Posts Tagged ‘teen books’

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?

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$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.

Article by Jennifer O’Sullivan of Dover, Massachusetts

Jennifer O’Sullivan, Dover-Sherborn Class of 2020

The Right Person by Stacy Padula is a story that portrays the many difficulties that high school students face in the present day; from drugs, alcohol and partying, to faith and friendship, this book covers it all. I recommend this book to anyone who is struggling to find him/herself under the pressure of society and friends. Not only does this book show that placing value on the wrong things and normalizing certain unhealthy behaviors distances you from yourself, the book also shows how difficult, yet rewarding, it is to find yourself again. I would also recommend this book to anyone who is going into or is in high school, because it is a preview of the many immoral things that can occur.

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.

In addition to teenagers, adults with children should read this book in order to empathize with their high schoolers and the tough decisions that they constantly make behind closed doors. If adults could understand some of the struggles that their children face, they could potentially aid in stopping a bad habit from worsening.

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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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.

Article by Caitlin Shields, New York, NY

Caitlin is a freshman at Fordham University where she studies Communications. Her favorite hobbies include reading about psychology, photography, fitness, community service, and traveling. Caitlin has been heavily involved with volunteering and raising funds for The Boys & Girls Club of Brockton since age fourteen. She has a passion for connecting with others and hopes to have a career focused on helping others.

Caitlin read “Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person” by Stacy A. Padula and shared her opinion below:

I would recommend “The Right Person” to people of all ages, especially those entering high school or parents with kids who are around that age. This book provides insight into how people can end up in difficult situations and seemingly compromise their character by mistake. This book could serve as a fair warning about how things can get out of control with young kids and partying, and the importance of getting out and staying out of compromising situations.
My favorite part of the story was Chris’s journey to sobriety and his complete reversals in attitude and views on life throughout the book. I loved seeing how all of the other characters impacted him, and how someone in such a dark place managed to turn his life around.
One major theme I noticed throughout the story was the power of religion and how it brings people together. The story begins with Chris, a lost party boy, being attracted to the warmth, kindness, and innocence of Courtney. Courtney is a deep believer in God and did not involve herself with partying. When Chris breaks up with Courtney, he leads her back to God, and brings himself closer to him.
I personally relate to this story because I have seen good people get involved in bad situations and make choices that they later regret deeply. I understand how difficult it can be to act independently with such strong influences swaying your opinion and views on everything.
A teen or pre-teen could benefit from reading this book because it could teach them ways to help a friend who is struggling with similar issues to the characters in the books, as well as warn them of the dangers of alcohol and drugs. The book could make someone take a step back and realize the dangerous mistakes they are making and how those consequences could play out.

More Articles by Caitlin:

Q&A with Caitlin Shields on Young Adult Novel “When Darkness Tries to Hide”

Q&A Part 2 with Caitlin Shields on When Darkness Tries to Hide

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.

img_6649Rebecca 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.

Rebecca read “The Forces Within,” a thriller by Stacy Padula, which is the fifth book in the Montgomery Lake High young adult book series. Afterwards, she was asked to answer some questions about the characters and plot in order to give potential readers some background on the novel.

There is a hidden message (or many) woven throughout this book – what do you think one is and why?

I think one of the many messages throughout The Forces Within is that you can’t run from your insecurities; you have to face them, headstrong and fearless. This is particularly expressed when the kids are attempting to discover what exactly is haunting them in the house. The ones who are avoiding the spirit end up being the most hurt because of their reluctance to face the danger. It is important to remember that the only way to conquer something that is hindering you is to directly persevere.

How is the topic of spiritual warfare covered in this story?

Spiritual warfare is one of the main topics of this story. Spiritual warfare is the christian ideology that you need to fight against the work of evil forces or spirits who are meddling in human lives. Almost the entire book surrounds the idea of there being a dark spirit in the house, who seems to only be going after those with less spirituality. This is representative of spiritual warfare, as the kids had to “fight against” the houses evil force, while looking to those more spiritual for guidance.  

What parallels do you see between everything that happened at Fallen Lake and Andy’s life in Montgomery?

One parallel that i see between Andys life in montgomery and the happenings at Fallen Lake is the way in which he has witnessed many people change, for better or for worse. For example, after he came out of his coma, he saw a new light in Jason who had made a spiritual change, while at fallen lake he saw a darker side of everybody, brought out by the spirit in the house itself.

