Hidden Messages for Teens in “The Forces Within” – A Paranormal Thriller

img_6649Rebecca Ronning is a junior at Brooklyn Technical High School in Brooklyn, New York. As a city kid, some of her hobbies include riding the subway and exploring the city with friends, making all kinds of art and traveling with her family and experiencing new and exciting things along the way.

Rebecca read “The Forces Within,” a thriller by Stacy Padula, which is the fifth book in the Montgomery Lake High young adult book series. Afterwards, she was asked to answer some questions about the characters and plot in order to give potential readers some background on the novel.

There is a hidden message (or many) woven throughout this book – what do you think one is and why?

I think one of the many messages throughout The Forces Within is that you can’t run from your insecurities; you have to face them, headstrong and fearless. This is particularly expressed when the kids are attempting to discover what exactly is haunting them in the house. The ones who are avoiding the spirit end up being the most hurt because of their reluctance to face the danger. It is important to remember that the only way to conquer something that is hindering you is to persevere. 

How is the topic of spiritual warfare covered in this story?

Spiritual warfare is one of the main topics of this story. Spiritual warfare is the Christian ideology that you need to fight against the work of evil forces or spirits who are meddling in human lives. The entire book surrounds the idea of there being a dark spirit in the house, who seems to only be going after those with less spirituality. This is representative of spiritual warfare, as the kids had to “fight against” the houses evil force, while looking to those more spiritual for guidance.  

What parallels do you see between everything that happened at Fallen Lake and Andy’s life in Montgomery?

One parallel that I see between Andy’s life in Montgomery and the happenings at Fallen Lake is the way in which he has witnessed many people change, for better or for worse. For example, after he came out of his coma, he saw a new light in Jason who had made a spiritual change, while at Fallen Lake he saw a darker side in everybody, brought out by the spirit in the house itself.

Montgomery Lake High #5: The Forces Within
After being trapped inside his own body, unable to communicate with anyone but his own thoughts, Andy Rosetti finally wakes up from the coma that controlled his life for one month. But upon awakening, Andy finds himself and his friends in an unfamiliar setting: a mansion riddled with secrets and supernatural forces. As his friends fall prey to the entities encompassing them, Andy must figure out if the darkness lies within the mansion’s walls or within the people surrounding him.


Published by Author Stacy A. Padula

Stacy Padula has spent the last 14 years working daily with teenagers as a college counselor, mentor, and life coach. She was named "Top Inspirational Author of the Year" for 2022 by the International Association of Top Professionals (New York, NY). In 2021, she was broadcast on the famous Reuters Building in Times Square as "Empowered Woman of the Year." Her Gripped book series is currently being adapted for TV by Emmy-winning producer Mark Blutman. She is the founder and CEO of Briley & Baxter Publications: a publishing company that donates a portion of its proceeds to animal rescues each month. She has edited and published a variety of titles, including Boston Bruins Anthem Singer Todd Angilly and Rachel Goguen's The Adventures of Owen & the Anthem Singer, LaTonya Pinkard of Netflix's Last Chance U's Nate & His Magic Lion, and former NHL player Norm Beaudin's memoir The Original: Living Life Through Hockey. Stacy resides in Plymouth, Massachusetts with her husband Tim and two miniature dachshunds, Briley and Baxter.