An Interview with Pembroke High School’s Bella Gill on “When Darkness Tries to Hide” by Stacy A. Padula

| Written by Bella Gill, Pembroke, Massachusetts |

Meet Bella Gill

Bella is a junior at Pembroke High School in Pembroke, Massachusetts.  She is a midfielder for the South Shore Select 2006 Girls Academy Soccer Team and is headed to the National Finals in St. Louis this summer.  She is also a midfielder for the Pembroke High School Girls Varsity soccer team.  Additionally, Bella is the vice-president of her class, a member of the Pembroke High School Yearbook staff and assistant coaches a U10 girls soccer team. Bella enjoys traveling with her family and friends, skiing, reading, babysitting, and working in the local office of a gastroenterologist. Bella’s favorite subjects include English, History, and Model UN.  She hopes to study abroad in Europe in college. 

After reading “Montgomery Lake High #2: When Darkness Tries to Hide” by Stacy Padula, Bella was interview on her opinion of the characters and the story.

  1. Who could benefit from reading this book?

I think most people could certainly benefit from reading this book. Most readers could relate to the plot and pinpoint someone in their life who is also struggling. Everyone can understand the concept of smart and good people making a bad decision and then losing themself. Although it may appeal to teens the most, I think any age group could learn something from this story. 

  1. What positive messages does this book convey to readers?

When Darkness Tries to Hide conveys a variety of positive messages to readers. The message that stuck out to me the most was how important it is to support those around you who are going through a difficult period in their life. The level of support that a community or friend group shows to an individual is necessary and important. 

  1. Why should teens read this book?

Teens should read this book because it focuses on easily relatable subjects such as friendship, peer pressure, addiction, and uncomfortable party scenes. The different teenage perspectives are similar to those of actual high school students so it is interesting and enjoyable to read as a teen. It also teaches a number of crucial life lessons. 

  1. How has your opinion of Jason changed since reading the first MLH book?

My opinion of Jason has completely flipped since reading the first MLH book. At the start I thought Jason was extremely selfish and was a bad influence to his friends. As the story continued I learned that he was unaware of how to stop his negative influence and felt like he had lost himself. He hated his behavior but did not know how to change. I began to feel bad for Jason due to his addiction and lack of happiness. 

  1. A main theme of this story is the battle between the dark and the light. When one is in darkness, he or she cannot see anything clearly. How does the last chapter relate to the events of the story and the theme of light vs. darkness?

Throughout the ending of the book, you are able to see Jason emerging into his own period of lightness through his realization that his life has been in the dark this entire time. His previous actions of comparing himself and his problems to others forced him to be hidden in the darkness. In the final chapter he was finally able to see that when he put work into something and got out a positive outcome it made him feel happier than any drug could. This realization strengthened his relationships with his friends, family, and religion.


Students at Montgomery Lake High believe the ominous clouds and impending storm will only bring a temporary interruption to their regularly scheduled lives. However, when the tempest grows worse and a classmate’s life hangs in the balance, students must pull together to support each other and seek help for their friend. As the lines between cliques dissolve, dark secrets are revealed and hearts are transformed.

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.