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Samantha Waxman is a senior at Oliver Ames High School in Easton, MA. Some of her hobbies include cheering for her high school’s team, hanging out with friends, and spending time with her dog Rosie. Samantha’s favorite subject in school is history, and she is excited to start her senior year.

Samantha was asked a series of questions about young adult novel “The Battle for Innocence” by Stacy Padula, which is the 4th book in the Montgomery Lake High Series. Below are her responses.

Why is this book a helpful resource for teens?

This book is a helpful resource for teens because it sheds light on different sides of the teenage lifestyle. You can be more religious and low key or you can be a “party goer” and really enjoy that scene. Either way, it is very important to be your own person and not make choices based on other people. Know yourself and your limits no matter what setting. Throughout the book, you can see some people changing for others and it gives you the most uneasy feeling. The best way to make friends or relationships is to be yourself and show your true colors.

Who is your favorite character in this story and why?

My favorite character in this story is Jon. You get to see him in such an innocent light and I really like that side of him. You can tell how much he cared for Chantal even though she was going back and forth between him and Andy. I really liked how Jon approached the situations he was faced with and it could help some teens out there who are struggling with the same obstacles.

What was the most surprising thing about seeing the main characters’ lives in 7th grade?

I was surprised at how much relationships and dating meant to the majority of them. Of course not for Cathy, but they all seemed to like someone or already be dating. In 7th grade, a lot of the “relationships” are glorified friendships but they seemed to take it pretty seriously. Another thing that caught me off guard was the amount of drinking. In my opinion that is way too early to even look at a drink so I was taken back by it all and how they abused it in a sense.

Why is it important for readers to know the backstory shared in this novel?

It gives you a sense of who the characters used to be and how much they have changed due to certain obstacles or certain people. They are only freshman in the first couple of books but from 7th grade they really did change a lot.

 

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Jon Anderson and Chantal Kagelli are trying to live moral lives, but temptations are plaguing them in and out of school. Will they continue to be lights in their best friends’ lives or will they get pulled into the darkness?

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Written by Jenn Finnerty—Norwell, MA

The Right Person, by Stacy Padula, shows how a group of freshman at Montgomery Lake High face the challenges of high school. They go through dangerous situations and have to resist temptations. They realize what it is like to try to become popular and how you can lose friends easily. All of their situations are very relatable to many high school students.

The main character, Chris, realizes he has become dependent on drugs and alcohol and wants to change his actions, after being influenced by his new girlfriend, Courtney. While Chris is done partying, Courtney tries to fit in with his wild friends and finds herself going back on her morals in order to fit in and become popular.

The struggles in the novel are faced by many other high schoolers, and gives a good example of how to deal with struggles and how a student can change.

About Jenn Finnerty

Jenna Finnerty is a senior at Norwell High School in Norwell, Massachusetts. She is planning to major in nursing next year. Jenna has accrued years of experience as a cheerleader and gymnast. She also has a passion for traveling and looks forward to studying abroad in college.

Articles by Jenna:

Q&A on MLH #1 with Jenna Finnerty

About The Right Person

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The Right Person is the debut novel in The Montgomery Lake High Book Series, which follows a large cast of personalities as they navigate through the social waters of high school.
While Chris Dunkin’s parents travel freely for business, his older cousins Jordan and Taylor are left in charge. A parentless household provides the perfect venue for Jordan, a senior in high school, and Taylor, a junior in college, to throw parties that soon become infamous in Montgomery. After two years, Chris–donned “the life of the party” by his popular group of friends–begins high school with a responsibility to live up to his reputation. Deep down inside, however, he wants more than that.
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Written by Charlotte Silverman—Needham, Massachusetts

Montgomery Lake High #2: When Darkness Tries to Hide by Stacy A. Padula is a fantastic read for teens who are experiencing any type of obstacle. Specifically, those who are struggling with a tragedy, and are resorting to drugs or other violent tendencies. Many children struggle with challenges such as sick family or friends, death, or divorce. This novel describes how it is possible to see the light in even the most dreadful of situations and turn them into a positive experience. It also emphasizes the importance of not getting caught up in the negatives of something, and focusing on the positives.

It is also a great influence for teens who are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse. It emphasizes the negative effects and challenges of drug abuse and how it can cause something so destructive as fatal injury to you or someone else. The book also describes the possibility of overcoming drug addiction, and how even people who seem so perfect, such as pastors, can struggle with drug abuse. The book emphasizes the message of positivity and seeing the light in a dark situation. It also emphasizes the importance of being proactive and helping others, as well as being a contributive member to your community. Overall, I highly recommend this book for all teens. It provides great insight on appropriate ways to handle difficult times, and the importance of working together through tough situations.