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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img_6490“The Forces Within” by Stacy Padula is full of twists and turns as well as an unexpected ending. It is the perfect read for someone who loves mystery or plot twists. The story is based on a group of teens who find themselves in an unfamiliar house while one of their friends is lost in what seems to be the vast woods. As their journey to find their friend begins, they also try to find themselves as well. Dealing with internal struggles as well relationship problems, this book is filled with everything interesting. I loved the book due to the fact that the struggles in the book are so relatable and true. It is a great read especially for teens and young adults. I recommend this to anyone who is looking for a mysterious yet dramatic book!

– Written by Samantha Waxman, Oliver Ames High School Class of 2019, Easton, MA


About Samantha Waxman

Samantha Waxman is a senior at Oliver Ames High School in Easton, Massachusetts. Some of her hobbies include cheering for her high school’s team, hanging out with friends, and spending time with her dog Rosie. Samantha’s favorite subject in school is history, and she is excited for her senior year.


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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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Q & A with Sophia Tufankjian of Duxbury, Massachusetts on Stacy Padula’s Teen Novel “When Darkness Tries to Hide”

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Sophia Tufunkjian is a senior at Duxbury High School. Some of her hobbies include volunteering, being involved in her church, and writing. She plans to study business or communications in college.

What positive message does this book convey to readers?

A positive message that this book conveys to readers is that people can change. Everyone makes mistakes and nobody is perfect all the time. Just like Chris and Jason, your sins can be forgiven and you can grow and learn from them. With the help of God and exercising faith, anyone is able to get their life back on track. This book is a perfect example to show how powerful God is, and how finding your faith can change your life.

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

Jason starts off the book painted as a troubled young man. His classmates know him as a punk that spreads rumors and starts trouble. Although he was liked by most because of his outgoing and witty personality, Jason’s love for partying made him out of control. He was deep into drinking and drugs and on his way to destroying his future. Throughout the book Jason used his faith to pull him out of this cycle of destruction. In times of need, like after a classmate Andy has a serious accident, Jason steps up and shows his true colors. He is truly a good person and just needed the help of God to be shown in the right light.

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

In this book, Chris took Jason for granted. He was selfish and acted like Jason would always be there for him no matter how he treated him. Although they have had a rocky relationship due to Jason being into partying and Chris focusing on redeeming himself, these boys found their way back to each other. This teaches the lesson that not all friendships are perfect but what’s meant to be will always work out and everything happens for a reason.

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 is a perfect example of a character that faced light and darkness. Throughout the book he faced darkness in the form of partying. Drinking and doing drugs caused him to not see clearly and lose sight of what really matters. He made poor choices that were reflected in the relationships he formed and the ones he lost. Although Jason faced a lot of darkness, he eventually came into the light. Eventually, Jason found God after participating in the prayer service for his classmate Andyl. This allowed for him to rekindle old relationships such as his friendship with Chris and start to make positive decisions that would allow him to grow.


Montgomery Lake High #2: When Darkness Tries To Hide
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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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Samantha Waxman is a senior at Oliver Ames High School in Easton, MA. Some of her hobbies include cheering for her high school’s team, hanging out with friends, and spending time with her dog Rosie. Samantha’s favorite subject in school is history, and she is excited to start her senior year.

Samantha was asked a series of questions about young adult novel “The Battle for Innocence” by Stacy Padula, which is the 4th book in the Montgomery Lake High Series. Below are her responses.

Why is this book a helpful resource for teens?

This book is a helpful resource for teens because it sheds light on different sides of the teenage lifestyle. You can be more religious and low key or you can be a “party goer” and really enjoy that scene. Either way, it is very important to be your own person and not make choices based on other people. Know yourself and your limits no matter what setting. Throughout the book, you can see some people changing for others and it gives you the most uneasy feeling. The best way to make friends or relationships is to be yourself and show your true colors.

Who is your favorite character in this story and why?

My favorite character in this story is Jon. You get to see him in such an innocent light and I really like that side of him. You can tell how much he cared for Chantal even though she was going back and forth between him and Andy. I really liked how Jon approached the situations he was faced with and it could help some teens out there who are struggling with the same obstacles.

What was the most surprising thing about seeing the main characters’ lives in 7th grade?

I was surprised at how much relationships and dating meant to the majority of them. Of course not for Cathy, but they all seemed to like someone or already be dating. In 7th grade, a lot of the “relationships” are glorified friendships but they seemed to take it pretty seriously. Another thing that caught me off guard was the amount of drinking. In my opinion that is way too early to even look at a drink so I was taken back by it all and how they abused it in a sense.

Why is it important for readers to know the backstory shared in this novel?

It gives you a sense of who the characters used to be and how much they have changed due to certain obstacles or certain people. They are only freshman in the first couple of books but from 7th grade they really did change a lot.

