Lessons from Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

Trendsetter Blog Post

We asked some of our newest Teen Trendsetters to contribute blog posts on a topic that’s important to them in YA and life. Here’s High-School Senior Sheridan’s post! She can be found on Twitter @iamabookjunkie. 

Lessons from Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

Hi guys! My name is Sheridan, and this will be my very first post for Paper Lantern Lit as a Trendsetter! I thought you might want to know a little bit more about me, so I decided to theme my first blog post surrounding one of my favorite books: Black Widow: Forever Red.

I want to share some of the many lessons that Natasha’s character has helped me learn throughout her story in Margaret Stohl’s new novel, and I hope that you take some of these lessons and apply them to your own lives as well. With that, let’s see what you can learn from my favorite Avenger.

Sometimes, you have to put yourself first.

In Black Widow: Forever Red, Natasha has a mission that she needs to complete. She puts the need of the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. over the well-being of a new Marvel character that she crosses paths with, Ava Orlova. Sometimes it is completely acceptable to put your needs above those of other people. You should try to focus on your own problems before you begin to deal with anyone else’s.

But don’t ignore your team.


We all have the skills to make our own decisions, but sometimes we don’t make the best decision. In terms of superheroes, this is why it is great to have a team of superheroes to bounce ideas and strategies off of one another. But, if something doesn’t go your way, don’t run. Give people a chance to prove their ideas and work together with a team. You help them and they help you.

You won’t like everything that you do.


Sometimes, you have to deal with the bad things in life. There are moments where you have to have conversations you don’t want to have, re-live pieces of your past that you would rather not experience again, or just finish something you didn’t really want to do in the first place. In Natasha’s case, this meant revisiting her memories of the Red Room to try and save others from the same fate. Fighting villains, externally or internally, isn’t always easy.

And you won’t know the consequences of your actions.


That’s okay. But when these consequences suddenly appear to you (like they do for Natasha), you have to acknowledge that they exist. If you hurt someone, apologize. You didn’t mean to make the situation worse, but what you said or did hurt the people around you. Be aware of that when you make your decisions, and apologize if necessary.

But, you have people to help you get through the rough spots.


Even if you are an introvert, or simply “not a people-person”, having a team makes the difficult parts of life so much easier to get through. In Black Widow: Forever Red, Natasha uses Ava Orlova as her sidekick to get her mission completed, and the mission couldn’t be completed without her.

But remember, whatever happens, on a mission or on a normal day, it is all worth it in the end.


Everyone makes mistakes, and it is okay to make them. Every decision that we make and every action that we take is a learning experience. Natasha made several mistakes in this book (which I can’t go into detail about because I don’t want to spoil you!), but she didn’t let those mistakes stop her or her counterparts from completing her mission. Even if she doesn’t like to admit that she made mistakes in the first time, she learns from them, and will continue to apply them in the future.

All in all, civilian or superhero, I think there is a little something that each and every one of us can take from Natasha’s story.

Lots of love,


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