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About Charlotte Silverman

Charlotte Silverman is a senior at Needham High School. At school, her favorite subjects include English, Biology, and Computer Science. Outside of school, she runs indoor and outdoor track, and loves spending time with friends and family. She looks forward to overcoming challenges and exploring new experiences during her senior year.

Read more articles by Charlotte:

Good for parents & teens: Montgomery Lake High #1!

About When Darkness Tries to Hide

A powerful supercell is spawning above Montgomery Lake High School, while a separate storm is brewing in its halls. The question is–which one should Cathy Kagelli, Jason Davids, and their friends fear the most?

About Stacy A. Padula

Stacy Padula, a native of Pembroke, Massachusetts, has accrued years of experience working with adolescents. She has been a mentor, life coach, youth group leader, and private educational consultant with extensive experience in the fields of college counseling, tutoring, standardized test preparation, and Christian counseling. She is the Founder and President of South Shore College Consulting & Tutoring based in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Stacy’s first novel, “The Right Person,” was published in 2010. At that time, she was the program director of JBG Educational Group: a company of about thirty educators who work closely with young adults and their families on everything under the academic blanket. She served as JBG’s program director/director of operations for multiple years and helped the founder/president develop many facets of the company, including curriculum. Throughout her time at JBG, she continued working on the Montgomery Lake High book series. Although the series is “young adult fiction,” it is closely based on realistic situations that high school students encounter.

In 2011, “When Darkness Tries to Hide” was published, followed by “The Aftermath” (Padula’s personal favorite) in 2013. In 2014, both “The Battle for Innocence” and “The Forces Within” were released, and in 2015, all five books hit the shelves of Barnes & Noble. For Stacy, it was a dream come true to see her books for sale in the popular, mainstream bookstore.

Stacy wrote the Montgomery Lake High books in the hopes of preparing teens to face the “war zone” that is high school—to help kids deal with the stress and peer pressure, and to encourage them to “steer a straight path, pursue God, and not fall for the false promises of the world.”

In her spare time, Stacy enjoys skiing, going to Bruins games, reading about Psychology, taking her dogs to the beach, and spending time with her family, fiancé, and friends.


Background: Stacy was a Presidential Scholar at Wentworth and on the Dean’s List. She attained tutoring certification in 2009 through The International Tutor Association. Additionally, she was featured in Who’s Who Among American High School Students (2001), Cambridge Who’s Who for Young Professionals (2009), and Marquis Who’s Who in America (2018). She was awarded the Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 and the Academic Achievement Award for having the highest GPA in Miss Teen Southern New England (2000). In 2016, Stacy was selected as a featured author for Barnes & Nobles’ Teen Book Festival, where she signed copies of her novels and interacted with young adult readers.


Stacy’s Mission Statement Video

 

Stacy Padula’s latest TV interview with BossLady News June 6, 2015

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Samantha is a senior at Oliver Ames High School in Easton, MA. Some of her hobbies include cheering for her high school’s team, hanging out with friends, and spending time with her dog Rosie. Samantha’s favorite subject in school is history, and she is excited to start her senior year.

Samantha read “The Aftermath” by Stacy Padula and was asked a series of questions about the novel. Her responses are below.

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

When reading the first book, I didn’t think much of Jason. He was the typical high school drug addict and honestly was made out to seem much worse than his true self. In The Aftermath, you could tell how willing he was to change his ways. Jason did something he never thought he would do. I personally think it was half for himself and half for Jessie. To prove to her and her father how much he has come from where he was. An addict. He even proved himself to me as reader that he is capable of changing and with the help of God anything is possible to him.

Who do you think could benefit from reading this book and why?

There are lots of ways you could benefit from this book. It shows how you can use your faith (like Jason) to overcome certain difficulties you thought you never could. You can fail before you get it right. I learned even in the darkest of times you still have your friends and family to guide you into the right path.

What message does this book send to readers?

This book shows readers that again, it is okay to fail and have dark times. You are allowed to go through the struggle just like everyone else. But, there is a point in time where you need to try and get out of that darkness. Jason has shown us that he is willing to do so with the help of his closest friends. Even if it is something you never thought you were capable of doing, reach out and ask for help.

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About The Aftermath

At age fifteen, Jason Davids appears to have nearly any worldly thing that promises enjoyment at his disposal. Despite this, there is a persistent emptiness inside his heart. After failing to fill the void with achievements, relationships, and illicit substances, Jason finds himself intrigued by Jessie Robins: the daughter of a local pastor. How is it possible that she stands for everything his lifestyle opposes yet possesses the one thing he has been searching for all along?

img_6649Rebecca is a junior at Brooklyn Technical High School in Brooklyn, New York. As a city kid, some of her hobbies include riding the subway and exploring the city with friends, making all kinds of art and traveling with her family and experiencing new and exciting things along the way.