 

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Jon Anderson and Chantal Kagelli are trying to live moral lives, but temptations are plaguing them in and out of school. Will they continue to be lights in their best friends’ lives or will they get pulled into the darkness?

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Written by Jenn Finnerty—Norwell, MA

The Right Person, by Stacy Padula, shows how a group of freshman at Montgomery Lake High face the challenges of high school. They go through dangerous situations and have to resist temptations. They realize what it is like to try to become popular and how you can lose friends easily. All of their situations are very relatable to many high school students.

The main character, Chris, realizes he has become dependent on drugs and alcohol and wants to change his actions, after being influenced by his new girlfriend, Courtney. While Chris is done partying, Courtney tries to fit in with his wild friends and finds herself going back on her morals in order to fit in and become popular.

The struggles in the novel are faced by many other high schoolers, and gives a good example of how to deal with struggles and how a student can change.

About Jenn Finnerty

Jenna Finnerty is a senior at Norwell High School in Norwell, Massachusetts. She is planning to major in nursing next year. Jenna has accrued years of experience as a cheerleader and gymnast. She also has a passion for traveling and looks forward to studying abroad in college.

Articles by Jenna:

Q&A on MLH #1 with Jenna Finnerty

About The Right Person

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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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Samantha is a senior at Oliver Ames High School in Easton, MA. Some of her hobbies include cheering for her high school’s team, hanging out with friends, and spending time with her dog Rosie. Samantha’s favorite subject in school is history, and she is excited to start her senior year.

Samantha read “The Aftermath” by Stacy Padula and was asked a series of questions about the novel. Her responses are below.

How has your opinion of Jason changed since reading the first MLH book?

When reading the first book, I didn’t think much of Jason. He was the typical high school drug addict and honestly was made out to seem much worse than his true self. In The Aftermath, you could tell how willing he was to change his ways. Jason did something he never thought he would do. I personally think it was half for himself and half for Jessie. To prove to her and her father how much he has come from where he was. An addict. He even proved himself to me as reader that he is capable of changing and with the help of God anything is possible to him.

Who do you think could benefit from reading this book and why?

There are lots of ways you could benefit from this book. It shows how you can use your faith (like Jason) to overcome certain difficulties you thought you never could. You can fail before you get it right. I learned even in the darkest of times you still have your friends and family to guide you into the right path.

What message does this book send to readers?

This book shows readers that again, it is okay to fail and have dark times. You are allowed to go through the struggle just like everyone else. But, there is a point in time where you need to try and get out of that darkness. Jason has shown us that he is willing to do so with the help of his closest friends. Even if it is something you never thought you were capable of doing, reach out and ask for help.

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About The Aftermath

At age fifteen, Jason Davids appears to have nearly any worldly thing that promises enjoyment at his disposal. Despite this, there is a persistent emptiness inside his heart. After failing to fill the void with achievements, relationships, and illicit substances, Jason finds himself intrigued by Jessie Robins: the daughter of a local pastor. How is it possible that she stands for everything his lifestyle opposes yet possesses the one thing he has been searching for all along?

img_6649Rebecca 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.

Rebecca read “The Aftermath” by Stacy Padula, which is the third book in the Montgomery Lake High young adult book series. Afterwards, she was asked to answer some questions about the characters and plot in order to give potential readers some background on the novel.

How has your opinion of Jason changed since reading the first MLH book?

In The Aftermath, we see jason make a great change in his life as compared to the way he was in the first book. I think that this change is certainly inspiring, as he makes the great but challenging switch from constantly partying and bullying peers to working on being kind and considerate, stopping his constant drug abuse, and turning to other outlets of happiness in his life. This change couldn’t have been easy, given both him and his older brothers have a certain “party animal” reputation to uphold, but he truly recognized that what he was doing was bad for him, both in the short turn and in the long run, and simply started from there. This is extremely inspiring and has made me see jason as a good example and role model for teens going through similar things.

Who do you think could benefit from reading this book and why?

I think that there are many different people who could benefit from reading this book. I think that kids like jason, who want to make a big switch in their lives, can use him as inspiration for their lifestyle change and reaffirmation that anything is possible and reputations / popularity dont matter if you are just going to be doing dangerous things with it. I also think that people who have friends like Jason could benefit from reading this book, because it can be a good example of how to be supportive in helping your friend through these difficult times.

What message does this book send to readers?

This book sends the message that anybody, regardless of reputation, can change, as long as they recognize what they are doing and are willing to fix it. Although Jason did have a strong bad boy reputation, he saw the light and knew what was good for him and what he wanted to do. With the help of his supportive friends, like Chris, he makes a change that many might have thought impossible at the beginning of the book. People can impress you, you just have to give them the time and patience they deserve to make a significant change.

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