Posts Tagged ‘alcohol’


High School can be a difficult time in one’s life and presents unfamiliar situations and temptations that challenge one’s morals. Parties, peer pressure, and popularity can become an attraction and lead students away from God. The Right Person, by Stacy Padula, tells the story of a group of freshmen at Montgomery Lake High as they confront these same obstacles faced as many other high school students around the world.

The story focuses mainly on Chris: an athletic, partier who has spent the past two years reliant on alcohol and drugs. As freshman year begins, Chris finds himself becoming tiresome of his partying ways and looking for something more. He is influenced by his new girlfriend Courtney; a girl who is firm on her morals and opposition to drugs and alcohol. Courtney, however, intrigued by this new surrounding becomes absorbed into the party scene of Chris’ friends and sacrifices her values to fit in.

This book depicts the struggles many kids encounter during their high school years through the eyes of compelling characters. I recommend this book to both students currently in high school and middle schoolers preparing for these tricky years. It is a reminder of God’s presence in our lives and the importance of seeking strength through him in times of uncertainty.

-Kelly Mitchell, Newton Country Day School Class of 2018


The Montgomery Lake High Book Series

By Max Alva

Kids have a lot of questions… that is no secret! But someone has a haunting secret (and plethora of questions) bound within the pages of When Darkness Tries to Hide by Stacy Padula. When Darkness Tries to Hide is the thrilling second book in the young adult fiction series Montgomery Lake High. The story takes place in a fictional town in western Massachusetts. Jason Davids and Chris Dunkin take the lead roles in this intriguing book, but Chantal Kagelli and Jon Anderson also play central parts.

When Darkness Tries to Hide reads like a movie reel across your mind. You get to see how a bunch of characters think, instead of just being trapped in one person’s mindset. The story begins two months after where the first book, The Right Person, left off. The main problem in this book is that Chantal’s boyfriend, Andy, is in a coma, and Jason feels responsible for the accident that landed him there. The hail is pelting down. The lightning is a spider web across the sky. Lady, Chantal’s golden retriever, is nowhere to be found. Andy is outside in the ominous storm searching for her. As far as Jason is concerned, he should have been outside saving Lady from the tornado-spawning storm. Instead Andy is sent into a coma, and Jason into a world of dismay. “He had not slept a wink in thirty-seven hours. He glanced at his clock again, seven twenty. You can do this Jason, he said to himself. Just get up and go. Go tell them the truth. Tell everyone at Alyssa’s party that you found Andy’s body. Tell them that he looked dead. Tell them about the horror in Chantal’s eyes when she came rushing up the stairs. Make sure you tell them that it is all your fault.” (page 22) No one knows about Andy’s accident until Jason spreads the news at Alyssa Kelly’s party the following evening. At the party, Jason seeks out his ex-best friend, Chris Dunkin, to confide in. Chris lends Jason an ear, even though Jason has been spreading slanderous rumors about Chris around Montgomery Lake High ever since Chris turned away from drugs, alcohol, and their group of friends two months prior. At the party, Jason and Chris come up with a plan to help Andy and unite the students at Montgomery Lake High. However, no one—not even Chris—knows Jason’s secret about the day of the storm.

I recommend When Darkness Tries to Hide to all teenagers, even ones who have not read the first book in the series. I especially recommend this book to people who are going through hard times, and people who have issues with drugs and alcohol. I give this book four and a half stars! It deserves such a high rating because it has a very interesting idea running all the way through it that keeps the reader fascinated with the story, even after they have finished the book. The ending leaves you wanting to know what happens next and trying to imagine what the third book in the series will bring. I think it should be made into a movie, or a TV series! When Darkness Tries to Hide is filled with answers to those tough questions often asked by kids and teenagers!


To my readers:

Tonight, I am feeling very thankful and honored to be 1 of the 4 authors selected, out of 5,000, to be featured on the home page of my publisher’s website. To be chosen as a face of the company that has helped so many authors make their dreams come true and to know that the team you work with believes in you/your mission is incredible. Thank you SBPRA for encouraging me in my endeavors! I am very excited to continue writing books that inspire young adults to not only find their place in this world but also achieve personal fulfillment.  –Stacy

The Aftermath On sale today at Barnes & Noble and

The Aftermath follows Jason Davids’ journey of self-discovery, as he tries to overcome a destructive lifestyle. Jason, a high school freshman, has been caught up in drug use for the past two years. After a natural disaster strikes his town and lands one of his classmates in a coma, Jason feels responsible for the tragedy, attributing the magnitude of the accident to his own drug problem. As he tries to navigate through his mixed emotions, struggle with faith, and the influences of his older brothers and peers, Jason finds himself entangled in an enigmatic situation with a mysterious girl from his school. She appears to hold the secret to the freedom that Jason so desperately desires. As a series of unexpected events entwine their paths, Jason begins seeing his life from a new perspective.

