Posts Tagged ‘teen fiction’

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.


9781628578966_Padula_CV_022018

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.

amazon-buy-button_2

 

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

IMG_4021

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
IMG_3101
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?

amazon-buy-button_2

 

 

img_6490

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.

9781628570571_Padula_CV_022318

amazon-buy-button_2

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.

9781628570571_Padula_CV_022318

 

img_6490IMG_3101

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.

IMG_3101

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?

amazon-buy-button_2

 

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).

IMG_4500

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.
amazon-buy-button_2

 

img_6490

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

IMG_3101

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?

amazon-buy-button_2

 

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. Below she shares her opinion of the first book in the young adult book series: Montgomery Lake High #1 – The Right Person by Stacy Padula.


Rebecca Says:
Going into your first year of high school is a historically stressful, confusing, scary experience. Surrounded by new faces, new perspectives, and new ideas, it is easy for a young impressionable teenager to be tempted to go against their morals and change themselves in an effort to fit in and make a good impression on their classmates, even if they know it’s not the right thing to do. The Right Person, by Stacy Padula, perfectly represents this internal conflict by entering the minds of a group of incoming freshman at Montgomery Lake High as they come across new obstacles in their social lives, much unlike what they experienced in middle school.
The Right Person is centered around a group of friends, all connected by one thing – a shared love of partying. The story focuses primarily on Chris, an athlete who is known for being the “life of the party,” and his new girlfriend Courtney, a girl with a strong moral compass and strong religious beliefs. Each go through almost opposite changes in an effort to please the other, as Courtney begins to attend more and more parties and become closer with Chris’ friend group, while Chris decides to stop partying, getting him in trouble with his “best friends.”
This book is a good portrayal of something that most high schoolers experience at one point or another, and it would definitely be helpful for middle schoolers who are currently preparing for their high school experience. The Right Person serves as a reminder that you can break off from the crowd, and if your friends make you do something that you don’t necessarily feel comfortable with, you shouldn’t feel pressured to because these people obviously don’t have your best interest in mind. Just keep being yourself and following your own path, and you will find the right person.
-Rebecca Ronning, Brooklyn Technical High School, Class of 2020

Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person

IMG_4500-0

As the “life of the party,” Chris Dunkin begins high school with a responsibility to live up to his reputation; deep down inside, however, he wants more than that. When he begins dating Mayor Angeletti’s youngest daughter, Courtney, two worlds collide. The twist ending will not disappoint!

amazon-buy-button_2

img_6514
Montana Aldridge of Plymouth, Massachusetts is a rising senior at Plymouth North High School. She was asked to share her thoughts on Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person – a young adult novel by Stacy Padula. The Montgomery Lake High book series addresses teenage social issues commonly faced in high school and middle school. Topics such as identity, morality, substance abuse, and sexuality are explored in the novels. Currently, there are five books in the series, but Padula is working on a spin off series, set to hit the shelves in 2019.

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

-I relate to multiple characters in this story. I come from a very religious family and have the same morals as Chantal and Courtney (the beginning and end Courtney). I try hard to keep my faith and use it to strengthen me and lead me to make the right decisions, but sometimes my “id” gets the best of me. Having a lot of different types of friends is also hard, because you want to have fun with them and partake in the same activities as them, but when they make bad choices, like Jason and Alyssa, it’s hard.

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

-I believe Courtney, like all humans, felt the desire to fit in. Some people are lucky enough to be surrounded by genuinely good, humble people with strong morals, while others, akin to Courtney, are not as fortunate and are surrounded by people with little morals. When Courtney decided to break up with Bryan for Chris, I think she was more interested in who would bring her more friends, and who was more popular. While Chris was ultimately attracted to Courtney because of her morals, Courtney was attracted to Chris because of of his social status, which caused Courtney to lose focus of her morals.

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

-Although the next books may shed even more light on this theme, I do think Coming of Age was a major theme throughout the book. All of the characters were faced with decisions that arise as you grow older. It may have seemed that characters such as Jason, Alyssa and Cathy were the older more mature ones on the surface because of how they talked and because of the party’s they attended, but by the end of the book it was clear they had not come of age. Characters such as Courtney and Chris are the ones who truly came of age, when they had the conversation about religion and morals, during their breakup.


Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person
IMG_4500-0
As the “life of the party,” Chris Dunkin begins high school with a responsibility to live up to his reputation; deep down inside, however, he wants more than that. When he begins dating Mayor Angeletti’s youngest daughter, Courtney, two worlds collide. The twist ending will not disappoint!

amazon-buy-button_2

 

IMG_6044-0
Q. How do you personally relate to the story?
A. I personally can relate to this story in many different ways. In my career as a student at Norwell High School I have personally witnessed underage drinking and drug use during school hours and after school hours. There is also in the book the people that drink and do hard drugs are the most popular kids. Which is also true at my school and many other schools around Massachusetts.
Q. What is one major theme you noticed running through the book?
A. One major theme that I noticed while reading this book is the use of drugs to feel socially accepted. You see in this book Chris who is just starting high school and is helplessly addicted to drugs, drinking, and smoking. He decides to quit all of that and leave his darker ways in the past to try and pursue his hopes in football even if it means leaving his girlfriend behind.
Q. Why do you believe Courtney sacrificed her morals?
A. Her friends had influenced her to becoming the person that she is now. She had always put her religion first but now as the peer pressure started to amount on her shoulders she gave in to the bad ways and habits of her friends.

IMG_4500-0
As the “life of the party,” Chris Dunkin begins high school with a responsibility to live up to his reputation; deep down inside, however, he wants more than that. When he begins dating Mayor Angeletti’s youngest daughter, Courtney, two worlds collide. The twist ending will not disappoint!

amazon-buy-button_2