Who do you think would enjoy reading The Forces Within by Stacy A. Padula?
This suspenseful and riveting book would be great for teens and young adults. Similar to the other books in the MLH series, it addresses issues that teens commonly face. This book specifically focuses on relationships, including spiritual relationships. The book uses relatable metaphors to help guide the teens in the story toward healthy relationships, including one with God.
What made you keep turning the page?
The first half of the book took place in a different setting with a different tone than the other books in the MLH series, adding an element of mystery and suspense to the story. The characters constantly questioned their relationships as they tried to decipher events that were taking place around them. I was always eager to see what decision each character would make in their spiritual journey.
There is a hidden message (or many) woven throughout this book – what do you think one is and why?
I believe that one of the messages that is interlaced throughout this story is that everything that happens correlates to our relationship with God. When we are in a good place in our lives, then we are in step with the will of God. When we give into temptation and make bad choices, this is a result of being in darkness, unaligned with God’s will. Symbols and signs abound in our lives and we should try to be more cognisant of what things actually mean.
How is the topic of spiritual warfare covered in this story?
Spiritual warfare is the battle between good and evil; between God and Satan. We see examples of spiritual warfare throughout the book. Chantal often prays for friends that she feels are in darkness, hoping that they will see the light. Jon tries to help Katherine see the light and come out of the darkness by being a friend and talking to her. The characters who are in step with God are constantly involved in spiritual warfare to try and save their friends who are in darkness.
What parallels do you see between everything that happened at Fallen Lake and Andy’s life in Montgomery?
Andy’s life is very much in turmoil, similar to his time in Fallen Lake. The house in Fallen Lake represents the temptation that Andy faces in Montgomery. When Chantal is not around Andy falls into temptation, paralleling what happened with Leslie while everyone was out looking for Chantal. Chantal represents the light that Andy is trying to reach, while Leslie represents the darkness. Andy surmises that the events at Fallen Lake are a result of his “insincerity of faith.” Without God in his heart he cannot reach the light.
About Joanna Dakoyannis
Joanna Dakoyannis is a senior at Dover-Sherborn High School. She enjoys creative writing, traveling, going to the gym, running track for her high school team and loves cheering on the team at school sporting events. She plans to be a science major in college and hopes to eventually attend dental school.