New Young Adult Novel Accurately Represents the Hardships Commonly Faced by Teenagers

Article by Jennifer O’Sullivan, Dover, MA

Gripped Part 2: Blindsided by Stacy Padula, is yet another book in the Gripped series that accurately represents the hardships faced by many teenagers. This book also shows how substance use that starts for fun or for experimentation can turn into a dangerous habit that changes every aspect of a person’s life. 

Although some of these topics are sensitive in terms of the explicit content, I think that this is the sad reality in many middle and high schools across the country. Oftentimes, especially in middle school, young kids are naive and believe that they can try addictive substances for fun or to impress older kids and then just stop when they want to, but this can often and easily turn into a dangerous addiction. It is easy for a school to ban these books due to the content that isn’t necessarily kid-friendly, but this creates an ignorance on this topic within a group of people that need to know the most about it. I think that middle and high school students should be able to educate themselves on these “taboo” subjects in a safe way, like through reading a book, instead of experimenting on their own. 

I think that kids can learn many lessons by reading Gripped Part 2, from how to handle relationships to how different substances and choices can change a person’s life. This book can show young kids that a choice that may seem fun and occasional can cause a downward spiral in all aspects of your life, from sports and school to relationships with friends and family. Gripped Part 2 uses characters like Chris and Taylor to show that taking drugs to have fun and be the life of the party can have extremely negative effects. Taylor lost his football career and distanced himself completely from his family, while Chris lost his relationship with Lisa, the person he cared about the most. They both realized, after the damage had been done, that their drug use had not been worth it because of what they lost. Additionally, drugs complicated so many relationships throughout this book. Chris felt himself distancing from his family and Taylor almost completely lost contact with everyone he loved. Additionally, selling drugs, like Luke did, caused tension within his friend group with people who he’s been friends with for years, like Marc. Gripped Part 2 shows the far-reaching effects of substance abuse, especially in places where it may not be expected, like friendships. 


Jennifer O’Sullivan, a senior at Dover-Sherborn High School, enjoys reading, playing the piano, spending time with friends and doing volunteer work. Jennifer leads her school’s community service club, runs on her school’s cross country and track teams and loves to travel, especially to Ireland where she spends time with friends and family.

Articles by Jennifer:

Why “The Right Person” is a Perfect Book for Teens

“The Right Person” by Stacy Padula Shows How Faith Can Benefit Teenagers

Jennifer O’Sullivan of Dover-Sherborn High School on “When Darkness Tries to Hide” by Stacy Padula

Jennifer O’Sullivan: There’s an Important Message for Teens in “When Darkness Tries to Hide”

A YA Book for Teens in Need of Inspiration

“The Battle for Innocence” is a Must-read for Christian Teens

Jennifer O’Sullivan on Jason Davids, Protagonist of The Aftermath

The Most Surprising Thing About The Battle for Innocence

Breaking Down the Spiritual Battle in The Forces Within

A Book Series All Teens Should Start Reading

A Look at Cathy, Jon, and Chantal in Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told

The Good & The Bad: Gripped’s Protagonist Taylor Dunkin

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.