Rebecca read “The Aftermath” by Stacy Padula, which is the third book in the Montgomery Lake High young adult book series. Afterwards, she was asked to answer some questions about the characters and plot in order to give potential readers some background on the novel.

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

In The Aftermath, we see jason make a great change in his life as compared to the way he was in the first book. I think that this change is certainly inspiring, as he makes the great but challenging switch from constantly partying and bullying peers to working on being kind and considerate, stopping his constant drug abuse, and turning to other outlets of happiness in his life. This change couldn’t have been easy, given both him and his older brothers have a certain “party animal” reputation to uphold, but he truly recognized that what he was doing was bad for him, both in the short turn and in the long run, and simply started from there. This is extremely inspiring and has made me see jason as a good example and role model for teens going through similar things.

Who do you think could benefit from reading this book and why?

I think that there are many different people who could benefit from reading this book. I think that kids like jason, who want to make a big switch in their lives, can use him as inspiration for their lifestyle change and reaffirmation that anything is possible and reputations / popularity dont matter if you are just going to be doing dangerous things with it. I also think that people who have friends like Jason could benefit from reading this book, because it can be a good example of how to be supportive in helping your friend through these difficult times.

What message does this book send to readers?

This book sends the message that anybody, regardless of reputation, can change, as long as they recognize what they are doing and are willing to fix it. Although Jason did have a strong bad boy reputation, he saw the light and knew what was good for him and what he wanted to do. With the help of his supportive friends, like Chris, he makes a change that many might have thought impossible at the beginning of the book. People can impress you, you just have to give them the time and patience they deserve to make a significant change.

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Article by Samantha Waxman, Easton, MA

The Aftermath by Stacy Padula is mainly focused in on one the characters, Jason. As you know, he is a little bit of the typical high school druggy. Throughout the book, he is stuck in his party ways. Constantly drinking and smoking until he comes to the realization that enough is enough. He explains his whole situation to Pastor Mark, which is surprising to say the least but, he gets a little more than expected from it.

This book shows readers that times may be tough but you need to push through. With the help of great friends and family supporting you, anything is possible. I believe this book is good for those readers that are struggling with something so similar. It could potentially make them realize this isn’t the path they should be going down. They could have a change of heart or way of life.

About Samantha

Samantha is a senior at Oliver Ames High School in Easton, MA. Some of her hobbies include cheering for her high school’s team, hanging out with friends, and spending time with her dog Rosie. Samantha’s favorite subject in school is history, and she is excited to start her senior year.

About The Aftermath

At age fifteen, Jason Davids appears to have nearly any worldly thing that promises enjoyment at his disposal. Despite this, there is a persistent emptiness inside his heart. After failing to fill the void with achievements, relationships, and illicit substances, Jason finds himself intrigued by Jessie Robins: the daughter of a local pastor. How is it possible that she stands for everything his lifestyle opposes yet possesses the one thing he has been searching for all along?

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Written by Rebecca Ronning, New York, NY

High school is supposed to be an open space of learning and change, where you are meant to respect and support your peers, no matter what they may be going through. Unfortunately, it is not always like this. People tend to judge others based on prior reputations, social status, looks, pretty much everything you could think of to separate one crowd, one person from another. “The Aftermath” by Stacy Padula represents party animal Jason David’s’ experience with trying to change for the better in the extremely restricting environment of Montgomery Lake High.

In “The Aftermath,” Jason takes a step back to look at his life and analyze what he does on a daily basis. At 15 years old, Jason is a popular jock, who gets good grades, but most importantly, loves partying. He recognizes that this constant party lifestyle is dangerous at such a young age, and decides to make a switch in his mindset. He soon realizes that because of his reputation, some might be skeptical of the possibility of his transformation. Throughout the book, Jason is tested with rumors and temptation, but he comes out victorious and serves as a good example to not only his friends, but to those who didn’t believe he could do it.

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About Rebecca Ronning

Rebecca is a junior at Brooklyn Technical High School in Brooklyn, New York. As a city kid, some of her hobbies include riding the subway and exploring the city with friends, making all kinds of art and traveling with her family and experiencing new and exciting things along the way.

About The Aftermath

At age fifteen, Jason Davids appears to have nearly any worldly thing that promises enjoyment at his disposal. Despite this, there is a persistent emptiness inside his heart. After failing to fill the void with achievements, relationships, and illicit substances, Jason finds himself intrigued by Jessie Robins: the daughter of a local pastor. How is it possible that she stands for everything his lifestyle opposes yet possesses the one thing he has been searching for all along?

