Young Adult Book Captures Modern Teen Life & the Social Pressures Faced By High School Students

Sophia Karnolt

By Sophia Karnolt, Kingston, MA & Thayer Academy

As a senior in high school, I think all teenagers could benefit from reading “The Aftermath” by Stacy A. Padula, especially high-schoolers who feel they don’t know their place or anyone who feels lost. This book mainly focuses on the struggles of being caught up in popularity and living up to others’ expectations, which I feel a lot of high-schoolers struggle with. High-schoolers of all ages would really benefit from reading this and becoming aware that this is a very common feeling. Maybe they could help others who feel this way as well. 

What I enjoyed most about “The Aftermath” was how it normalized what most teenagers feel, which is that of being consumed with how others view you instead of focusing on yourself and how you want to feel. I loved how it ties in that God really does have a plan for you and can help bring you out of the difficult times when you feel alone. Living up to others’ expectations, especially as a younger sibling, can be a very overwhelming feeling. I feel this book highlighted the importance of getting out of your comfort zone and trying to embrace something new. 

The message being sent to readers is that when you are struggling and may feel alone, you aren’t. You need to confide in God to be sent on the right path, and you should also reach out to friends for help. The people who may look like they have everything together and seem to have a perfect life are not always the way they seem. You never know what people are struggling with and what they are hiding. Always reach out to friends and family and check up on them.

Moving forward in the Montgomery Lake High Book Series, I hope Cathy and Jason continue to have their break from each other because they demonstrate a toxic relationship. I think it is really good that Jason woke up and realized that Cathy isn’t the best person for him to be around and isn’t the best influence for him. I am glad that he is finally on a good path and turning away from her. I hope that after he becomes really stable and connects with himself more, they can become friends. 

About Sophia

Sophia Karnolt is a senior at Thayer Academy. 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.

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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.