is no ordinary story of a young couple moving on to the next stage of familyhood; instead we get a glimpse into all the different lives Rose could have. Nine different lives, some more fully realized than others. Starting one morning in 2006, Rose and Luke fight over the prenatal vitamins, and the outcome of that fight changes depending on the life Rose chooses, from having a baby or not, to affairs or not, to the breakup of the marriage or not, until it ends in 2025. Verdict: This is a serious yet fantastical look at relationships, family, and feminism told in a unique voice, and book groups should take note...Don’t miss it."Library Journal, Starred Review  

“In a powerful exploration of motherhood and feminism, Donna Freitas probes the ties that bind us all to one another through love, through obligation and through choice. At once thought-provoking and emotionally moving, this novel will have readers examining their own relationships and their own ‘what-ifs.’”—Jill Santopolo, New York Times bestselling author of The Light We Lost and More Than Words

“Ambitious, compelling, and provocative, THE NINE LIVES OF ROSE NAPOLITANO delves deep into love, motherhood, and the complicated dance that is navigating the world as a woman—its intricate structure kept me turning pages and the questions posed therein kept me awake at night.”—Claire Lombardo, New York Times bestselling author of The Most Fun We Ever Had

“Donna Freitas brilliantly unfurls from every angle one of the most urgent questions of a woman’s life, motherhood, creating a dazzling kaleidoscope of love, pain and possibility. The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano is a page-turner, a novel that is impossible to put down.”Martha McPhee, National Book Award finalist and author of An Elegant Woman 

"A structurally ambitious, deeply thoughtful and even-handed consideration of many of the most complex decisions women make about their families and futures—not to mention a generally wise meditation on the control we all do and don't have over our fates."—Linda Holmes, host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour and New York Times bestselling author of Evvie Drake Starts Over

“In this unflinching exploration of motherhood, Donna Freitas delivers a self-assured novel that questions if female agency is realistic in a world that expects conformity. In captivating Sliding Doors style, we’re offered an intimate glimpse into the nine different lives of one woman as she struggles to define womanhood. Riveting, astute and brazenly honest, The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano has left an indelible mark–I won't soon forget it.”Karma Brown, bestselling author of Recipe for a Perfect Wife

“Sometimes the right book finds you at the perfect time, and that's exactly what happened in the case of The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano. I read this novel in one greedy gulp. It brilliantly turns the prism on what it means to be a woman: More than the sum of our joys and pains, we are also etched with the roads not taken and opportunities lost. The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano is a trenchant portrait of womanhood, and everything I look for in a novel: intimate, thought-provoking, and terribly moving.”Lauren Mechling, author of How Could She

"This book is so good.  I spent a day completely ignoring my family while I finished it.  The only downside was I cried at the playground. But, really, who hasn't?"Emily Oster, New York Times bestselling author of Cribsheet 

“Donna Freitas writes about the mysteries surrounding motherhood and the choice to remain childless with disarming directness and feeling. This is a thought-provoking, absorbing book.”Rene Steinke, author of Friendswood

“Nine choices, nine fates, one woman. Donna Freitas takes a woman’s most intimate decision and casts a refracting light on the pressures, regrets, and joys that can accompany it. With crystalline prose that crackles with wit and emotional intensity, she reveals how a woman’s effort to be true to her own choices can be a struggle that requires not only everything she has, but everything she might become. Starkly honest, absorbing, and wholly original.”—Judy Blundell, bestselling author of The High Season and What I Saw and How I Lied

CONSENT: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention (Little, Brown, 2019)
"Freitas recounts with great thoughtfulness how her perception of the power differential between [herself and her stalker], as well as her faith in the religious and educational institutions she'd grown up with, lulled her into susceptibility and disbelief."―New York Times Book Review

"Donna Freitas combs through the emotional knots that form when a mentor's attention becomes inappropriate and manipulative. With sharp attention, she separates the many strands of consent one by one. A riveting, significant examination of the forces that push a student into silence about unwanted attention."―Idra Novey, award-winning author of Those Who Knew and Ways to Disappear

"A meticulously recounted memoir of building dread, that pushes our understanding of power and its abuses. Freitas's story complicates and illuminates our ideas about harassment and harm, showing how it doesn't just begin and end within the confines of physical contact: it infiltrates our own heads, is enabled by the very structures that are supposed to be our recourse from it but too often work to cover it up."―Rebecca Traister, New York Times bestselling author of Good and Mad

"In Consent, Donna Freitas writes an experience many women know all too well: Being stalked. What makes this book is uniquely powerful is Freitas's particular expertise in this area: She is a scholar and speaker on issues of consent, religion, Title IX, and sex on college campuses."―Bustle

"A groundbreaking resource for educators, administrators, students, and survivors, the book explores an issue many would prefer to ignore.A potent memoir of stalking with special resonance in the era of #MeToo.―Kirkus, starred review

"Any reader interested in current discussions on consent and its importance should pick up this heartfelt and harrowing book."―Library Journal, starred review

"Freitas is incredibly honest and doesn't shy away from her feelings that she is in some way at fault. She rounds out her memories with details of her family and friends as well as more studious synthesis, and calls for campus reform, adding heft to an already important story."―Booklist

"Freitas has mastered the telling of her story--despite repeated attempts by others to keep her from doing so--and has mastered it in such a way that its telling sheds light on a larger societal issue. . . . A difficult but important read about one woman's survival of stalking by her professor, and the role of consent in any relationship."―Shelf Awareness

"Freitas' delicate study of her torment and its devastating effects, which raises thorny, meaningful questions about how to define consent, is an important testament for the #MeToo era."―Publisher's Weekly

"Consent is an affecting memoir."―The Wall Street Journal

CONSENT ON CAMPUS: A MANIFESTO (Oxford University Press, 2018)
THE HEALER (HarperTeen, 2019)
THE MIND VIRUS (HarperTeen, 2017)
THE BODY MARKET (HarperTeen, 2017)
THE HAPPINESS EFFECT: How Social Media is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost (Oxford University Press, 2017)
UNPLUGGED (HarperTeen, 2016)
THE TENDERNESS OF THIEVES (Philomel/Penguin, 2015)
THE END OF SEX: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy (Basic Books, 2013)
GOLD MEDAL WINNER (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2014)
GOLD MEDAL SUMMER (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2012)
THE SURVIVAL KIT (Frances Foster Books, 2010)
THIS GORGEOUS GAME (Frances Foster Books, 2010)
SEX & THE SOUL: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America’s College Campuses (Oxford University Press, 2008)

The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano is Donna Freitas’s first adult novel. She has spoken at nearly two hundred colleges and universities about her nonfiction work. She is the author of Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention, as well as ten novels for children and young adults. Donna has written for The Washington PostThe New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and The Boston Globe, and she has appeared on radio and television, from NPR’s All Things Considered to The Today Show. She has been a professor at Boston University and Hofstra University, and is currently a member of the faculty at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s MFA program.