Posts Tagged ‘book series’

Rebecca Ronning, New York, NY

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.


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

Having two years of high school experience in my back pocket, I can certainly say that I know what it is like to be confused and trying to find a group that you fit into, without being pressured to change yourself. Going into High School without really having anybody from my old school with me was certainly difficult. I wanted to be accepted by my peers, but I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about that without completely changing myself. Thankfully, I figured out that a really easy way to make friends is to join clubs or teams for things that you are really interested in, so you already have something in common with the people that you meet.

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

The transition from middle to high school  is typically a very difficult, and having to find a group of friends to stick with for your high school career certainly doesn’t help. Nobody wants to be left out, and it’s common to want to associate with the “cool kids,” in a vain effort to maintain some sort of social status. Many will go to great lengths in order to be accepted in these groups, like Courtney did, including being tempted by your peers into doing things you know are morally wrong.

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

One major theme I noticed throughout the story was that it is important to find a group of friends who likes you for  who you are, not simply because you fit within their status quo. . For example, when Chris decided that he didn’t want to go to Jason’s party, much less throw one of his own, most of his friends got mad at him. The fact that the moment Chris started to reject these antics, he was essentially kicked out of the group, just proves that this group is strung together by nothing more than a shared love of partying, all of whom provide little support for their peers feelings (which is very important to have when experiencing something as tough as your first year of High School).

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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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Providing a teen’s perspective on Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person, Caroline Forbes is about to begin her senior year at Needham High School in Needham, Massachusetts…
What do you believe influenced Courtney to turn away from her morals in order to feel accepted?

I believe tht Courtney turned from her morals because she wanted to experience high school with a carefree and crazy outlook, just like the other freshman she was around. Clearly this is thanks to Chris’ bad influence as well. Courtney also may have turned away from her morals in order to impress Chris, and to even be more like him.

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

The theme that often came up while reading was a coming of age/growth. Especially in Chris’ case, he begins to grow as a teenager, and realizes that he must mature in order to become successful later in life. Chris’ growth is also thanks to Courtney’s strict religious morals, making him shape up in order to stay with her.

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

A. I relate to this story personally because sometimes in the past I have tried changing myself in order to fit in with other groups of girls. I would do things that I didn’t feel comfortable doing just so I could fit in with a group of girls that weren’t like me, even though I wanted to be like them.

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Other Articles by Caroline Forbes
The Right Person
Starting high school and becoming a young adult can present many challenges and difficult choices. At this time, you are trying to find yourself and choose what kind of person you want to be. The Right Person, by Stacy Padula, tells the story about a group of incoming high school freshman at Montgomery Lake High School. Alcohol, peer pressure, and partying causes lots of drama and decisions throughout the book, which relates to many high schoolers today.

The story focuses on Courtney, a religious, good girl who begins to break her morals when she starts dating party-crazy Chris. Although, Courtney’s religious values start rubbing off on Chris, and he begins to want something more than just drinking and partying in his life. The opposite begins the happen to Courtney, as she begins to wonder about the partying lifestyle, and starts to lean farther away from her stern morals.

I recommend this book too pre-teens and teenagers who will begin to go through these troubling years soon. Seeing Courtney and Chris’ point of view on entering high school is a good way to prepare yourself. Sticking to your morals is a huge lesson throughout the novel, as well as trying to change your bad habits when entering a new environment.

– Caroline Forbes, Needham High School Class of 2019

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Other Books in the MLH Series

 

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Review of “The Battle for Innocence”

Written by Max Alva – Drexel University Class of 2020
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“Jon Anderson’s heart pounded heavily against his chest as he opened Chris Dunkin’s front door. He had walked through that door thousands of times before, but never during one of Taylor Dunkin’s ‘ragers.’ As Jon stepped into Chris’s living room, the odor of beer besieged his nostrils. Chris’s home—the normally calm spot, perfect for watching Patriot’s games—resembled a whirlwind.” In The Battle for Innocence by Stacy A. Padula, a Young Adult/Realistic Fiction novel, the main character, Jon Anderson, is thrown into just what the quote above says: a whirlwind. The story is set in western Massachusetts, and is a back-story to the Montgomery Lake High book series.
Jon, a seventh grader at Montgomery Lake Middle School, is the only Christian in his group of friends. As a result of the wild parties thrown by his best friend’s older cousin, Jon fears his closest friends are getting pulled into a world of temptation. He is stuck in an emotional battle, torn between pulling away from them and staying as a good influence in their lives. “‘God help me,’ Jon muttered aloud, hurdling over a large rock that lay at the edge of the lake. My heart is filled with conflict. I don’t want to separate myself from my friends. I don’t want to give up on them. I know you can change them. I know they don’t have to follow Taylor Dunkin’s path. Please intervene…I can’t abandon them. They need me. I love them. Please put someone in my life that can hold me accountable. I just want a Christian friend who will be able to understand my struggles.”
Meanwhile, Jon’s friend from church, Chantal Kagelli, finds herself in a similar dilemma across town. Chantal, a seventh grader at Sterling Middle School, has more than just one boy chasing after her. While her Class President, Andy, is trying to win her over with notes, cookies, and all the right words, her heart is aching over her interest in Jon. Chantal is petrified of her feelings for Jon, and decides that she should try to fight them off by getting closer to Andy. Despite many warnings from her twin sister that Andy could be a bad influence in her life, Chantal decides that it is more important to shine as a good influence in Andy’s life than to worry about the dangerous path he could take her down. Chantal finds herself in a whirlwind of her own, as she learns a life-changing lesson about the teenage world outside of church! The Battle for Innocence is filled with realistic party scenes and tempting situations that teenagers face during middle school and high school. The way the book is written allows readers to get inside Jon and Chantal’s heads and relate to their internal battles.
Out of all of Stacy A. Padula’s books that I have read, The Battle for Innocence is my favorite. It overflows with valuable background information about the main characters of the Montgomery Lake High series that makes the characters even more relatable and dynamic. I recommend this book to anyone age eleven and up. It has a lot of strong messages about peer pressure and making good decisions. I think anyone who has read the Montgomery Lake High books should read The Battle for Innocence to gain a deeper understanding of how Jon, Chris, and their friends got into so much trouble at such young ages. To learn more about the causes of teenage substance abuse and the gateway to addiction join Jon and Chantal in their battle for innocence.
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Model & Actress Stacey Queripel

