ASU’s Nick Alva on the “Gripped” Book Series Characters & More

Article by Nicholas Alva, Tempe, AZ

Nick read “Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told”—a new young adult novel by Stacy A. Padula—and answered the below questions about the main characters. He also shared insight on what he is looking forward to uncovering in “Gripped Part 2,” which will be published later this year.

Who do you feel bad for and why?
Lisa Ankerman

I feel most bad for Lisa because of her home life. Her mother left her when she was young, and then her Father was killed by a drunk driver. She no longer has either parent and her brother was forced to put aside his career ambitions to take care of her.

Who frustrates you and why?

Jon frustrates me the most because of his erratic behavior and propensity to hurt others around him.

Who do you most relate to and why?
Bryan Sartelli

I most relate to Bryan. While he is more of an under the radar character, his inclination to avoid all the drama and focus on his own life when appropriate is something I resonate with. Going through Middle School and High School I never did drugs and practically never drank, which is the way he is.

Who do you like and why?

Along with Bryan because of the fact I can resonate with him, I really like Marc. He has set his priorities straight and is focused on being the best version of himself.

Who do you hate and why?

Hate may be a strong word, but I really dislike Luke because of the fact that he took Cathy to pick up drugs to deal at school from Taylor’s place.

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 am most intrigued by two story arcs. The first being what happened between Jason and Cathy that resulted in such a major fallout. The second being Taylor’s story that has now associated with the Boston Police. Will he ever play football again, or will the police investigation force him to take another path in life?

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?

Taylor’s story is beginning to evolve which I am excited to read more about. But what is left entirely unknown is what Jason did to Cathy that resulted in their messy breakup, and has left Jason consumed with guilt.

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.

In its release week, Gripped was ranked by Amazon as the #1 New Release for Children’s books about drug use on Kindle.

About Nicholas Alva
Nick Alva

Nicholas is sophomore at Arizona State University, where he studies Communications. Originally from Needham, Massachusetts, he is an avid sports fan and world traveler. His main interests lie in journalism, sports statistics, playing hockey, and attending athletic events. Nick hopes to have a career in the field of sports journalism.

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.