Written by Kyle Banker
March 13, 2019, Needham, Massachusetts—Within days of its release, Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy A. Padula was ranked by Amazon as the #1 New Release in its category. The Gripped book series was written to educate young adults about the perils of prescription drug abuse. Kyle Banker, a senior at Beaver Country Day School, read the newly released young adult novel and answered a series of questions about the plot, theme, and characters. Below are some of his insightful responses.
Who would you recommend Gripped Part 1 to and why?
I would first recommend Gripped Part 1 by Stacy Padula to all incoming intermediate and secondary school students as I believe it is very important to get this target audience exposed to topics such as substance abuse. Furthermore, in the United States, there is a steep upward trend in drug usage across all ages, mostly originating from tweens and teenagers. By reading Gripped Part 1, these age groups will hopefully realize all the negative drawbacks that come with taking drugs, and as a result, steer away from substances to maintain a healthy academic and social career. I would also recommend this novel to adults across the United States because it is very intriguing to see this problem emerge from a student’s perspective. Normally, teenagers usually shield this type of information from their parents and family, so finally being able to view the problem from the wanted point-of-view would be very valuable for all adults.
How do you as a young adult relate to the story?
As a senior in high school and an impending college freshman, I directly relate to the Gripped series as I have been exposed to drugs and alcohol, both from attending parties that have had substances and having friends/family who occasionally use substances. In addition, my generation has been constantly educated and reminded about why teenagers should not use drugs due to the high likelihood of addiction. From my perspective, I can connect the plot and characters of Gripped to my own environment, as the novel focuses on characters around my age, in order to understand the consequences of substance abuse and to spread this awareness to my friends and family.
What did you like best about the story?
Specifically, I like the diverse amount of relationships that are present in the novel. Every character in the novel seems to be connected in a web-like manner, and I find it very interesting to observe all of the unique connections and dialogue from character-to-character and from character-to-group. Also, I like how one’s actions in the novel can affect the social life of all characters in the book, which is evident near the ending of Gripped. This encourages the argument that even though all the characters in Gripped greatly differ from one another in terms of personality and friend groups, everyone has some sort of relation within the town of Montgomery, Massachusetts.
About Kyle Banker
Kyle is a Senior at Beaver Country Day School. His favorite subjects include Biology, English, and Entrepreneurship. Some of his hobbies include playing soccer and hockey, volunteering, and being with friends and family. Kyle plans to study Biological Sciences in college.
Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told
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 knee injury and two surgeries left him sidelined.
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 opiates, cocaine, and benzodiazepines on local college campuses.
When Taylor’s younger brother Marc discovers that Taylor is behind the copious drug supply circulating around Montgomery Lake 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.