“The Battle for Innocence” Depicts Important Lessons for Teens and Tweens

New York, NY—Article by Rebecca Ronning on “The Battle for Innocence” by Stacy A. Padula

There is a first time for everything. In the book “The Battle for Innocence,” we are shown the first expressions of teenage rebellion amongst the kids of Montgomery Lake. Taking us all the way back to the eighth grade, this book gives the reader the chance to see where exactly the Montgomery Lake High kids began their journey to high school popularity. It is extremely interesting to see who changed due to the temptation of bad influence, and who remained true to their morals. 

Why is “The Battle for Innocence” a helpful resource for teens?

This book is a helpful resource for teens because it is a good representation of bad influence at a young age. This book can help teens know what to look out for and what to do if they observe a friend being tempted by potentially dangerous activities. This book is also a helpful resource because it expresses the idea that true friends won’t pressure you into doing something that is not comfortable. For example, in the beginning of the story, Chris had invited Jon to one of his cousins infamous parties. Jon decided he didn’t want to hang around that crowd, and told Chris that he was going to stay with his family instead. Chris completely understood, and there was no teasing or hard feelings.

Who is your favorite character in this story and why?

My favorite character in this story was Cathy. It’s interesting to see where she began as compared to where she ended up in the rest of the books. I found her character development super interesting, as it gave really good insight on early signs of teenage rebellion, which I thought was intriguing to watch unfold.

What was the most surprising thing about seeing the main characters’ lives in 7th grade?

To  me, the most surprising thing about seeing all of the Montgomery Lake kids in their 7th grade lives was watching their relationships and personalities develop, and to see where their reputations began. For example, it was strange to watch Cathy go to church and be friends with her sister, when we know that in the not-so-distant future Cathy has a “bad girl” reputation amongst her peers. It is also interesting to see how early Chris started partying (due to the influence of his irresponsible cousins), and to look at how far he’s come after a short two years.  

Why is it important for readers to know the backstory shared in this novel?

It is important to know the backstory to the MLH series, because it gives the reader some insight on how all of the characters met, how they acted in middle school, and how everything began. It also allows for readers to make comparisons and connections between the characters 7th grade lives versus their high school lives. This gives the audience a better understanding of each character, making them feel more connected to the story. 

Jon Anderson and Chantal Kagelli are trying to live moral lives, but temptations are plaguing them in and out of school. Will they continue to be lights in their best friends’ lives or will they get pulled into the darkness?


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.