Teen Novel Educates Kids About the Perils of Substance Abuse

Written by Kyle Banker, University of Miami

Being a freshman in high school is one of the most pivotal points in one’s life, both academically and (mostly) socially. Being exposed to parties, drugs, alcohol, peer pressure, and popularity can completely change one’s personality and mindset. In “When Darkness Tries to Hide,” author Stacy Padula tells the story of a group of freshmen at Montgomery Lake High as they encounter and face countless social scenarios that change their lifestyles for the long run. 

“When Darkness Tries to Hide” focuses mainly on Jason: a hardcore partier who has spent much of his life dependent on Adderall (due to his ADHD diagnosis) and much of his teen years abusing substances such as alcohol, various pills, and marijuana. However, in the novel, Jason becomes aware of his problems after seeing the negative influence he has on his peers. Subsequently, he decides to stop abusing substances after a life-changing conversation with a local pastor. Even though he has a notorious past, Jason remains determined through the latter half of the book to make positive changes to his life and his surroundings.  

“When Darkness Tries to Hide” showcases the struggles many kids encounter during their freshman years through the eyes of compelling characters. The social scene can influence bad habits, and this can result in many harmful changes occurring to good-minded people. But, through all this, it is clear that anyone can clean up their past and make efforts to become a mentally and physically healthier person. I recommend this book to high school and middle school students who are preparing for this tricky, yet important year.


Jason Davids has not slept in thirty-seven hours. He glances at his clock: 7:20 p.m. 

You can do this, Jason, he says to himself. Just get up and go. Go tell them the truth. Tell everyone at Alyssa’s party that you found Andy’s body. Tell them that he looked dead. Tell them about the horror in Chantal’s eyes when she came rushing up the stairs. Make sure you tell them that it is all your fault.

One day after a tornado strikes Montgomery, Massachusetts, Andy Rosetti is in a coma with life-threatening injuries. Jason Davids and Chris Dunkin devise a plan to help Andy and unite the students at Montgomery Lake High School. However, no one–not even Chris–knows Jason’s secret about the day of the storm.

About Kyle Banker

Kyle graduated this spring from Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill. His favorite subjects include Biology, English, and Entrepreneurship. Some of his hobbies are playing soccer and hockey, volunteering, and being with friends and family. Kyle is studying Biological Sciences at the University of Miami.

Articles by Kyle:

Teen Book Series Educates Readers about Drug Abuse in a New Way

Why You Should Read the #1 New Release “Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told”

Kyle Banker on The “Gripped” Characters

A Teen’s Review of Gripped Part 1

Looking Ahead to Gripped Part 2 with Kyle Banker

What Should Readers Expect from Gripped Part 2 (To Be Released Later This Year)

May’s Q&A with Kyle Banker of Beaver Country Day School

Kyle Banker Reviews “The Right Person” by Stacy A. Padula – A Young Adult Novel

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.