Written by Timmy Weiss, Weston, MA
Timmy Weiss is a senior at St. Sebastian’s high school. He is a varsity tennis and varsity soccer player, as well as a part of MPA (men with positive attitudes), the newspaper named The Walrus, and the peer mentoring club. He enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, volunteering, and going to sports games. Soon he hopes to study communications in college.
As a senior in high school, I would recommend Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person by Stacy A. Padula to middle-school-aged kids. The book is designed to prepare kids for when they enter high school, so it would be very fitting for middle schoolers to read this book before they get there. Although other ages would benefit and enjoy this book, this age group would benefit the most from reading this. The second most important audience would be high schoolers, as they could relate from themselves or friends and further learn how to help others through certain problems like drugs and alcohol abuse. Lastly, parents of young teens should look to read this book so they are aware of the risky behaviors teenagers can get themselves into and so that they can make precautions and talk to their children to prevent these dangerous behaviors.
As a teenager, I related to this story, knowing many people who get involved in many of these bad behaviors at a young age. I know it is very prominent in high school for kids to try drugs and use alcohol, not just every once in a while, but to the point where it becomes a real problem. It affects their relationships with people and God negatively. I also understand how many people peer pressure others into doing stuff that they normally wouldn’t, which is why we have to be careful in who we choose to be our friends, or in when we need to help them rather than listen to them. These behaviors will eventually lead to even worse things especially if people don’t realize they have a problem and don’t receive help from people close to them or God. What may seem like an innocent fun time can lead to serious problems and a disconnect in our faith lives.
What I enjoyed most about The Right Person was the constant drama surrounding every storyline. Each character had a unique relationship with one another that made conflict prominent, but also authentic. I didn’t need to question whether it made sense for a character to be mad at another person because each character’s motives and nature were expressed through dialogue and actions clearly. This is what made the drama more thrilling to read as I wanted to see if each character would have a change in heart and if they would make a change I wanted them to. Although the answer was normally no, it built up the drama to further levels, so that if someone finally had a change of heart it was even more satisfying. I also loved how some of these kids had long bible quotes memorized in their heads at such a young age, as it showed a great commitment to faith.
One major theme in the story is faith life. When things get difficult and struggles are at an all time high the best person to look to is God. We learn this especially through Courtney who was at her lowest, giving into peer pressure trying things she never would have even considered just a few months ago. She learns after her break up how far she’s from her best nature that God wants and she turns to him, knowing he’ll help. We also learn this well at the end of the story from John. He grew up Catholic and went to church all of the time, so he knows very well the power of God. Over the last year his relationship with God has almost completely fallen apart, but he realizes at the end of the book, how badly he needs him and how bad his actions and habits are now. He wants to change and only God can guide him through that change.
The main lesson I took away from Chris and Courtney’s story is that God brings us down the paths we are meant to go and that path will eventually show itself, even when we don’t expect it. I say this because Chris and Courtney dated for a couple months for opposite reasons. Chris to help himself get away from bad behaviors through a good influence on Courtney and Courtney to gain some popularity for herself entering a new high school scene. Their conflicting motives eventually drove them away from each other and made them realize they needed to break apart. However, in that break up they grew together, as Courtney realized how far she’d fallen off from her faith life and Chris learned how impactful faith can be on someone’s life. Faith is what he was so attracted to in Courtney and at the end of the book Chris goes to church believing in all God has to offer. On the other hand, Courtney has regained her realization of what is important in life, after being so blinded by the chaotic scene of entering high school. God solved their problems and although Courtney and Chris didn’t work together, they experienced tremendous growth from their relationship.
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 addiction?
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