The Aftermath, a redemption story, encourages teenagers to be true to their moral convictions, even when that entails swimming against the current.

Stacy A. Padula, a native of Pembroke, Massachusetts, is the director of operations at JBG Educational Group, a company that works closely with young adults and their families on everything under the academic blanket. She mentors her students and guides them through not only academic, but also social and emotional hardships. She wrote The Aftermath in the hopes of helping teens triumph over the “war zone” that is high school. She is also the author of the Montgomery Lake High book series, which addresses social issues such as bullying, substance abuse, faith, and self-acceptance. Available at Barnes & Noble and

Read more about “The Aftermath” at Barnes & Noble and

Below is a preview of “The Aftermath” – to be released this fall:


Jason Davids glanced at his bedroom clock. Seven nineteen. Twenty-four hours had passed since one of the darkest moments of his life. He sighed and fell back on his unmade bed. He curled into the fetal position and tried with all of his might to will the horrifying image out of his mind.

He had not slept a wink in thirty-seven hours. He glanced at his clock again. Seven twenty. You can do this Jason, he urged himself silently. Just get up and go. Go tell them the truth. Tell everyone at Alyssa’s party that you found Andy’s body. Tell them that he looked dead. Tell them about the horror in Chantal’s eyes when she came rushing up the stairs. Make sure you tell them that it is entirely your fault.

Jason heard a loud knock on his bedroom door. “Jay-Dawg, you ready?” Luke’s voice cried out. “We have to pick up Laurelle and Missy on the way,” he added as he whipped open the door.

Jason sat up in his bed and rested his head in his hands. “Yeah,” he replied to his older brother. “I’m good.”

“You’re going to Alyssa’s party in a t-shirt and sweat pants?” Luke asked as he sat down at Jason’s desk and stared at him with amusement.

“Oh,” Jason said and glanced down at his attire. The thought of getting dressed had not even occurred to him. “No, I guess I’m not.”

Luke laughed. “What drug are you on right now?” he questioned him.

“None,” Jason stated flatly and stared blankly at his feet.

“Then what the heck is wrong with you?” Luke asked.

Jason shrugged.

“All right, well, get dressed and come downstairs when you’re ready,” Luke said, eyeing Jason with a look of concern.

Jason nodded slightly.

“Did you sleep last night?” Luke pressed him.

“No,” Jason admitted quietly.

 “You and Cathy all right?” Luke asked, holding his stare on Jason.

Jason shrugged.

“Well, freshen up. I’ll see you in a few,” Luke stated. He tossed something at Jason as he exited the room.

Lifelessly, Jason glanced at the minuscule bag that had landed beside him on his bed. If he had the energy, his eyes would have protruded from his face in horror. “You have got to be kidding me, Luke,” he heaved, shaking his head in dismay. He flung the bag onto his floor, fell back on his bed, and closed his eyes. You can do this, Jason. Just get dressed and get out the door, right now. Bring out the charm and the plastic smile. Forget what Cathy said. Just get up and face the facts. You’ve made a mess of a good person’s life. You have to tell them the truth. It doesn’t matter what Cathy wants. Andy is all that matters now.



Chapter 1


(Three Weeks Later)

It sounded like a train coming toward him, but there was not a train in sight. A flash of light shot through the room—the capsule. Was this a time warp? Or, perhaps, a flashback?  Running—more running without getting anywhere. “No, Chantal! Stop!” he screamed. His words froze in the air.

She could not hear him. Time was running out. She was running toward the staircase with her long auburn hair flowing into Jason’s face. Watching, he knew that she was not going to make it before the trembling began. She fell over before he could reach her. Once again, he had let her down.

The light flickered, and he struggled to remain standing. He reached the stairs, but did not stop by Chantal’s side. The door ahead looked like a castle wall—a barricade. The other side held the destruction. The other side possessed the danger. This door—his enemy—was keeping them safe.

“Jason, don’t!” Cathy’s voice cried out. She did not sound like his fifteen year old girlfriend; she sounded like a hissing demon.

He latched onto the doorknob as it transformed into a vault. It looked like his locker. His mind was blank. I can make this right, he thought. He pressed his hand to the door. It was a glacier. Water began trickling through his fingertips. He felt completely alone. A crackling sound above caught his attention. Wake up, Jason! he screamed at himself. Wake up before you see him. Not again.

