Written by Sophia Coggeshall, Marshfield, Massachusetts
As a young adult, I can relate to Gripped by Stacy A. Padula because I have witnessed firsthand some of the same issues within my own high school and friend group that the characters in the story have been through. I am at an age where the curiosity of experimentation along with peer pressure drive people to try things and do things that often lead to difficult and even dangerous consequences, and I have seen how one bad decision can lead to an immense amount of turmoil, as experienced by several of the characters in Gripped. I can also relate to the parts of the novel that discuss the pressure that comes along with college, especially for those who are recruited to college to play sports. I have several friends who are either already committed, or in the process of committing to college for sports who have to be extremely careful and aware of what they do for they could lose their opportunity to attend and play for a college in an instant, just like Taylor after his senior prank.
I recommend Gripped to young adults in middle school and high school because this book addresses topics such as relationships, drugs, and alcohol that most books recommended for this age group don’t go into enough detail about. With the opioid epidemic at an all time high, it is important that teens educate themselves on the dangers that drugs bring, and this book does a great job at providing an in depth look on the consequences of getting involved in dangerous, illegal substances. I would also recommend this book to parents of teens so they can get a better understanding of how to deal with issues regarding addiction, or simply just issues regarding their childrens’ relationships. By reading about this story of young adults who got caught up in drugs, parents and teens will be better informed and will hopefully be more comfortable to have open conversations about the topic.
I really enjoyed how the story started off by introducing the characters in the present time but then flashbacked to prior years to go into more detail about the origins of the conflict at hand. Rather than simply presenting the story in chronological order, the reader becomes aware of the drastic issues some of the characters are facing before learning about the background of the situation. This in return intensifies the story for the reader knows the outcome and the long term effects of the decisions that the characters are making. By organizing the story in this way, the overwhelming cause and effect of situations such as keeping secrets from friends or trying drugs for the first time are emphasized.
This book sends a message that illustrates the harmful, devastating impact drugs and alcohol can have on young adults. It also sends a message that goes against common stereotypes by showing how good kids who do well in school and are involved in sports can get wrapped up in drugs. The book reveals how one harmless decision can snowball into a life-threatening addiction.
About Sophia Coggeshall
Sophia is a senior at Marshfield High School in Marshfield, Massachusetts. She is a competitive Irish Step dancer who has competed several times at the Regional, National, and World Championships, and she also plays on the Varsity Field Hockey team for her high school. With a great passion for math and science in the classroom, she looks forward to studying engineering in college.
More by Sophia:
About 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.