Posts Tagged ‘teen book series’

Review Written by Kelly Mitchell – Newton Country Day Class of 2018

It has been three weeks since a terrible storm left Andy in a coma, and for Jason Davids, nothing has been the same. Jason, the most popular freshman boy at Montgomery Lake High School, recognizes that he needs to make a change in life and give up the partying lifestyle he has been a part of for the past two years. Jason discovers this task is not going to be easy and struggles to turn away from darkness, as he is constantly presented with new temptations. Jason must decide whether to go back into the daze he has been living in or look for a new source of strength to help him win his battle over his addictions.
I would recommend this book to anyone in middle school or high school, as it touches on topics very prevalent to this age group: temptation, gossip, popularity, and prayer. It reminds readers that one’s reputation in high school will be insignificant to the rest of our lives, and that, therefore, people should focus on more important matters such as their relationship with God.

Charlotte’s Thoughts:
In “The Battle for Innocence,” the reader gains valuable insight into the background of the Montgomery Lake High characters. This book is important for the audience to understand how many of the relationships in the present day came to be, like Chantal and Jon’s friendship. It is surprising to see how much their relationship has been through from the time that they initially met each other, but it this provides helpful context for the state of their current relationship.
My favorite character in “The Battle for Innocence” is Jon. I was impressed that even as a young seventh grader, he was able to stand by what he believed in. He had the courage to defend his beliefs to his friends when almost all of them didn’t understand or respect his decision. While his faith may have wavered later on, Jon also had the strength to find his way back to his faith. These are a testament to his character.
Written by Charlotte Moynihan – Newton Country Day Class of 2018

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Best-selling young adult author Stacy A. Padula was interviewed about her book series and college counseling company today at 4:00PM by Doug Llewelyn (host of the People’s Court and creator of Judge Judy). The interview was aired live on CUTV News, New York.

Listen here:

PLYMOUTH, MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES, / — There are millions of teachers all over the world that have a positive effect on children’s lives. What if you also have the advantage of being a gifted author whose books help children combat the harmful effects of social issues like bullying, drugs, and peer pressure?

Stacy Padula is the accomplished author of young adult fiction novels, including five books in a series entitled The Right Person, When Darkness Tries to Hide, The Aftermath, The Battle for Innocence and The Forces Within.

“My books focus on young people and the realistic pressures they face in their perplexing high school years,” says Padula. “With the overwhelming prescription drug problem in our society so prevalent, high school students should be prepared to withstand and defy these challenges.”

Padula’s penchant for writing was so deeply ingrained within her she wrote her first book when she was only six years old. Eventually she started her own tutoring company, South Shore College Consulting and Tutoring, all the while working diligently on her writing. Her first book was published in 2010.

“It was so enriching and thoroughly rewarding owning a company where I can tutor kids, which is the audience I was writing for,” says Padula. “My students would share with me their social experiences, read my books, and give me instrumental feedback, so it was a positive, collaborative effort.”

Padula works with junior and senior high school students assisting them with college selection, applications, and admission essays. This affords her the opportunity to work with young people and write her books.

“Drugs offer an empty, hollow promise that leads these impressionable kids unknowingly down a path of self-destruction,” says Padula. “My ultimate goal is to inspire kids not to give in to these pressures and illustrate how they can find fulfillment turning to God and finding their true passion.”

It was a dream come true for Padula when she saw her books selling in Barnes & Noble. She hopes her students will someday find joy in their future achievements.

“Everyone is born with their own unique gifts and talents,” says Padula. “When you ultimately discover your special calling and destiny, you will find your utmost joy. Everyone possesses a unique destiny to tap into and hopefully we will all impact and inspire many people along our life’s journey.”

CUTV News Radio will feature Stacy Padula in an interview with Doug Llewelyn on January 26th at 4pm EST.

If you have any questions for our guest, call (347) 996-3389.

The interview will be hosted here for one year following 1/26/18.

Lou Ceparano
(631) 850-3314
email us here

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JANUARY 26, 2018 – PLYMOUTH, MA – Later today, Stacy Padula will be interviewed on live radio by Doug Llewelyn – the host of The People’s Court and creator of Judge Judy. He is interested in hearing about her journey as an author and a business owner. In preparation for the interview, she has reflected on various experiences. Here is a sneak peak at some topics that will be covered:

Q. What drives you to write for the young adult genre?

A. When I was a child, I read a lot of books. I was ever so curious to know what high school would be like. I read the Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High, which painted pictures in my mind of what high school would be like. However, when four towns of kids combined under one roof of Silver Lake Regional High School in Kingston, Massachusetts, it was nothing like Sweet Valley. I was completely caught off guard by the harsh rumors and drugs circulating around, as well as the bullying taking place. The books I had read did not address the social issues that are extremely prevalent in the teenage world. I began writing my book series as a teenager because I believed kids deserved books that were realistic to help them navigate high school.