In an instant, Andy’s pale face appeared through the water. Jason’s heart pounded. “Trade places with me!” Jason pleaded as he reached out toward Andy. There was a crash, and then Andy was gone.

Breathing heavily, with sweat dripping down his forehead, Jason shot his large blue eyes wide open. “Again? Really?” he said aloud in the stillness of his dark bedroom. He brought his hand to his chest and breathed in deeply. He turned toward his alarm clock. Three thirty-three a.m. It had been three weeks since the storm had struck Montgomery, since Andy had slipped into a coma and since Jason had realized that he was living in a cloud of darkness.

* * *

Later that evening, Jason sat upon the bleachers behind Montgomery Lake High School, leaning back comfortably and paying little attention to the JV football game in front of him. Surrounded by the popular MLH underclassmen, Jason continuously yelled obscenities at everyone who was not his friend. As usual, this caused obnoxious laughter to erupt from the crowd and embarrassment to burn within the innocent passerby.  Each time Jason got a reaction out of someone, his friends gave him props, which only egged on his tactless behavior. 

“Yo, dude! Is Luke really dating Missy Kent?” Nick Chandler, a sophomore, asked Jason. “I’ve heard some things.”

Jason shrugged carelessly. “I have no idea, dude,” he replied after taking a sip of vodka and Sprite from his soda bottle.

“Your brother’s the man, dude. Seriously,” Nick stated and slapped Jason’s hand before walking over to a group of junior girls.

Jason glanced toward the field. Where’s my boy? he thought as he shot his eyes from left to right, looking for Chris Dunkin. Coach Mitchell wouldn’t rest his star running back—not against Lincoln North. Jason looked toward the scoreboard. 7 to 3, us. Glancing back at the field, he saw Bobby Ryan throw a long pass toward the end zone. There he is. He catches; he runs; he scores! “Woot! Woot!!” Jason yelled loudly as the band began playing MLH’s touchdown song. Jason turned to slap hands with Bryan Sartelli. “If Chris had gotten sober before tryouts then he probably would have made varsity,” Jason commented beneath his breath as he turned back toward the field. “My brother should pull him up.”

“Let’s go back to Luke’s car. I need a refill,” Bryan said. He waved his empty coke bottle in the air, stealing Jason’s attention away from the field. “I don’t get many nights like this, without ‘you-know-who’,” he added and rolled his hazel-brown eyes. Jason assumed that Bryan was referring to his overbearing girlfriend—the mayor’s daughter—Courtney Angeletti.

“Ha!” Jason laughed as he rose from the bleachers. “Let’s peace-out. Luke wanted to go to Samson’s anyway. You can do a lot more than booze out of a soda bottle with that crew.”

“All right. See you guys later,” Bryan called loudly and nodded toward the large group that they had been sitting with.

“Yeah, later,” Jason said as he glanced at the field before descending the bleachers. 

“Let’s grab Anderson,” Bryan suggested.

“Where is that kid? I haven’t seen him since we got here,” Jason asked as he paused to peer through the crowd.

“There he is!” Bryan called out.

Jason followed Bryan’s gaze and spotted Jon standing behind the cheerleaders with Katherine Rossi. “Ha! Of course he’s talking to type-A-quality. He never lets us down.”

 “He’s so sweating that girl,” Bryan said with a laugh as he stepped in front of Jason.

“He’s ridiculous to think that he has a chance with her,” Jason stated. “She’s here trying to watch her boyfriend play, and Jon’s here trying to score points of his own.”

Bryan shook his head and laughed. “He’s the champ! I wouldn’t discredit the possibility.”

“Tru-dat,” Jason sang and flicked the visor of Alyssa Kelly’s baseball hat as he passed by her.

“Hey, guys!” she cried out with a bright smile. “Where are you headed?” She was sitting beside Marielle Kayne, who was wearing Chris’ football sweatshirt.

“Oh, hey,” Bryan said as he turned to face the girls. “I didn’t see you there.”

“Hi,” Marielle said quietly. Jason noted the suspicious expression on her face as she glanced at Bryan’s empty soda bottle.

“We’re grabbing Jon and then heading out with my brother,” Jason stated and nodded toward Jon. “What are you ladies up to tonight?”

“You’re not staying to watch the game?” Marielle asked. “Chris is playing so hard out there!”

 “Obviously!” Jason exclaimed. “He’s winning the game for us. I don’t need to watch the whole thing. I have faith my boy will pull through.” Jason turned away from Marielle and took a sip of his drink.

“We’ll catch you girls later,” Bryan said as he jumped down a row of bleachers. “Have a good one.”

Jason waved goodbye, without making eye contact with either of the girls, and followed Bryan down the rest of the bleachers.