Jenna Finnerty is a senior at Norwell High School in Norwell, Massachusetts. She is planning to major in nursing next year. Jenna has accrued years of experience as a cheerleader and gymnast. She also has a passion for traveling and looks forward to studying abroad in college.
Jenna was asked to read the first book in Stacy Padula’s Montgomery Lake High book series “The Right Person” and answer questions about the novel. Below are her responses.
Q. What do you believe influenced Courtney to turn away from her morals in order to feel accepted?
A. Teenagers are so easily influenced and want to fit in. People conform to things much easier if they see other people around them doing similar things. If young girls, including Courtney, do things they feel are “cool” that other people around them do, they feel that they will become popular and will be accepted more. To most high schoolers, the one thing they want is popularity. Therefore, they will do everything they can to reach their goal, even if it goes against their morals.
Q. What is one major theme you noticed running through the story?
A. A major theme I noticed throughout the story was the importance of friendship and the way it affects people’s behaviors. Courtney gained a whole new group of friends that led totally different lifestyles than her previous friends. She began attending parties, drinking, and was in the presence of drugs more often. Her previous friends were avid church goers and seemingly innocent girls. The change in Courtney’s friends brought to light a clear change in her personality as she began doing the same things her new friends were doing and abandoned her old friends.
Q. How do you, as a teenager, personally relate to this story?
A. I relate to this story because I realize I have changed over the course of high school. Freshman year I really wanted to have a lot of friends and be liked around the school. I realized I did not fit in with the “popular” girls and eventually realized I was happy with the friends I had. As high school continued, my friends changed, along with my personality. Different from Courtney, I do not think my friends negatively influenced me. If anything, they changed me for the better and made me the happy, outgoing person I am.