Gripped – now being adapted for TV!

In high school, Taylor Dunkin broke more records than any other athlete to step foot in Montgomery, Massachusetts. As a sophomore in college, he was ranked by ESPN as one of the NFL’s top 100 prospects. However, his aspirations came to a jarring halt when a season-ending injury sent him spiraling into a dark world of pain, depression, and addiction.

One year later, Taylor is a person of interest in a highly confidential investigation headed by the Boston Police Department. He has entangled himself in a crime ring notorious for pushing drugs on local college campuses. Montgomery’s hometown hero has fallen hard, and he’s taking a lot of people down with him.

Luke Davids has become the middleman between Taylor and teens in Montgomery who want to buy drugs. Freshmen Cathy Kagelli, Chris Dunkin, and Jason Davids are just a few of the students at Montgomery Lake High who have fallen victim to the benzos and opiates supplied by Taylor and Luke.  

When Taylor’s youngest brother Marc discovers that Taylor is behind the copious amount of pills circulating around his high school, he sets off to not only reverse the damage Taylor has caused, but also save his lifelong role model from becoming a casualty of America’s deadly opioid epidemic.

High Praise!

“Invigorating, engaging and a must read. The characters in The Gripped Series diligently tackle the essence of forces that can limit greatness within.”
– LaTonya Pinkard from the Netflix Original Series ‘Last Chance U’

“The Gripped Series is fantastic for anyone looking to learn about the dangers of substance abuse. This is an essential read for those looking to protect themselves against peer pressure and drugs.”
– Emily Han, College of William & Mary


“One of the main benefits of reading Gripped Part 2: Blindsided, as well as the entire Gripped series, is that it not only shows the horrors of substance abuse, but also reveals the buildup to it. Blindsided depicts not just the worst days, but the first days. Through the story, teens are able to learn about decisions and behaviors that can lead to drug abuse. Throughout the story, the social lives of the different characters intertwine with each other, creating drama, conflict, and new friendships, which makes Blindsided a fascinating read.” 
– Michael Farinacci, University of Notre Dame


“Gripped 5: Taylor’s Story depicts what actually happens behind the scenes of drug addiction, how it can change a person, and affect even their family and friends. If you are looking for a book which will both engage and educate you, look no further than Gripped 5: Taylor’s Story.”
– Isabelle Semas, Best-selling author of ‘The Crash’


“This novel is an engaging and meaningful read, ideal for high school freshmen, while also being very applicable to adults wanting to know more about teenage drug abuse. Gripped Part 4 displays the many drawbacks of taking drugs, including losing friends, girlfriends, and your thoughts on your own life. As a result, Padula effectively shows the extreme efforts needed to begin overcoming an addiction in order to begin a new life; this is shown to be very hard to complete. This would hopefully influence all young adults to avoid using drugs in order to prevent going through this troublesome process, and to avoid losing the trust and relationships with loved ones and friends.”
– Kyle Banker, University of Miami


“Stacy Padula’s masterful control of a bifurcated storyline keeps the reader intrigued in two chronologies of events. The characters grow richer with each passing novel, as the depth of relationships between them approaches reality.”
– Mackenzie Wells, University of Georgia


MONTGOMERY LAKE HIGH (5 books)

Growing up in the shadow of two NFL-destined cousins, Chris Dunkin has high hopes for his own future in football. However, a drug addiction threatens to destroy everything he has worked hard to attain. When Chris meets Courtney Angeletti—the mayor’s straightedge Christian daughter—he believes she could be the source of inspiration he needs to overcome his destructive lifestyle.

Courtney, however, has other ideas.

The desire to rebel has been tugging on Courtney’s heartstrings for some time, and Chris’s “bad-boy” reputation draws her to him like a moth to a flame. After all, he is a central part of the most popular clique in her high school. Will Chris pull Courtney away from her faith or will Courtney inspire him to overcome his rebellious lifestyle?

“I recommend The Right Person to teenagers entering into or already in high school. There are important lessons in this book about the impacts of peer pressure and the ensnaring trap of drugs and alcohol. Under all the darkness of painful heartbreak and mistakes, there is a glimmer of the greatest hope available to mankind.” – Mackenzie Wells, University of Georgia

“The Right Person 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, University of Notre Dame


On The Right Path (3 books)

Join Jayden, Jordan, their little sister Jasmine, and their friend Shai as the group experiences their first basketball camp and learns lessons about life along the way. Parents will love this uplifting book, which encourages children to love others and teaches the importance of making people feel welcome and loved. 

NBA Coach Brett Gunning and award-winning author Stacy Padula have teamed up to create the On The Right Path (OTRP) book series. OTRP is also a non-profit organization created by Brett Gunning to guide youth basketball players on the right path to achieving their maximum potential through education, mentorship, and skill development. The core principles of OTRP are guidance, inspiration, and creativity. The book series focuses on six life-skill pillars: Loving Others, Being Unselfish, Staying Healthy & Strong, Showing Respect, Showing Forgiveness, and Having Fun.

“The On The Right Path book series is a slam dunk! The stories are rich with important lessons that kids will enjoy reading. It belongs in every home.” – Mike D’Antoni, NBA Coach

“The On The Right Path books belong in every school, library, and home, as they teach invaluable life lessons to children in an entertaining and relatable way.” – Kevin McHale, NBA Hall of Famer

“The On The Right Path book series is one that should be read in every household. The life lessons shared through entertaining stories of basketball and faith are invaluable to young minds.” – Joel Osteen, Pastor of Lakewood Church


About the books

About the characters

About the author

Book reviews

Articles by teen readers