Posts Tagged ‘high school’

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

 

Young adult author Stacy Padula says, “Schools need to wake up and realize that in a world where 13 year olds are overdosing on heroin, a book that educates kids on the perils of opiate addiction would be a GOOD THING to make them read, preferably at age 11 or 12.” How many opioid related teenage deaths are going to have to occur in the US before schools realize they are not protecting kids by banning books that address drug abuse; they are actually robbing them of knowledge that could save their lives!

I write books in hopes of helping kids avoid making destructive decisions. The new teen book series I am 490 pages into writing is VERY REALISTIC, but that would likely get it BANNED from schools because of the drug use and sexual relationships within it. Yet, those things are a reality in today’s world. Kids need to know the truth about opiate and benzo addiction. They also need to understand how easily it can be to get a slutty reputation. I want the series I’m writing to be placed in school libraries to educate kids on things some parents are afraid to talk about, but it will likely get banned BECAUSE it addresses those things. It is so frustrating! Do parents really think teenagers do not talk about sex and drugs? How can we educate the youth about the perils of substance abuse if schools won’t allow books to be read that contain such information? As an author, it is mind boggling. Parents get upset if Susie comes home with a book from school that has characters who have sex or do drugs…. but Susie likely hears about those topics on a daily basis while standing at her locker! How naive are school administrators to think teenagers cannot handle reading about things they’ve probably been hearing about from their peers since they were 10 years old?

 

On Sale This Week for Only $3.99 (Kindle)

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$13.00 (Paperback)
Available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon

Written by Elizabeth Harvey of Needham, MA (Class of 2017)

Chris: Chris is a compassionate young man, but has always been an unintentional troublemaker since the 7th grade. Chris’s parents both work a lot and frequently travel, leaving Chris in the care of his older cousins who love to party. Because of his parents absence and his family’s actions, Chris became a teen-age alcoholic who abused various hard drugs. He would never intentionally hurt someone, but his addictions became destructive for the people he cared most about. Chris was searching for something to give him fulfillment in his life and make up for the emptiness he felt without his parents being present. Chris had been missing for a long time, but with the help of Courtney and God, he is able to find himself again and re-learn how to enjoy life while sober. It took a while for him to be set free from his demons, but once he did, he became an example of the positivity that spirituality has in a teenager’s life. Chris is now secure, consoling, and humble due to his newfound strength and belief in God. Chris serves as an inspiration and is a very positive example for the reader. I wish Chris was able to see earlier on how destructive his cousin Taylor’s behavior was, but I think it was necessary for his development for Chris to hit rock bottom in order to understand just how big of a problem he actually had. I really love how Chris is able to stick firm with his beliefs and still have respect for other’s choices whom he may not necessarily agree with.  

Courtney: Courtney comes from a world of privilege, being the Mayor’s daughter she has not had to endure many difficulties in her life in that respect; but she still does have her demons. She is still trying to find herself and relies on others for validation of her self-worth. Like most teenage girls, she desperately wanted to be popular and this desire consumed her life and made her lose sight of the girl who wore no makeup and was kind to everyone. Her insecurities also played a major role in why she gave into peer pressure and began getting involved with partying and became focused on her looks—losing the light that she used to radiate. Because of her sheltered lifestyle, Courtney felt a strong desire to rebel and with this rebellion strayed farther from God. She became very disrespectful to her parents, especially towards her mother, and had little care for others. Fortunately, Courtney begins to rekindle her relationship with God and everything suddenly hit her like a ton of bricks. She learned how to be humble and the value of God in her life. She understands that she is no better or worse than anybody and that popularity doesn’t mean anything to God. I really respect Courtney’s evolution and the fact that she was able to admit that she was not a good person and can remedy that, eventually returning to her real friends: Marielle, Julie, Chantal.

Jason: Jason comes from a wealthy family where perfection is expected, especially when it comes to school. He craves love and turns to drugs and alcohol in order to replace the lack of affection he receives at home. Jason is too smart for his own good and because he is so gifted he easily becomes bored and seeks out challenges, which is where he gets into trouble. He is extremely charismatic, quick-witted, and everyone seems to love him. Despite all of this, partying has consumed his life and he acts very destructive towards himself and others around him. He also feels a lot of pressure to keep his image intact and has the ability to flash a fake smile in order to keep the fun times going. Jason lacks confidence and believes he is worthless. Additionally Jason has never been secure in his faith due to the fear from when he was younger that a priest would molest him and as soon as he heard this he felt like everything he had grown up believing was a lie. He is very broken, but after Andy’s accident has begun to reaffirm his faith and is finally ready to once again let God into his heart.

Chantal: I really love the character of Chantal for her consistency and everlasting kindness towards her friends and even people she doesn’t like. She is a genuine person who is honest, loyal, and is not comfortable with the party scene. Her faith is unwavering, but she has struggled with her attraction to both Jon and Andy and what that has meant for her relationship with God. It is hard for her to let people in sometimes due to the betrayment she suffered from her sister, but she always chooses kindness and forgiveness over revenge.

