Jennifer O’Sullivan of Dover-Sherborn High School on “When Darkness Tries to Hide” by Stacy Padula

When Darkness Tries To Hide is another book by author Stacy Padula that aims to help teenagers navigate the trials and tribulations of high school. I think that all types of teenagers would benefit from reading this book. Although this book is based on faith and how it can help people escape the painful clutches of addiction, teenagers who are both struggling with addiction or suspect that a friend may be struggling would benefit from the book. Additionally, a main part of this story’s plot is how a community comes together to support a young boy, Andy, who had been injured in an accident; this book would also portray to high schoolers the importance of doing everything you can to help someone that is in need.

One of the main characters in When Darkness Tries To Hide is Jason, who struggles with drug addiction. Throughout the story, Jason feels guilty about what happened to his friend Andy and believes that if he had not been under the influence of drugs when the accident happened, he could have helped Andy. Jason begins to realize that this addiction and the way he’s living is not how he wants his life to be. He gets very little sleep and hangs out with bad people to make him feel better about himself. I gained a lot of respect for Jason as I read this book because he took responsibility for his mistakes, tried to find a way to make a positive change in his life, and realized that he needed to find new people in his life that would support his journey, instead of hanging out with people for popularity.

Written by Jennifer O’Sullivan

Throughout the book, another main character, Chris, tries to help Jason overcome his addiction. Although Jason is rude to Chris and initially doesn’t agree with the goals that Chris has for himself, Chris persists in aiding Jason. Jason had been spreading rumors at school about Chris and trying to ruin his reputation, yet Chris remains the bigger person and stays by Jason’s side for a whole day when he can tell that it is needed. I think that many people could learn from Chris by realizing that sometimes your purpose is bigger than you. Chris could have ignored Jason after Jason said horrible things about him, yet Chris knew that the improvement he could make to Jason’s life meant more than a petty argument. People could also learn that no matter what other people say, you need to continue on the journey that is beneficial to you. Many of Chris’ friends make fun of him for his newfound sobriety or laugh at him when he speaks about God, but Chris ignores the criticism because he knows that what he is doing is keeping him on the right track as a recovering addict.

In the last chapter of the book after Jason has accepted some help, he begins to reflect on everything that he has learned from Chris and Chris’ Pastor, Mark. For such a long time, Jason hadn’t realized how bad of a position he was in, because the people he chose to surround himself with were just as bad. Jason didn’t feel like anything he had been doing was wrong, because it mirrored exactly what the people around him did. He was in such darkness that when Chris tried to become a positive light in his life, Jason couldn’t even recognize it as that and began to harass Chris. Jason thought that because he was popular and went to parties, his life was filled with light when in reality, just the opposite was true. Eventually, after a heartfelt conversation with Pastor Mark, Jason began to realize that he was in darkness and that the lights in his life were kind people, like Chris, who had faith and morals. This realization inspired Jason to wonder if faith could bring light into his life too.


A powerful supercell is spawning above Montgomery Lake High School, while a separate storm is brewing in its halls. The question is—which one should Cathy Kagelli, Jason Davids, and their friends fear the most?

$3.99 Kindle | $10.50 Paperback

About Jennifer

Jennifer O’Sullivan is a junior at Dover Sherborn High School who enjoys reading, playing the piano, spending time with friends and doing volunteer work. Jennifer leads her school’s community service club, runs on her school’s cross country and track teams and loves to travel, especially to Ireland where she spends time with friends and family.

More Articles by Jennifer:

Why “The Right Person” is a Perfect Book for Teens

“The Right Person” by Stacy Padula Shows How Faith Can Benefit Teenagers

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.