Fiction Novel Addresses the Struggle for Acceptance Teens Commonly Face in High School

Written by Mackenzie Wells, Athens, GA

The young adult novel, The Right Person by Stacy A. Padula takes an intimate view into the lives of a group of freshmen in high school. I recommend The Right Person to young adults entering into, or currently in, high school. This story inserts itself into the world of social uncertainty and intertwining relationships that is high school. 

I enjoyed the fast pace of the plot in The Right Person. The relationships and the drama of these high school students were perpetually in motion. From the beginning of the book to the end, there were break ups, hook ups, new relationships, police raids, and lessons learned. I was surprised that such a short book could have so many alternate storylines progressing at once.  

This story takes a universal look at the world of teenagers struggling for acceptance. I remember in high school, trying to find my place within a friend group, and the confusion when everyone started coupling up. Often, I felt that I was on the outside of others’ drama looking in. All those relationship changes—like between Chris and Marielle or Jon and Julianna—make no sense if you are not around when the drama occurs. 

Throughout the story, there was a motif about popularity and the true meaning of happiness. Courtney Angeletti was caught up in gaining more shallow relationships and popularity. (She even cut off her friendship with Julianna in order to increase her social standing!) Unfortunately for everyone who chased their happiness in popularity, they ended up being let down or found their reward to be empty. 

In the novel, main characters Chris Dunkin and Courtney Angeletti allow their emotions to run their relationship. When they meet, they are drawn together by a strange attraction, despite the fact that Courtney is dating one of Chris’s best friends. They dive head first into a relationship because they want to, without ever thinking about the consequences. However, a few weeks down the road, they both find that their emotions can change easily, and they begin to want different things. Despite ultimately deciding to end their relationship, they learn from each other and from their search for happiness.

The reader can learn from Chris and Courtney’s relationship that true happiness cannot be found through depending solely on another fallible human. Chris was actually attracted to the light he saw in Courtney through her relationship with Jesus Christ. Instead of chasing her, he should have been chasing the One who gave her that light—The Right Person.


Growing up in the shadow of two NFL-destined cousins, Chris Dunkin has high hopes for his own future in football. However, a drug addiction threatens to destroy everything he has worked hard to attain. When Chris meets Courtney Angeletti–the mayor’s straightedge Christian daughter–he believes she could be the source of inspiration he needs to overcome his destructive lifestyle.

Courtney, however, has other ideas.

The desire to rebel has been tugging on Courtney’s heartstrings for some time, and Chris’s “bad-boy” reputation draws her to him like a moth to a flame. After all, he is a central part of the most popular clique in her high school. Will Chris pull Courtney away from her faith or will Courtney inspire him to overcome his rebellious lifestyle?

About Mackenzie Wells

Mackenzie is a senior at the University of Georgia majoring in English and public relations. She is a leader at the Wesley Foundation at UGA, the community outreach coordinator for UGA’s Undergraduate English Association, and a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America. Mackenzie has always had a passionate love for books and their ability to open doors to new worlds. She is excited to assist Stacy Padula O’Halloran in making a change in the young adult community.

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.