Cathy: Cathy’s insecurities and shyness took over her life and completely destroyed the person she used to be. Her faith has been stripped from her due to her anxiety over socializing, especially with boys, and this led her to overcompensate and become the ultimate manipulator. She began changing after dating Jason in order to fit into his world and became the socialite of the friend group. Cathy carries a lot of pain around with her and this causes her to act ruthless to others, including her sister who she envies.

Bryan: Bryan is a good guy who treats everyone with respect and kindness. He is not that comfortable with partying, but has definitely been involved. I see him as someone who is good at balancing fun, school, and responsibilities and does not have strong addictions such as Chris and Jon even though he has been around that type of stuff before. Bryan is madly in love with Courtney and wants to protect her at all costs and ends up being a very safe and healthy relationship for her.

Jon: Jon has a strong belief in God, but because he is friends with both Jason and Chris, he fell into the partying scene. He stood out from the rest of the boys because his faith was so strong and he actively tried to make friends in his youth group who would hold him accountable in his Christian path. Insecurity took over his life and he relied on temporary pleasures in life to fulfill him and caused him to have a harsh tempor. He desperately wants to please everyone in his life and always tries to be a good friend, even if that ends up hurting himself more. He is also dealing with abandonment issues that stem from his father leaving MA, and this greatly contributed to his involvement with drugs and alcohol. I really admire his love for Chantal and his desire to do right by himself and God.

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Written by Elizabeth Harvey, Dana Hall Class of 2017
The Forces Within is a story that explores the power of spirituality and the battle that many teenagers go through when faced with tough decisions. The story focuses on life after Andy Rossetti wakes up from his coma and what his recovery process looks like, including the recovery that those closest must go through as well.
The Forces Within begins in Fallen Lake, a small New England town, where Leslie’s family owns a Mansion. A group of friends decides to go there for a weekend, but as soon as their trip begins, it is apparent that supernatural forces are at work. The story allows the reader to better understand the characters that they met in the previous MLH books and reveals the truth in who each person really is.
I recommend The Forces Within to all teenagers, especially those who are currently struggling with identity and social pressures. It would be useful to read the other books in the MLH series before reading The Forces Within to fully understand the characters and their relationships to one another. The story is filled with suspense and drama, something that kept me glued to each page. High school is a time for teenagers to discover themselves and this story does a great job of describing some difficulties that are very relatable, and how to get through those daunting situations.

Montgomery Lake High #5: The Forces Within
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After being trapped inside his own body, unable to communicate with anyone but his own thoughts, Andy Rosetti finally wakes up from the coma that controlled his life for one month. But upon awakening, Andy finds himself and his friends in an unfamiliar setting: a mansion riddled with secrets and supernatural forces. As his friends fall prey to the entities encompassing them, Andy must figure out if the darkness lies within the mansion’s walls or within the people surrounding him.

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Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person

Available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon

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After reading “The Right Person” by Stacy Padula, Elizabeth H. of Needham, Massachusetts provided the following feedback:

1. What would you say is appealing about “The Right Person”?

The fact that this is a universal story is the most appealing thing about the book. It also focuses on teenage relationships which are very appealing to middle school and high school aged students. Teenagers often look to movies, tv, and books and apply the lessons or stories they see to their own lives. This book focuses on a love story and various relationships which makes it a very entertaining, yet still educational read, including  elements of both drama and comedy which grasp the attention of the target audience. The character development is also very appealing and creates a story that is able to resonate to teenagers.

2. What kept you wanting to read more?

Every teenager around the world will at some point in their life deal with a moral crisis, such as how to handle going to a party, and this book does a great job at creating a world and characters that are very relatable, drawing the reader in and making them very invested in the storyline. Additionally the detailed descriptions of every character and the setting in which the story takes place add to the intrigue of the entire story and made me want to keep reading more.

3. Who is your favorite character and who do you relate to the most in The Right Person? 

My favorite character is Chris. His storyline and arc was amazing to read and I really enjoyed how he changed his lifestyle for not only himself, but his younger sister, friends and God. He is a caring guy who was lost for a while and who suffered from a lot of pain and the absence of his parents. Despite these challenges he was able to overcome it all, becoming sober for 5 months, and implement change in the lives of others. His drive and compassion was very inspiring to see because many people in his situation could’ve stayed on the destructive path that he was on and their story would not have had the same happy ending.

I identify most with Courtney. Throughout the story Courtney struggles with a profound desire to be popular and her insecurities drive her to put herself into situations that she is not comfortable with and are not true to herself. High school is quite difficult for most people, but particularly for girls and the need to be liked by all, something that I can definitely relate to. Additionally the jealously seen in the relationship between Cathy and Courtney is common amongst teenage girls, especially when a boy is involved. I enjoyed the ending where we discover that Courtney finds herself back with her friends from middle school, the people who genuinely care for her and like to be around her for who she is, not because she likes to party.

