An Enlightening Nightmare: The Forces Within

Written by Lindsay Rourke – Kingston, Massachusetts

Have you ever awoken from a dream (nightmare seems more fitting, actually) in a cold sweat, fighting the shortness of breath, and struggling to decipher foe from reality?

Imagine being stuck in that parallel world for a month straight—now that’s a nightmare. Facing nothing other than his inner self, Andy Rosetti experiences a spiritual awakening during his coma in Stacy Padula’s Y.A. novel The Forces Within. Andy’s battle was physical on the outside, yet spiritual on the inside—something that remained upon his awakening. Andy recognized the darkness around him, something that he had so long tried to ignore through appeasement. The “boy who had it all,” really had nothing—without God that is. 

Everyone has the capability to shine in the light, but the darkness is so consuming, convincing even the strongest willed that they are unsalvageable. Filling a void is near impossible, remaining empty until the light fills in the gap, like drawing the drapes in a grand hall. Andy felt as though he fit in everywhere and nowhere at the same time. His insecurity in his faith had prevented God from working within his life, leaving him stuck between darkness and light, an exhausting and viscous cycle on his soul. Spiritual illumination sheds light in one’s soul, restoring faith, hope, and love. Chantal, Andy’s long-term girlfriend, was always radiant, in her beauty of course, but mainly in her spirituality. She was Andy’s push, his reminder of hope and restoration of strength to accept God and his purpose. 

Attaining illumination takes strength, and pushes you out of your comfort zone—something that most high school freshmen struggle to overcome. Fleeing temptation and emerging from darkness means allowing yourself to become vulnerable, relinquishing the grip you hold on your own life, and transferring that power to God’s will. The reward is God’s love, strength, and protection. Eternal happiness and peace is on the other side of the road, you just have to be brave enough to cross it. Andy, Chantal, Chris, Bryan, Jon, Jason, Katherine, Lisa, Leslie, Bobby, and the rest of MLH have access to the same road, but who is brave enough to cross to the other side? Who will make it half way and cower? Who will be hit along the way? Read The Forces Within to find out!


After being trapped inside his own body, unable to communicate with anyone but his own thoughts, Andy Rosetti finally wakes up from the coma that controlled his life for one month. But upon awakening, Andy finds himself and his friends in an unfamiliar setting: a mansion riddled with secret passages and supernatural forces. As his friends fall prey to the entities encompassing them, Andy must figure out if the darkness lies within the mansion’s walls or within the people surrounding him.


Lindsay, who also works as an English and college essay tutor, graduated from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. Earning her Bachelor’s degree in history and her Master’s degree in teaching, Lindsay has an ever-growing passion for learning. She spent five years of her education at Sacred Heart University, where not only did she receive academic awards, but extracurricular as well. During her junior year, Lindsay was elected Scholarship Chair for her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi. This position allowed Lindsay to live her passion and assist and encourage all 115 of her “sisters” in finding the best versions of themselves. Entering her senior year, Lindsay was awarded the Charles T. Eby Scholarship; “This scholarship recognizes outstanding achievement in the study of History and is awarded to a full-time history major entering his/her senior year who shows the most excellence and promise in the study of History. This is the History Department’s highest honor and is a mark of significant honor for the student.” After receiving this prestigious award, in Lindsay’s senior year, she was elected as the President of the History Club. Wrapping up her senior year, Lindsay graduated with the highest academic honors, Summa Cum Laude, and was awarded the Silver Medal of Excellence in History. Following her undergrad graduation, Lindsay started and completed her master’s degree, as well as field experience as a student teacher. During this time, Lindsay developed her passion for achieving personal connections with her students and creating a positive and individualized learning environment.

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.