February 14, 2018—by Stacy Padula
When my first book was published in 2010, I desired to bring my friends into the project by using their pictures to represent my characters. For four years, I did just that. However, when newer editions of my books were released, my publisher opted to feature models whom their designers could use for covers and book trailers, etc. Today, one familiar face remains: Stacey Queripel.
Stacey, my best friend from college, has a degree in civil engineering and a career in the entertainment industry. She has spent the last ten years building up her resume as a model and an actress. She has modeled for companies such as Reebok, Life is Good, TJX, New Balance, Helen of Troy, Braun, Baby’s Journey, and many others. Below is her updated acting reel.  I am excited to feature Stacey as a character in my life’s work: the Montgomery Lake High Book Series.
In my novels, Stacey portrays Michelle Taylor: a highly respected senior at Montgomery Lake High. Michelle can be found mentoring younger girls and tearing down social walls of division. She is a unifier. Although my characters are not based on real people, Michelle and Stacey’s kind and outgoing personalities align very well. Simply put, Stacey is one of the most loving people I know, and I am blessed to have her as not only a model for my book series, but also a dear friend.

The Main Characters of Montgomery Lake High

 

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What has been one of the hardest things to write?

One of the most difficult things I have done as an author, is write a back cover synopsis for my fourth book, The Aftermath. This story is my favorite of all the books I have written, and it has been a continuous challenge to represent 169 pages of my heart and soul in a simple, paragraph-long description. Within the pages of this book exist so many of my own thoughts, discoveries, and realizations that it is impossible for me to convey to readers or listeners the true essence of The Aftermath in any summation. While below is my latest attempt at trying to communicate the main idea of the story, it fails to capture the deep soul-searching, logical analysis, and honest self-reflection that ensues when one sets off on a quest, such as Jason’s, for self-discovery.

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Can faith and reason co-exist? Every day, teenagers are faced with difficult situations that challenge their faith and moral compass. The Aftermath follows a group of students from Montgomery Lake High School, specifically Jason Davids and Jessie Robins. At age fifteen, Jason appears to have it all together: high grades, popular friends, a beautiful girlfriend, and any drug that promises enjoyment at his disposal. Despite this, there is a persistent emptiness inside his heart. After attempting to fill the void with achievements, relationships, and illicit substances, Jason finds himself intrigued by Jessie, a quiet and rather plain girl, who is the daughter of a local pastor. How is it possible that she stands for everything Jason opposes yet possesses the one thing he has been searching for all along?

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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

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The Montgomery Lake High Book Series

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Written by Charlotte Moynihan, NCDS Class of 2018

The Right Person, the first book in the Montgomery Lake High book series by Stacy Padula, chronicles the difficulties faced all too commonly by high school students. As the story follows a group of friends – some new, some old – as they navigate the beginnings of freshman year, the reader is quickly drawn to two of the main characters, Courtney and Chris.

All throughout middle school and even the summer leading up to ninth grade, Courtney is a person of integrity and great faith. She has no issue standing up for her religious beliefs and saying no to the peer pressure to indulge in drugs and alcohol. However, like many new high schoolers, Courtney is drawn away from her convictions and swept into the world of popularity and the pressures of fitting in. Consumed with the desire to be liked by her new boyfriend Chris and his party going friends, Courtney abandons everything that she once stood for. Chris, on the other hand, begins the story as a diehard party goer and is rarely sober. However, upon reflection on his own life Chris begins to see God in his life again – not through his own actions, but the influence another person has on his life.

This story very accurately details the pressures teenagers face and the feeling that fitting in and loving God may not seem to go together. I think many high schoolers, especially those feeling consumed by the constant social pressure, will be able to relate to the ups and downs the characters in The Right Person face. Their struggles with the sudden prevalence of drugs and alcohol in Montgomery Lake is very real to new high schoolers suddenly faced with these difficult choices. I would recommend this book to all teenagers, but especially those struggling with drug or alcohol abuse or those who feel they might be at risk of future abuse.

  
The Kindle version of “The Aftermath” is on sale this week for only $3.99! Click here to purchase at a discount or start reading a sample for free. 

Fun Fact: 

Switchfoot lyrics were a huge inspiration to the plot of this story. 

Synopsis: 

For the past two years, Jason Davids has lived a charmed life. Blessed with good looks, a popular girlfriend, quick wit, and a wealthy family, Jason has everything he could want–but everything is not enough. There is emptiness–something unsettled in his soul. Partying, drugs, sex, and alcohol provide temporary relief, but the haunting emptiness always returns once he is sober. He can’t stand being sober. When a tornado strikes his town, Jason’s drug dependency puts one of his classmates, Andy Rosetti, in danger. After Andy is taken away on a stretcher, the guilt and regret that Jason feels lead him to a paradoxical place of darkness and illumination. Jason soon realizes that there is more than one life at risk in Montgomery and a stronger force at work than nature. 

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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!