Posts Tagged ‘Dover-Sherborn high school’

Joanna Dakoyannis
Dover-Sherborn High School
Class of 2020

The second book in the MLH series, When Darkness Tries to Hide, is a riveting story that continues to follow a group of high school teens through their lives. When a tragedy strikes their group of friends, it causes many of them to take a step back and re-evaluate their recent actions and behaviors. The story demonstrates how impactful our actions, both good and bad can be on others around us.  

When Darkness Tries to Hide also reinforces how important faith and friendship can be to teens, especially when they are in a period of personal turmoil. The book displays the importance of persistence in pursuing faith, even when you feel at your lowest. Likewise, taking just a small amount of time to support people you care about can make a life-changing difference as is illustrated through Chris and Jason’s relationship throughout the book. I would highly recommend When Darkness Tries to Hide to anyone.

Although the book’s storyline focuses on the challenges that teens face in high school, its lessons are applicable to anyone struggling with something in their life.  The story is also very eye-opening in terms of discussing alcohol and prescription drug addiction. Reading the story of this group of friends shows that these vices are more commonplace than we might realize and can make us more aware of the dangers that they pose. This is definitely a must read!!

  Montgomery Lake High #2: 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?
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$3.99 Kindle | $10.50 Paperback
About Joanna Dakoyannis

Joanna Dakoyannis is a junior at Dover-Sherborn High School. She enjoys creative writing, traveling, going to the gym, running track for her high school team and loves cheering on the team at school sporting events. She plans to be a science major in college and hopes to eventually attend dental school.

Articles by Joanna:

An Exceptional Book I Recommend to Teens & Preteens

Q&A with Joanna Dakoyannis on “The Right Person” by Stacy Padula

When Darkness Tries To Hide is another book by author Stacy Padula that aims to help teenagers navigate the trials and tribulations of high school. I think that all types of teenagers would benefit from reading this book. Although this book is based on faith and how it can help people escape the painful clutches of addiction, teenagers who are both struggling with addiction or suspect that a friend may be struggling would benefit from the book. Additionally, a main part of this story’s plot is how a community comes together to support a young boy, Andy, who had been injured in an accident; this book would also portray to high schoolers the importance of doing everything you can to help someone that is in need.

One of the main characters in When Darkness Tries To Hide is Jason, who struggles with drug addiction. Throughout the story, Jason feels guilty about what happened to his friend Andy and believes that if he had not been under the influence of drugs when the accident happened, he could have helped Andy. Jason begins to realize that this addiction and the way he’s living is not how he wants his life to be. He gets very little sleep and hangs out with bad people to make him feel better about himself. I gained a lot of respect for Jason as I read this book because he took responsibility for his mistakes, tried to find a way to make a positive change in his life, and realized that he needed to find new people in his life that would support his journey, instead of hanging out with people for popularity.

Written by Jennifer O’Sullivan

Throughout the book, another main character, Chris, tries to help Jason overcome his addiction. Although Jason is rude to Chris and initially doesn’t agree with the goals that Chris has for himself, Chris persists in aiding Jason. Jason had been spreading rumors at school about Chris and trying to ruin his reputation, yet Chris remains the bigger person and stays by Jason’s side for a whole day when he can tell that it is needed. I think that many people could learn from Chris by realizing that sometimes your purpose is bigger than you. Chris could have ignored Jason after Jason said horrible things about him, yet Chris knew that the improvement he could make to Jason’s life meant more than a petty argument. People could also learn that no matter what other people say, you need to continue on the journey that is beneficial to you. Many of Chris’ friends make fun of him for his newfound sobriety or laugh at him when he speaks about God, but Chris ignores the criticism because he knows that what he is doing is keeping him on the right track as a recovering addict.

In the last chapter of the book after Jason has accepted some help, he begins to reflect on everything that he has learned from Chris and Chris’ Pastor, Mark. For such a long time, Jason hadn’t realized how bad of a position he was in, because the people he chose to surround himself with were just as bad. Jason didn’t feel like anything he had been doing was wrong, because it mirrored exactly what the people around him did. He was in such darkness that when Chris tried to become a positive light in his life, Jason couldn’t even recognize it as that and began to harass Chris. Jason thought that because he was popular and went to parties, his life was filled with light when in reality, just the opposite was true. Eventually, after a heartfelt conversation with Pastor Mark, Jason began to realize that he was in darkness and that the lights in his life were kind people, like Chris, who had faith and morals. This realization inspired Jason to wonder if faith could bring light into his life too.

