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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.


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?



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