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Review of “The Battle for Innocence”

Written by Max Alva – Drexel University Class of 2020
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“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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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. Characters include Chantal and Cathy Kagelli, identical twins whose similarities stop at face value (think good vs. evil, naive vs. manipulative); Chris Dunkin, a talented football player whose success is threatened by alcohol and drug abuse; Courtney Angeletti, the mayor’s straightedge daughter who cannot deny her attraction to Chris’ life of the party reputation; and Bryan Sartelli, Courtney’s loyal longterm boyfriend who happens to be best friends with Chris. Whether reading this novel as a teen or an adult, readers will be entertained, intrigued, and inspired by its dynamic characters and events.

Amazon Best Seller March & December 2016

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Author Stacy Padula was featured, along with KM Doherty, and a couple other young adult authors at B&N’s first B-Fest Teen Festival on Saturday 6/11 in Leominster, Mass.

   

    
 

 

Author Stacy A. Padula will be featured at Barnes & Noble’s 2016 B-Fest Teen Book Festival in Leominster, Massachusetts on June 11th. She will be signing books from 12-1:30pm and speaking with teens about her young adult book series.

 

About the Author
Stacy Padula, a native of Pembroke, Massachusetts, has accrued years of experience working with adolescents. She has been a mentor, life coach, youth group leader, and private educational consultant with extensive experience in the fields of college counseling, tutoring, standardized test preparation, and Christian counseling.
Stacy’s first novel, “The Right Person,” was published in 2010. At that time, she was the program director of JBG Educational Group: a company of about thirty educators who work closely with young adults and their families on everything under the academic blanket. She served as JBG’s program director/director of operations for multiple years and helped the founder/president develop many facets of the company, including curriculum. Throughout her time at JBG, she continued working on the Montgomery Lake High book series. Although the series is “young adult fiction,” it is closely based on realistic situations that high school students encounter.
In 2011, “When Darkness Tries to Hide” was published, followed by “The Aftermath” (Padula’s personal favorite) in 2013. In 2014, both “The Battle for Innocence” and “The Forces Within” were released, and in 2015, all five books hit the shelves of Barnes & Noble. For Stacy, it was a dream come true to see her books for sale in the popular, mainstream bookstore.
Background: Stacy was a Presidential Scholar at Wentworth and on the Dean’s List. Additionally, she was featured in Who’s Who Among American High School Students and in Cambridge Who’s Who for Young Professionals. She also won the Academic Achievement Award for having the highest GPA in Miss Teen Southern New England. In 2009, she became a certified academic tutor through the International Tutor Association.
Stacy wrote the Montgomery Lake High books in the hopes of preparing teens to face the “war zone” that is high school–-to help kids deal with the stress and peer pressure, and to encourage them to “steer a straight path, pursue God, and not fall for the false promises of the world.”
In her spare time, Stacy enjoys skiing, going to Bruins games, reading about Psychology, taking her dogs to the beach, and spending time with her family, boyfriend, and friends.

 

Buy Books | About the BooksAbout the AuthorStacy’s Blog

 

  
The Kindle version of “The Aftermath” is on sale this week for only $3.99! Click here to purchase at a discount or start reading a sample for free. 

Fun Fact: 

Switchfoot lyrics were a huge inspiration to the plot of this story. 

Synopsis: 

For the past two years, Jason Davids has lived a charmed life. Blessed with good looks, a popular girlfriend, quick wit, and a wealthy family, Jason has everything he could want–but everything is not enough. There is emptiness–something unsettled in his soul. Partying, drugs, sex, and alcohol provide temporary relief, but the haunting emptiness always returns once he is sober. He can’t stand being sober. When a tornado strikes his town, Jason’s drug dependency puts one of his classmates, Andy Rosetti, in danger. After Andy is taken away on a stretcher, the guilt and regret that Jason feels lead him to a paradoxical place of darkness and illumination. Jason soon realizes that there is more than one life at risk in Montgomery and a stronger force at work than nature. 

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Stacy Padula’s TV interview with Brit from Boston’s Bosslady News June 6, 2015