Synopsis

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?

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$3.99 Kindle | $10.50 Paperback

About Jennifer

Jennifer O’Sullivan is a junior at Dover Sherborn High School who enjoys reading, playing the piano, spending time with friends and doing volunteer work. Jennifer leads her school’s community service club, runs on her school’s cross country and track teams and loves to travel, especially to Ireland where she spends time with friends and family.

More Articles by Jennifer:

Why “The Right Person” is a Perfect Book for Teens

“The Right Person” by Stacy Padula Shows How Faith Can Benefit Teenagers

Who would benefit from reading “When Darkness Tries to Hide” by Stacy Padula?

Although this book would be most relevant to teenagers and the struggles they might face in high school, I would recommend this book to anyone who feels that they are struggling with something. Teens and adults alike who are trying to find themselves or answers to their place in life would benefit from reading When Darkness Tries to Hide because it would help them look at their situation from a faith based perspective. This book shows that regardless of how terrible you think your actions or situation may be, there is always hope and the ability to change.

What did you like best about the story?

There were several things that drew me in to When Darkness Tries to Hide. Above all, it was never boring. There were several storylines running simultaneously with many different characters. Each character was facing some type of struggle that kept me wanting to read more to find out their outcome.  It was easy and exciting to read this book.

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

While Jason begins the story as one of the “bad boys” in the school, he is the character who experiences the greatest transformation. Through the help of his friends and his return to faith, he begins his transformation to becoming the person that he wants to be.

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

Chris is the catalyst to Jason’s transformation. Chris’ kindness and willingness to reach out to Jason made all the difference.  Their relationship exemplifies the impact we can have on our friends. Even more, it shows how important it is to try to help our friends who seem to be struggling or even just to check in on them when they seem to be down.  The smallest gesture can change someone’s life.

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?

Jason has been in darkness since he began using drugs and drinking and dating Cathy, who leads a similar life. By being surrounded with people who are just as or even more immoral than he was, it was difficult to see any light.  When Chris re-enters his life and he visits the church, meeting Rachel and the pastor’s daughter, his life begins to change. Light slowly enters his life and is the beginning of his transformation.

What positive message does this book convey to readers?

When Darkness Tries to Hide conveys the message that there is hope for everyone. It also reinforces the importance of surrounding yourself with good people who allow you to see the light through faith.

Synopsis

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?

$3.99 Kindle | $10.50 Paperback

About Joanna Dakoyannis

Joanna Dakoyannis is a junior at Dover-Sherborn High School. She enjoys creative writing, traveling, going to the gym, running track for her high school team and loves cheering on the team at school sporting events. She plans to be a science major in college and hopes to eventually attend dental school.

More Articles by Joanna:

An Exceptional Book I Recommend to Teens & Preteens

April’s Q&A-with-joanna-dakoyannis-on-the-right-person-by-stacy-padula/

Who would you recommend this book to?

I would recommend this book to someone around the age of 13-16. It would be great for them because they would be starting to deal with all of these issues in real life, since they would be going into high school.

How could teens and preteens benefit from reading this book?

Preteens and teens would benefit from reading this book in many ways. One way they would benefit from reading it is that it would give them an insight into what high school is like, in a very real setting. The setting of the book could be any high school in the area in which I live.  It might also help them if they are going through a similar situation as one of the characters in the book, and could help them feel as if they are not alone in dealing with their similar social issue.

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

The theme of influence was present throughout the book. Courtney, the main character was never into partying and drugs, but after being exposed to the popular group of friends she was highly influenced to do these things. Another example is how Courtney influenced her boyfriend Chris to steer away from drugs and alcohol, to help get his life back on track. We saw how a person can be influenced and can alternately use their influence.

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

I could relate to this book in the sense that many of my friends have had similar issues with boys and I have had to help them. I can also relate to Courtney’s relationship with Julianna, in the sense that my friends have changed since Junior High School. Sometimes it can be a little awkward when having parties and events considering not everyone gets invited, but in the end it works out for everyone. We all change socially in our teenage years because people are interested in different things and have different ideas of what is fun.

Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person

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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$3.99 Kindle | $11.50 Paperback
About Joanna Dakoyannis

Joanna Dakoyannis is a junior at Dover-Sherborn High School. She enjoys creative writing, traveling, going to the gym, running track for her high school team and loves cheering on the team at school sporting events. She plans to be a science major in college and hopes to eventually attend dental school.