After college, I found the books I had written as a teenager, and when I read through them, I was amazed by the topics I had written about at such a young age. I was also in somewhat disbelief that kids were partying so hard at such young ages. I began editing the books and adding in life lessons I had learned along the way. I realized that the books could help teenagers navigate through the tricky years of high school, so I sought out a literary agent. My first book was published in 2010, followed by four sequels. For the last eight years, it has been my goal to write books that help teenagers become more secure with themselves and find fulfillment.

Q. Why do you feel your books are necessary for young adults to read?

A. My books share the raw truth about opioid addiction, as well as other substances, in a realistic and relatable way. Drugs pose an empty promise for fulfillment that often leads to self-destruction and the destruction of others. I want to help kids avoid the heartache that goes along with substance abuse and find positive/beneficial outlets for their energy. There is an immense amount of social pressure on kids today. Between social media and technology, they are constantly connected and can easily lose touch with themselves. They face so much pressure to fit in with their peers, and can easily lose themselves in the process.

Q. You have written five novels. Are you planning to write another book?

A. Yes, I am about 185 pages into a novel that heavily focuses on opiate addiction. It is a part of my Montgomery Lake High series, and it circles back to the root of many problems in my main characters’ lives. The story starts off a few months after where my 5th book left off, but it does a lot of time traveling between old and new experiences. This story ties a lot of plot points together that are briefly mentioned in the other books but never explored in-depth. It follows three different characters stories and shows, from their perspective, how they got caught up in drug abuse—which were for very different reasons. I think it is easy for people to cast aside drug users and look down upon them, but the book I am writing shows how easily substance abuse can become a problem for good people. Moreover, it conveys the hope that exists once someone is able to forgive himself and find sobriety.

Stacy Padula will be interviewed on live radio at 4:00PM by Doug Llewelyn (CUTV News, New York)

Listeners can tune in live at 4:00PM on 1/26/18 here.

Montgomery Lake High #5: The Forces Within

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.



Kelly Mitchell, Newton Country Day Class of 2018

After reading and reviewing Montgomery Lake High #2: When Darkness Tries to Hide, Kelly was asked to share her honest opinions about the story and characters in the below Q&A:

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

In the first book, the reader gets only a surface level view of Jason. I saw him as a classic popular boy whose only priority was partying. After reading “When Darkness Tries to Hide” I have a new understanding of the character and have grown to deeply sympathize with him. The grief Jason displays following the accident and the determination he had to go outside his comfort zone and help arrange the prayer service for Andy revealed that deep down Jason is a good kid. Despite his flaws of partying and his poor judgement in girlfriends, by the end of this book, I saw Jason as a smart, caring, and loyal friend

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

One thing I learned is that we should stay loyal to our friends. Chris doesn’t realize it, but by focusing himself and distancing himself from Jason, he has greatly hurt his friend. Once Chris finally begins to encourage Jason to make the same positive changes he did in his life, the power of friendship truly reveals itself. Chris supports his friend and is able to forgive the cruelty Jason has inflicted during the past two months. Their relationship teaches me the importance of never giving up on people we care about.

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?

For the past few years, Jason has surrounded himself in darkness: drugs, alcohol, and people who take part in even more immoral activities than he does. Encompassing himself in this darkness only gets him further into it. The day he spent with Chris planning Andy’s service was the first time in a while any light had been brought into his life. Jason witnessed his friend’s newfound strength and was moved by the kind words he received from Mr. Kagelli, Rachel, and the Pastor. In the end, with new hope and positive surroundings, Jason takes his first step down the righteous path by reading the bible. By being productive and working to do something kind for Andy, Jason and his friends are able to start to bringing some light into a dark and scary situation.

What positive message does this book convey to readers?

I think an important message in “When Darkness Tries to Hide” is that it is never too late to make a change. Jason not only experiences forgivness from his friend Chris, but also learns about the never ending forgiveness of God from Pastor Mark. The Pastor shares his story of straying from a moral path at times and explains the healing power of God. Jason is inspired by this and his new hope causes him to confess his sins to the Pastor. Despite being so deep into the party scene, Jason—like Chris—realizes he still has the opportunity to try and be a better person.


Chris Dunkin believes that his former best friend, Jason Davids, is blazing a trail of destruction. After a tornado wreaks havoc on Montgomery, a twist of fate brings Chris and Jason back together as they try to save a classmate who is gravely injured from the storm. The tempest, however, brings more than wind and rain to Montgomery.


In preparation for an upcoming interview with Doug Llewelyn

Why do you feel your books are necessary for young adults to read?

