Posts Tagged ‘teen books’

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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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Written by Rebecca Ronning, New York, NY

High school is supposed to be an open space of learning and change, where you are meant to respect and support your peers, no matter what they may be going through. Unfortunately, it is not always like this. People tend to judge others based on prior reputations, social status, looks, pretty much everything you could think of to separate one crowd, one person from another. “The Aftermath” by Stacy Padula represents party animal Jason David’s’ experience with trying to change for the better in the extremely restricting environment of Montgomery Lake High.

In “The Aftermath,” Jason takes a step back to look at his life and analyze what he does on a daily basis. At 15 years old, Jason is a popular jock, who gets good grades, but most importantly, loves partying. He recognizes that this constant party lifestyle is dangerous at such a young age, and decides to make a switch in his mindset. He soon realizes that because of his reputation, some might be skeptical of the possibility of his transformation. Throughout the book, Jason is tested with rumors and temptation, but he comes out victorious and serves as a good example to not only his friends, but to those who didn’t believe he could do it.

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About Rebecca Ronning

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.

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?

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

The way that Chris treats Jason in this book teaches the reader that much can be forgiven and people can grow and change for the better, and that the best way to foster said growth is through support, patience, and understanding. It is understood from the last book that Chris and Jason didn’t leave on very good terms, due to Jason not being too accepting of Chris’s new ideals. Throughout “When Darkness Tries to Hide,” however, Chris was patient with jason and did his best to support him, because he understands that is what friends do for eachother.

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

I think that Jason changed for the better when he came to realize the good that having faith in something can bring into your life. It is important to recognize that everybody can benefit from some sort of grounding thing that they can go back to when they feel like they are getting a little bit out of control. Jason, being only a freshman in high school, is certainly making the, while difficult, smart choice in looking to find an outlet instead of abusing drugs at such a young age.

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? 

The last chapter represents Jason and his coming into light, realizing that living a life in darkness is not truly living. Jason had previously lived in darkness, and found comparing himself to others to justify his actions easier than really confronting himself and realizing that what he was doing would only bring temporary joy. Jason’s breakthrough in the final chapter was brought about by recognizing that putting his effort into something positive made him feel better than doing drugs. It brought him closer with his friends, family, and with his religion, and he was extremely thankful for that.

What positive message does this book convey to readers?

This book is a good reminder that people change, and that even just coming to the conclusion that you are not content with the way you treat yourself or others is an imperative step in making a much bigger change in your overall lifestyle

 

Learn More about When Darkness Tries to Hide
Other Books by Stacy Padula

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Written by Rebecca Ronning—NY, NY

In the wake of a disaster, it is only natural for communities to come together in an effort to rebuild what was brought down. The residents of Montgomery seems to take this sentiment to heart in Stacy Padula’s second book, “When Darkness Tries to Hide.” After a devastating tornado hits, one of the students at montgomery lake high is put in a coma, and an unlikely group of his classmates set up something for the community in his honor.
This book focuses on Jason, a popular jock and avid party-goer, as he begins to come to a realization that his reputation as the “life of the party” will only give him so much joy. This book acts as a good reminder that people change, and that even just coming to the conclusion that you are not content with the way you treat yourself or others is an imperative step in making a much bigger change in your overall lifestyle.
Learn More About When Darkness Tries to Hide
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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.


October 25, 2018—Easton, Massachusetts

1. 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 met with Pastor Mark and I feel like that really turned things around for him. Pastor Mark could relate to the drug abuse and real struggle Jason is trying to get over. By doing this, he is essentially pulling Jason out of that darkness and showing him the light. He is letting him know that it’s okay to be in this dark state but eventually we need to find a cure. Jason has a very good support system and his friends really want to see him do well.

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

Jason to me is the stereotypical high school boy who obviously loves to party. Throughout the book you get to see his struggles which we didn’t get a glimpse at in the first book. He struggles with extreme drugs and you can tell deep down in his heart he is trying to be better. I was hoping he would break it off with Cathy and pursue Pastor Marks daughter. Hopefully that would really get him on the right. His intentions are good and I felt like I had to cut him slack throughout the book.

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

Tough love is the perfect way to describe the way Chris treats Jason. Chris wants to see Jason do good and get him out of the rut he is in. While this might not be a good idea for Chris considering he is only two months sober, he is willing to try and show his friend the light. While spreading the word about Andy’s service, Chris was adamant that Jason stay with him and not “go home to eat and nap” which I personally think that really demonstrated how much Chris cares even if they aren’t as close as they once were.

4. What positive message does this book convey to readers?

I believe the message is that it is okay to be in the darkness like Jason and its okay to have those weak moments. Eventually in life you need to pull yourself through and you don’t even have to do it on your own. There are so many people to turn to such a family and friends. I think every one of the characters was in a dark place at one point in the book. Whether it be dealing with Andy, relationship problems or drug abuse they all struggled. But it makes you think of how many people go through this struggle, knowing you’re not alone, it is a positive thing to me.

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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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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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Easton, Massachusetts, September 11, 2018: written by Samantha Waxman, Oliver Ames High School

When Darkness Tries to Hide by Stacy Padula is based around the same group of friends as the first book but this time, with a different struggle in mind. One of their close friends has been injured and the story is about how each one of them cope.
This book touches on the struggle to get out of the darkness and back into the light but also the great feeling of having an amazing support system to help you when in need. It makes you feel grateful for the friends you have and makes you want to help others in their times of need. While struggle with the injury of that friend, Jason, one of the main characters in this book, has a tough time with just that. But, by the end of the book he realizes just how great of friends he has and starts to follow his faith.
It is an amazing transition and overall the book is very relatable. I would again, recommend this to all teenagers whether you are starting or finishing high school. It is a great read to remind of all the good you have in your life even when darkness strikes.
-Samantha Waxman Class of 2019

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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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