4. Write a few sentences explaining how this story accurately portrays the life of a teenager.

This story describes a typical friend group, one that everyone is able to relate to and apply to their own life. Everyday teenagers are forced to make decisions that question and test their morality and this story uses the example of partying to illustrate the different choices one can make and the different outcomes that those choices result in. The temptation of alcohol and drugs is very prevalent in the lives of teenagers and only grows as one enters high school and college. The realistic descriptions throughout the story accurately portray some of the intimate conversations that teenagers have with friends, boyfriends or girlfriends, and family.  

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Everyday teenagers are faced with difficult situations that constantly question their faith and moral compass. The Aftermath by Stacy Padula follows a group of students from Montgomery Lake High School, specifically Jason Davids who has a plethora of misconceptions about God and struggles to discover who he is in a world that has already answered that question for him.

The Aftermath is written from the perspective of Jason, allowing the reader to explore his thoughts and feelings in a very detailed manner. The story begins where the last book ended and deals with the events that follow the destructive tornado that touched down in Montgomery leaving one of Jason’s classmates, Andy, in a coma. Jason’s life is forever changed by this accident and the story follows his journey of redemption to deal with the guilt that he feels for leaving Andy helpless in a hospital room.

I recommend The Aftermath to all teenagers, especially those who are currently or have in the past dealt with difficult times or struggled with drugs or alcohol. It is not necessary to read the other books in the MLH series to understand the story. It is very inspiring to read about a teenager that everyone can relate to who deals with societal and personal issues on their path to find God.

– Elizabeth Harvey, Needham, MA

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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. Characters include Chantal and Cathy Kagelli, identical twins whose similarities stop at face value (think good vs. evil, naive vs. manipulative); Chris Dunkin, a talented football player whose success is threatened by alcohol and drug abuse; Courtney Angeletti, the mayor’s straightedge daughter who cannot deny her attraction to Chris’ life of the party reputation; and Bryan Sartelli, Courtney’s loyal longterm boyfriend who happens to be best friends with Chris. Whether reading this novel as a teen or an adult, readers will be entertained, intrigued, and inspired by its dynamic characters and events.

Amazon Best Seller March & December 2016

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In-school services for students with disabilities have come a long way in the past few decades. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004, public school districts are required by law to provide a student with the resources he or she needs to learn. However, schools often have trouble affording that assistance and sometimes only meet the bare minimum standards to be in IDEA compliance. The IDEA was a huge step in the right direction for students with disabilities, but its application in the past ten years has room for improvement. 

The cornerstone of the IDEA is the creation of IEPs, or individualized education plans, which outline the accommodations a student with learning disabilities requires in order to assist him or her in succeeding in school. In order to receive special education services, a child must have an IEP on record with the school, and a public school is required to provide the services that are recommended for the student regardless of cost.

Getting a child on an IEP is, unfortunately, a complicated, multi-step task. First, the child must be evaluated by a medical professional in order to attain a learning disability diagnosis. If the child is found eligible for disability services, then the parents, student (if old enough), the special education team, and regular education teachers meet to create a plan to better serve the needs of the child. This meeting is where the plans for the IEP are outlined. Once the IEP is written by a licensed psychologist or language therapist (depending on the nature of the disability), the child can begin receiving services. The student’s progress is monitored and re-evaluated each year, and changes can be made to the IEP if necessary. The trouble with IEPs is that they must be truly individualized while not only maintaining the integrity of students’ educations, but also keeping them in the “least restrictive environment” possible for learning. If that means keeping students in the classroom for most or all of the school day and providing them with an aid, then that is what the school must do. If that means pulling them out for part or even all of the school day to work one-on-one with special education teachers, then the school must provide said accommodations.  

An alternative to an IEP is a 504 plan, referencing section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: the first legislation that required schools to assist students with disabilities. A 504 plan is best for students with an identified learning disability and/or ADHD who do not qualify for an IEP under the IDEA. A 504 plan has a less stringent definition of a disability than an IEP and thus may be a better option for a student who does not feel significantly or severely impacted by his or her diagnosed learning disability. Potential accommodations in a 504 plan include prolonged test taking time, different or extended deadlines for long term papers or projects, and having an independent note taker for certain classes. A 504 plan, like an IEP, must be re-evaluated every year to verify that the provisions assigned to the student are helping him or her succeed. The goal of IEPs and 504 plans is to give students with learning disabilities the tools they need to succeed. While the process is lengthy (and, at times, complex and bureaucratic), the intended outcome is a fair educational experience for all students. 

About the Author

Stacy A. Padula is an educational mentor and Internationally Certified tutor from the South Shore of Massachusetts with years of experience assisting parents and coaching students throughout the college application process. She is the author of the Montgomery Lake High book series, available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon, which addresses teenage social issues.