Written by Kyle Banker, University of Miami
The transition from middle school to high school is very important, as it sets up teens for four crucial years of their lives. However, in the modern-day, this change may not be as smooth, as many teens are introduced to parties, drugs, alcohol, and sex. Yet, how exactly do these things affect an individual’s progression and status in the future? In “The Battle for Innocence,” author Stacy Padula showcases the reader a key flashback of the main characters at Montgomery Lake High to compare how certain individuals have fared by being exposed to these potentially harmful things.
“The Battle for Innocence” (the 4th installment in the Montgomery Lake High book series) focuses mainly on Chantal: a good-girl who stays close to God and has very good and strong morals. In the novel, the reader sees Chantal being introduced to Andy and “the party lifestyle” at Montgomery Lake Middle School. Throughout the story, it is clear that Chantal seems tempted to subside her morals, as Andy and many others convince her to try it out. However, the reader will see how Chantal sticking to her morals will benefit her near the end of the novel. The stories of characters such as Chris, Jason, Cathy, and Lisa are also briefly told, which provides an explanation for how they transformed into the people they are in the present day (and in the Gripped book series).
“The Battle for Innocence” showcases the struggles and bad influences that can cause one with good morals to “crack” or abandon their strong intentions in life. However, Padula shows that if any young adult stays true to their core beliefs, good things will ultimately happen to them sooner or later. I recommend this book to all young adults who have been exposed to substances and bad influences, as the novel could serve as a teaching point about why staying away from dangerous substances in these years is imperative.
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