This Y.A. Book is Full of Useful Messages for Teens

Written by Isabelle Semas

Isabelle Semas is in her junior year of high school, and has been homeschooled most of her life.  She looks forward to graduating next year and hopes to pursue a career in Early Childhood Education.  In her spare time, she sings in a christian band named NHB with her friends, is very involved in her church’s children’s ministry, and enjoys art.  She hopes to someday publish a book of her own.

I believe people struggling with guilt or addiction could benefit from reading “When Darkness Tries to Hide” by Stacy A. Padula. Protagonist Jason Davids struggles with both throughout this book, and the plot displays his struggles.  He tries many things to solve his problems on his own, until he is broken.  Those going through a medical crisis with someone close to them may also benefit from reading how steadfast Chantal Kagelli remains under this trial.

During the first Montgomery Lake High book, I have to say that I was disgusted by Jason.  I thought he was a lost cause, and I honestly hated the character for his crudeness and careless attitude.  “When Darkness Tries to Hide” displayed a vulnerable side of Jason that I hadn’t seen in the first book.  I realized he is just a kid who craves the fulfillment Christ gives but is looking for it in all the wrong places.

A main theme of this story is the battle between the dark and the light. The last Chapter of “When Darkness Tries to Hide” lays out the struggle between the light and darkness in Jason’s life.  He wants the light but is too comfortable in the darkness.  He is too attached to the ungodly pleasures of this world.  He notices that those who have been saved are happy, and he begins to show interest in Christianity.  But even still, he continues to be blinded from the truth by the darkness.  

A few useful messages are conveyed to the readers in this book.  Chantal’s story displays that you can face troubles and still trust God.  Jason’s story displays how even the most lost can be found.  Alyssa and Chantal’s reconciling displays that not all may be as it seems, especially where gossip is concerned.

This book would be a great read for teens because it navigates some difficult topics.  It shows through Jason that all that the world offers will never fulfill you.  Through Chantal, it conveys that it is possible to remain faithful through trials. Also, through the efforts of the kids to hold a prayer service for Andy, it displays how much we as teens can accomplish by coming together rather than setting up social barriers.


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.

Other Articles by Isabelle:

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.