Posts Tagged ‘ya fiction’


Review of “The Battle for Innocence”

Written by Max Alva – Drexel University Class of 2020
Padula Cover Web“Jon Anderson’s heart pounded heavily against his chest as he opened Chris Dunkin’s front door. He had walked through that door thousands of times before, but never during one of Taylor Dunkin’s ‘ragers.’ As Jon stepped into Chris’s living room, the odor of beer besieged his nostrils. Chris’s home—the normally calm spot, perfect for watching Patriot’s games—resembled a whirlwind.” In The Battle for Innocence by Stacy A. Padula, a Young Adult/Realistic Fiction novel, the main character, Jon Anderson, is thrown into just what the quote above says: a whirlwind. The story is set in western Massachusetts, and is a back-story to the Montgomery Lake High book series.
Jon, a seventh grader at Montgomery Lake Middle School, is the only Christian in his group of friends. As a result of the wild parties thrown by his best friend’s older cousin, Jon fears his closest friends are getting pulled into a world of temptation. He is stuck in an emotional battle, torn between pulling away from them and staying as a good influence in their lives. “‘God help me,’ Jon muttered aloud, hurdling over a large rock that lay at the edge of the lake. My heart is filled with conflict. I don’t want to separate myself from my friends. I don’t want to give up on them. I know you can change them. I know they don’t have to follow Taylor Dunkin’s path. Please intervene…I can’t abandon them. They need me. I love them. Please put someone in my life that can hold me accountable. I just want a Christian friend who will be able to understand my struggles.”
Meanwhile, Jon’s friend from church, Chantal Kagelli, finds herself in a similar dilemma across town. Chantal, a seventh grader at Sterling Middle School, has more than just one boy chasing after her. While her Class President, Andy, is trying to win her over with notes, cookies, and all the right words, her heart is aching over her interest in Jon. Chantal is petrified of her feelings for Jon, and decides that she should try to fight them off by getting closer to Andy. Despite many warnings from her twin sister that Andy could be a bad influence in her life, Chantal decides that it is more important to shine as a good influence in Andy’s life than to worry about the dangerous path he could take her down. Chantal finds herself in a whirlwind of her own, as she learns a life-changing lesson about the teenage world outside of church! The Battle for Innocence is filled with realistic party scenes and tempting situations that teenagers face during middle school and high school. The way the book is written allows readers to get inside Jon and Chantal’s heads and relate to their internal battles.
Out of all of Stacy A. Padula’s books that I have read, The Battle for Innocence is my favorite. It overflows with valuable background information about the main characters of the Montgomery Lake High series that makes the characters even more relatable and dynamic. I recommend this book to anyone age eleven and up. It has a lot of strong messages about peer pressure and making good decisions. I think anyone who has read the Montgomery Lake High books should read The Battle for Innocence to gain a deeper understanding of how Jon, Chris, and their friends got into so much trouble at such young ages. To learn more about the causes of teenage substance abuse and the gateway to addiction join Jon and Chantal in their battle for innocence.
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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

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.





Can faith and reason co-exist? At age fifteen, Jason Davids appears to have it all: high grades, popular friends, a beautiful girlfriend, and 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: a rather quiet girl, who is 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?






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


Written by Charlotte Moynihan

The second book in the Montgomery Lake High Series, When Darkness Tries to Hide, continues the journey of the students at MLH as they venture further into the depths of high school. After following the stories of Chris and Courtney in The Right Person, the focus shifts to Chris’s wayward, childhood best-friend of almost a decade: Jason Davids.

When Jason is first introduced, he is dealing with many of the same challenges that Chris once faced. Already addicted to multiple prescription drugs, Jason has fallen in with a dangerous and unsupportive crowd. A tragic accident points Jason onto a new path, and he begins to realize how manipulative and unkind his companions are. All the while, Jason struggles to reconcile his dark past with his desire for a meaningful life. Throughout the novel, the reader gains insight into Jason’s true personality and the potential he has to be not only a good person, but also a faithful one. However, because of the darkness surrounding him, he struggles to see the benefit of leading any other lifestyle than his current, party-filled one.

I recommend this book to teens and adults. Jason’s struggles are relatable to anyone who has ever deviated from their beliefs or has struggled to make the right choices.



Written by Charlotte Moynihan, NCDS Class of 2018

The Right Person, the first book in the Montgomery Lake High book series by Stacy Padula, chronicles the difficulties faced all too commonly by high school students. As the story follows a group of friends – some new, some old – as they navigate the beginnings of freshman year, the reader is quickly drawn to two of the main characters, Courtney and Chris.

All throughout middle school and even the summer leading up to ninth grade, Courtney is a person of integrity and great faith. She has no issue standing up for her religious beliefs and saying no to the peer pressure to indulge in drugs and alcohol. However, like many new high schoolers, Courtney is drawn away from her convictions and swept into the world of popularity and the pressures of fitting in. Consumed with the desire to be liked by her new boyfriend Chris and his party going friends, Courtney abandons everything that she once stood for. Chris, on the other hand, begins the story as a diehard party goer and is rarely sober. However, upon reflection on his own life Chris begins to see God in his life again – not through his own actions, but the influence another person has on his life.

This story very accurately details the pressures teenagers face and the feeling that fitting in and loving God may not seem to go together. I think many high schoolers, especially those feeling consumed by the constant social pressure, will be able to relate to the ups and downs the characters in The Right Person face. Their struggles with the sudden prevalence of drugs and alcohol in Montgomery Lake is very real to new high schoolers suddenly faced with these difficult choices. I would recommend this book to all teenagers, but especially those struggling with drug or alcohol abuse or those who feel they might be at risk of future abuse.