My books share the raw truth about opioid addiction, as well as other substances, in a realistic and relatable way. Drugs pose an empty promise for fulfillment, which often leads to self-destruction and hurts many others in the process. I want to help kids avoid the heartache that goes along with substance abuse and find positive/beneficial outlets for their energy. There is an immense amount of social pressure on teens today. Between social media and technology, they are constantly connected and can easily lose touch with themselves. They face enormous pressure to fit in with their peers and often lose themselves in the process.

What are the main messages you try to convey in your novels?

Turn to God, not drugs, for fulfillment

Instead of trying to fit in with your peers, get to know yourself and your passions: be authentic

Are you working on a book now?

Yes, I am about 30,000 words into a novel that heavily focuses on opiate addiction. It circles back to the root of the problems in Chris Dunkin’s life—his older cousins. The story starts off right where The Aftermath leaves off, but it does a lot of time traveling between old and new experiences. This story ties a lot of plot points together that are briefly mentioned in the other books but never explored in-depth. It follows two different characters’ stories and shows, from their perspectives, how they got caught up in drug abuse—which were for very different reasons. I think it is easy for people to cast aside drug users and look down upon them, but the book I am writing shows how easily good people can get caught up in substance abuse. Moreover, it conveys the hope that exists once someone is able to forgive himself and seek sobriety.

Be candid. Tell us about the series…

The Right Person – Chris Dunkin has parents who travel often for business, so he is left in the care of his older cousins who housesit and throw parties. He is exposed to drugs and alcohol at a young age, and it does not take long for him to begin experimenting himself. He then pulls his group of friends into the partying scene, and begins high school as “the life of the party.” But Chris honestly feels lost and is searching for something more than that.

When Darkness Tries to Hide – picks up a month or two after The Right Person leaves off, showing how Chris’ life and relationships have changed. A tornado strikes the town and causes destruction, but ends up teaching an important life lesson to one of the main characters.

The Battle for Innocence – flashes back two years to when Chris and his friends were first exposed to his cousins’ lifestyle. It shows how quickly their innocence was threatened and how easily kids can become desensitized to substance abuse.

The Aftermath – my personal favorite. It follows the quest for self-discovery that one of the main characters, Jason, embarks on. Jason has everything that he thinks will bring fulfillment – high grades, a beautiful girlfriend, popular friends, and every drug that promises enjoyment at his disposal – but he feels empty inside. He knows that something is missing, but he cannot figure out what. After trying to fill the void with relationships, achievements, and substances, he finds himself strangely drawn to a very plain girl in his grade whom he has never noticed. He can’t understand how she can stand for everything he opposes yet possess the very thing he has been searching for all along.

The Forces Within – this is a freaky book. It takes place when the characters are on vacation in New Hampshire and have to seek shelter in an abandoned house. Strange things begin happening, and it becomes apparent that there are supernatural forces at large. The main character is left to figure out if the forces exist within the house or within the people surrounding him.

More to come…



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.


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?



Q&A with Kelly Mitchell

Newton Country Day Class of 2018


Kelly is a very insightful teenager, who has a knack for perceiving underlying meanings and concepts within works of literature. As an author, I am truly blessed to have her on staff as an intern. Kelly is applying to many prestigious colleges this year, and I could not be more proud of her! Below is a short series of questions I asked her to complete about Book #1 “The Right Person.” I hope you enjoy her insight:

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

As a high schooler peer pressure surrounds me in all aspects of life. Whether presented with extremes, like Chris, of drugs and alcohol or something as minor as gossiping, high schoolers are constantly put in situations where they sacrifice morals to fit in. Personally, I resonate most with the concept that who I associate with greatly influences my decisions and behaviors. When sitting with girls participating in gossip, I find it difficult sometimes to not engage. I have learned through my years that it is important to surround yourself with people who share similar morals and values as myself; the same lesson Chris discovers.

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

Courtney’s desire to fit in with a group of kids whom she perceives to be “popular” causes her to turn from her morals. Her values are no longer a priority to her if they interfere with her belonging with the others. Courtney becomes more focused on how her new friends view her than on staying true to herself. 

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

The significance of friendship is a common theme in the story. The friendships that the characters form in the story greatly influence their decisions. Courtney’s friendship with people like Cathy causes her to go away from her morals. Other friendships, like Chantal and Marielle, strengthens their morals. Friendship is a core part in each person’s life, this is why Julianna feels lost when she loses her friends.

How does it appear God worked to get Chris’ attention?

Chris was becoming tired of the partying scene and began longing for something more. To get Chris’ attention God brought Courtney into his life. Chris is immediately attracted to Courtney and believes spending time with her will help him gain the strength to abstain from sin as she does. This caused improvement in Chris’ behavior but was not a permanent solution because he soon finds himself back into his own ways. It is not until the end when Chris realizes that it is not Courtney whom Chris should attempt to gain strength from but rather, God: the source of Courtney’s virtue.  



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