Thayer Academy Senior Reviews Stacy Padula’s “The Right Person”

Written by Sophia Karnolt, Kingston, MA

What I enjoyed most about The Right Person by Stacy A. Padula was how the book showed the truth about the beginning of high school, but it didn’t glorify it like most movies and other books do. This book really illustrated the struggles most freshmen have as they start their year and try to fit in with different groups and people. It highlighted important lessons like keeping and understanding your values and to not change for other people by staying true to yourself. This book brought me back to my freshman year and how I saw people change into someone totally different.

A major theme I saw running through the story was the pressure of being “socially accepted” and the things people think they need to do to accomplish that. In the book, Chris was very addicted to drugs and alcohol and so were all of his friends. Courtney was never like that until she started dating Chris but even though she didn’t enjoy those things, she felt she had to involve herself in them to be popular and fit in with his friends. One thing that stuck out to me was when Alyssa gave Courtney the cigarette and said that Chris mentioned she smoked. Courtney did not want to smoke it but she thought she had to in order to live up to the expectation Chris gave Alyssa. She felt that if she told Alyssa she didn’t smoke, she would be looked at differently and Alyssa wouldn’t want to be friends with her. 

A lesson that can be learned from Chris and Courtney’s story is that some people can be introduced into your life and help you through something that you are struggling with, but it could also knock the other person down as well. Their story is very interesting to me because Courtney was Chris’s way out of a lifestyle he no longer enjoyed but Chris was Courtney’s way in on a lifestyle she wanted to try. Courtney saved Chris, but Chris didn’t do anything to Courtney except make her realize the lifestyle she had before was a better one. I think their relationship was an eye opener for the both of them but in different ways. 

I personally relate to this story because when I was in middle school everyone was so innocent and drugs/alcohol weren’t on anyone’s mind. As I began high school, I saw some of the kids in my grade become very different. Some changed their attitude or clothes, but others just began drinking to “look cool” or become the popular kid everyone talked about. I’ve experienced some of the pressure’s mentioned, and I remember walking into my first party totally shocked at some of the decisions being made by people I would never expect to make. This is the first real book I’ve read that speaks the truth about high school and mentions important lessons while making it something everyone can relate to. 

I would recommend The Right Person by Stacy A. Padula to my inner circle of friends and to a family friend of mine just starting high school. I believe my close friends would really enjoy this book because it shows some of the difficult and confusing parts of beginning high school that everyone has gone through. I feel this is a really good book for someone who is just beginning high school and someone who is finishing or has completed it. Reading this book as someone who is about to be a senior, it reminded me of some pressures I felt as a freshman. If I had read this book during my first year of high school, it would have prepared me for what was to come!

Synopsis

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 Sophia Karnolt

Sophia Karnolt is going to be a senior at Thayer Academy this fall. She loves traveling and spending time with friends and family. Last year, she went to the Galápagos Islands to help teach English to kids and clear out endangered species from planting fields. In school, her favorite subjects include English and science. She also runs for her school’s track and field team, and she loves the beach.