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Review of “The Right Person” by Stacy Padula

Written by Sophia Tufankjian of Duxbury, Massachusetts

The book The Right Person by Stacy Padula is one that reflects the hardships and choices throughout high school. The desire to fit in and be popular leads to many poor choices within the book. Obstacles such as partying, drugs, and alcohol use characterize the novel. The characters are faced with choosing whether to party to fit in or follow their hearts and do what they know is right. Throughout the book you meet many characters who are changed and define themselves by the decisions they have chosen to make.

The two main characters in the story are Courtney Angeletti and Chris Dunkin. Courtney is first known as being the perfect mayor’s daughter, while Chris is remembered for his crazy parties. When these two become  a couple their influences on each other cause them to switch roles. Chris realizes he is letting his life go to waste and stops wanting to attend parties, drinking, and doing drugs. On the other hand, Courtney has become completely wrapped up in her newfound popularity and will do anything it takes to fit in. With the help of God these characters struggle to get their lives on track.

This book informs you of the difficulties faced throughout high school and provides many life lessons. This story is relatable to any high school and something many students can connect with. It is a quick and easy read that will have you on the edge of your seat. I highly recommend this to any high school students or soon to be high school students. There are many things you can take away from this book that could even help guide you in your own life.


Sophia Tufunkjian is a senior at Duxbury High School. Some of her hobbies include volunteering, being involved in her church, and writing. She plans to study business or communications in college.


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Learn More about the Montgomery Lake High Book Series

About the Author

 

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Jenna Finnerty is a senior at Norwell High School in Norwell, Massachusetts. She is planning to major in nursing next year. Jenna has accrued years of experience as a cheerleader and gymnast. She also has a passion for traveling and looks forward to studying abroad in college.

Jenna was asked to read the first book in Stacy Padula’s Montgomery Lake High book series “The Right Person” and answer questions about the novel. Below are her responses.


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Q. What do you believe influenced Courtney to turn away from her morals in order to feel accepted?

A. Teenagers are so easily influenced and want to fit in. People conform to things much easier if they see other people around them doing similar things. If young girls, including Courtney, do things they feel are “cool” that other people around them do, they feel that they will become popular and will be accepted more. To most high schoolers, the one thing they want is popularity. Therefore, they will do everything they can to reach their goal, even if it goes against their morals.

Q. What is one major theme you noticed running through the story?

A. A major theme I noticed throughout the story was the importance of friendship and the way it affects people’s behaviors. Courtney gained a whole new group of friends that led totally different lifestyles than her previous friends. She began attending parties, drinking, and was in the presence of drugs more often. Her previous friends were avid church goers and seemingly innocent girls. The change in Courtney’s friends brought to light a clear change in her personality as she began doing the same things her new friends were doing and abandoned her old friends.

Q. How do you, as a teenager, personally relate to this story?

A. I relate to this story because I realize I have changed over the course of high school. Freshman year I really wanted to have a lot of friends and be liked around the school. I realized I did not fit in with the “popular” girls and eventually realized I was happy with the friends I had. As high school continued, my friends changed, along with my personality. Different from Courtney, I do not think my friends negatively influenced me. If anything, they changed me for the better and made me the happy, outgoing person I am.

 

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What can be learned by the way Chris treats Jason in this book? 

The way that Chris treats Jason in this book teaches the reader that much can be forgiven and people can grow and change for the better, and that the best way to foster said growth is through support, patience, and understanding. It is understood from the last book that Chris and Jason didn’t leave on very good terms, due to Jason not being too accepting of Chris’s new ideals. Throughout “When Darkness Tries to Hide,” however, Chris was patient with jason and did his best to support him, because he understands that is what friends do for eachother.

How did your opinion of Jason change as you read the story?

I think that Jason changed for the better when he came to realize the good that having faith in something can bring into your life. It is important to recognize that everybody can benefit from some sort of grounding thing that they can go back to when they feel like they are getting a little bit out of control. Jason, being only a freshman in high school, is certainly making the, while difficult, smart choice in looking to find an outlet instead of abusing drugs at such a young age.

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? 

The last chapter represents Jason and his coming into light, realizing that living a life in darkness is not truly living. Jason had previously lived in darkness, and found comparing himself to others to justify his actions easier than really confronting himself and realizing that what he was doing would only bring temporary joy. Jason’s breakthrough in the final chapter was brought about by recognizing that putting his effort into something positive made him feel better than doing drugs. It brought him closer with his friends, family, and with his religion, and he was extremely thankful for that.

What positive message does this book convey to readers?

This book is a good reminder that people change, and that even just coming to the conclusion that you are not content with the way you treat yourself or others is an imperative step in making a much bigger change in your overall lifestyle

 

Learn More about When Darkness Tries to Hide
Other Books by Stacy Padula