Other Articles by Joanna:

An Exceptional Book I Recommend to Teens & Preteens

Article by Jennifer O’Sullivan of Dover, Massachusetts

Jennifer O’Sullivan, Dover-Sherborn Class of 2020

Throughout The Right Person by Stacy Padula, loyalty and faith were common themes in many scenarios. Several characters had certain desires but knew that they had to stay loyal to a person or to a commitment. Additionally, God being a place of strength became increasingly apparent as the story advanced. Characters like Chantal and Courtney relied on faith from the beginning and at first, seemed like the strongest characters. As time went on, Courtney’s faith dwindled, yet she regained it by the end of the book. As Courtney’s faith was recovered, she encouraged Chris to do the same with his faith. In a powerful turn of events, Chris turns to God and trusts in Him. Despite seeming likely to be on a bad path for the rest of his life and being unable to stay sober, Chris gives himself up to God and stays sober from that day on.

As a teenager in a public high school, the stories in this book ring true to my experience. People from all backgrounds and faiths are constantly being put up against the tests of peer pressure and temptation, and many fail. To turn his or her life around, this person must find either a higher power or inner strength in order to combat these struggles.

This book accurately reflects the concept that if a person, especially a high schooler, stays true to a moral set of values, they may overcome struggles with much more ease. There have been many times when all of my classmates or all of my friends are doing something that feels wrong to me and although I could be seen as “lame” or “too worried about it”, I know that it’s wrong and I am proud of myself when I stick with my convictions instead of falling prey to peer pressure.

Additionally, the book shows how important it is to avoid these temptations. Teens would benefit from this book both by being inspired to stay true to themselves and by learning how to face certain obstacles in high school. This book also benefits those who may feel that they are lost or straying from God. This book shows that even the most faithful have to overcome these struggles, and that there is always a way to make things right.

Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person

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?

amazon-buy-button_2
$2.99 Kindle | $11.50 Paperback

About Jennifer O’Sullivan: Jennifer O’Sullivan is a junior at Dover Sherborn High School who enjoys reading, playing the piano, spending time with friends and doing volunteer work. Jennifer leads her school’s community service club, runs on her school’s cross country and track teams and loves to travel, especially to Ireland where she spends time with friends and family.

Joanna Dakoyannis, Dover-Sherborn Class of 2020

Joanna Dakoyannis is a junior at Dover-Sherborn High School. She enjoys creative writing, traveling, going to the gym, running track for her high school team, and cheering on her team at school sporting events. She plans to be a science major in college and hopes to eventually attend dental school. Joanna read Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person by Stacy A. Padula and wrote the article below, sharing her honest thoughts and recommendations.

The Right Person—the first book in the Montgomery Lake High series by Stacy A. Padula—was an exceptional book, which I highly recommend to teens and preteens. It was nice to read a book about topics that I could relate to, compared to the typical, heavy English literature books that I am assigned to read in my AP-Lang class at school. I found the book very interesting, and I was always wanting to read more. The Right Person provides a very accurate description of the situations that occur in high school and similar to “real life.” I could not wait to see what would happen next.

Throughout the book, it shows examples of friendship issues, boy issues, and substance issues. These are things that every high schooler can relate to and is also exposed to. The book shows teens how to deal with these issues and eventually emerge with a positive outcome. This book would help preteens to prepare for true high school experiences, instead of the way it is sometimes glamorized in movies or TV shows.

There are many different characters in the book and each one is going through something different, whether it is a boyfriend predicament, friendship dilema, or drug problem. This makes the book more understandable to a wider audience, and can help show kids that they are not alone.

Additionally, The Right Person, through its theme of being influenced, can also teach teens the consequences of their actions.  Things we say or do affect other people. Even though sometimes we feel very self-focused, this book shows us that we have the power to influence others and should also be aware of the way others can influence us. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series! – Joanna Dakoyannis

Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person

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. Through a twist of fate, he crosses paths with Courtney Angeletti, the mayor’s straightedge Christian daughter. At a crossroads, Chris must choose between continuing down the wide road to destruction or venturing into uncharted territory.

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Montgomery Lake High in the News
Radio Interview with Rob Hakala (95.9 FM South Shore Morning News)
Radio Interview with Doug Llewelyn (CUTV/The People’s Court/Judge Judy)
Radio Interview with Jim Masters (CUTV, PBS, ABC)