Looking Ahead to Gripped Part 2 with Kyle Banker

There are a few different storylines running through Gripped Part 1 because it is setting up the rest of the series. What storyline do you find the most interesting and why?

I think that the storyline between Cathy and Jason is most compelling to me because of their dual perspective of how they see the drama surrounding Montgomery. When they first meet, they both seem to bond over what is happening around them, such as couple and sibling problems. As the story goes on, I like how Jason transforms to become not only Cathy’s boyfriend, but also the primary person that she talks to about issues like Chantal and Jon. As a result, their dialogue on the phone and in-person sets up to be a nice middle piece for all of the action that happens around the book. But for the most part, all of these things combine to create a unique and strong relationship that had a very interesting beginning.

Gripped Part 1 sets up the rest of the series but leaves a lot of things “hanging.” What are you most curious to uncover by reading Gripped Part 2?

I hope to figure out why Jason and Cathy broke apart in Part 2 of the Gripped Series. In my eyes, they seemed like a perfect couple: they both shared similar personality traits, wanted to spend time with one another, and builded off each other in times of need. It didn’t seem like they had any flaws in their relationship based upon the flashback portion of the book, but obviously something happened between those years that has yet to be uncovered. Could this be due to a problem with drugs? Did Taylor’s investigation have an influence on their relationship? Nevertheless, I am very excited to discover the reason and dive deeper into this intriguing storyline.

About Kyle Banker

Kyle is a Senior at Beaver Country Day School. His favorite subjects at school 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.

Preface from the Author of Gripped

To Readers Across America:

Each day, more and more young adults fall prey to substance abuse. As an educator who works mainly with high school students, I was moved to write a book series for teenagers that shares how it happens—how good kids become drug addicts, how downward spirals start, how harmless fun can quickly turn into a life-threatening addiction.

The story told in the series is raw and realistic. I did not censor much of the content, for I believe the truth is important and powerful. In our world in which twelve-year-olds overdose in middle school bathrooms, it is time for authors to stop sugarcoating their content to appease schoolboards. I am aware that this book may be banned by public schools because of the harsh realities portrayed between its covers. However, I did not write any part of the Gripped book series in hopes of it being taught in English classrooms. The truth is far too controversial for that, even though the events depicted in Gripped happen daily across America.

The series portrays the story of Taylor Dunkin who was an acclaimed college athlete, seemingly destined for the NFL but sidelined by injury. His depression leads him to begin abusing his pain medication and eventually become a drug dealer to support his habit. He supplies drugs to high school students from his hometown, which leads to other characters becoming ensnared. The story shows how drug abuse can skew individuals’ values and change their perspectives. It follows other characters such as Luke Davids, Cathy Kagelli, Chris Dunkin, and Jason Davids (also featured in my Montgomery Lake High book series) whose lives have been affected by Taylor’s decisions. It shows the psychological, biological, and environmental reasons behind why people often begin experimenting with drugs and how slippery the slope can be. Most importantly, this book series educates readers on how people can pick up the pieces of their lives and recover from such a horrific epidemic.

I have written five other young adult novels that address teenage social issues. They comprise the Montgomery Lake High book series, which is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Over the past eight years, the books have frequently been on the Amazon top 100 best seller list for young adult books that address substance abuse. In the fall of 2017, four of the books were top 10 best sellers within the category. Considering the sharp rise in prescription drug overdoses and opiate abuse, I feel that this book series is needed now more than ever. Please join me in helping to protect the youth from opiate and benzodiazepine abuse by recommending Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told to a teenager you know.

Published by Author Stacy A. Padula

Stacy Padula has spent the last 14 years working daily with teenagers as a college counselor, mentor, and life coach. She was named "Top Inspirational Author of the Year" for 2022 by the International Association of Top Professionals (New York, NY). In 2021, she was broadcast on the famous Reuters Building in Times Square as "Empowered Woman of the Year." Her Gripped book series is currently being adapted for TV by Emmy-winning producer Mark Blutman. She is the founder and CEO of Briley & Baxter Publications: a publishing company that donates a portion of its proceeds to animal rescues each month. She has edited and published a variety of titles, including Boston Bruins Anthem Singer Todd Angilly and Rachel Goguen's The Adventures of Owen & the Anthem Singer, LaTonya Pinkard of Netflix's Last Chance U's Nate & His Magic Lion, and former NHL player Norm Beaudin's memoir The Original: Living Life Through Hockey. Stacy resides in Plymouth, Massachusetts with her husband Tim and two miniature dachshunds, Briley and Baxter.