New Teen Fiction Book Teaches the Importance of Healthy Relationships

Article by Joanna Dakoyannis, Dover, Massachusetts

As a young adult, I can easily relate to the scenarios portrayed in Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy A. Padula. The dating and friendship drama, as well as the substance abuse, are real issues that I see unfolding every day.  Similar to the characters in the book, there are kids in my own school who have drastically changed as a result of bad choices.

Gripped Part 1 is a book I would recommend to any teen or even parents of teens. Individuals who read this novel will be able to relate to familiar social situations that they are faced with in high school. Similarly, parents who read the story will become aware of the pressures that their teenagers face on a daily basis. Gripped Part 1 exemplifies that even the most responsible teens can fall prey to drugs and alcohol.

Having read Stacy Padula’s Montgomery Lake High book series, which takes place in the same “world” as Gripped, what I liked best about Gripped was that it provided background information on many of the characters that I already knew.  For example, it was interesting to see what Cathy Kagelli was like when she first started dating Jason Davids. It was also very enlightening to read about what actually happened between Chantal Kagelli and Jon Anderson’s confusing breakup.

Gripped Part 1 has many messages, but the one I found most prevalent was that relationships matter. This includes relationships with friends, parents, and even God. Being a good friend can make a difference in someone’s life, as can shutting someone out of your life. Similarly, being present as a parent can have a huge impact on your teen’s life. Finally, having a relationship with God can also give you strength to deal with many of the pressures we face as teens.

About Gripped Part 1

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 on Kindle in its genre

About Joanna Dakoyannis

Joanna Dakoyannis is a senior at Dover-Sherborn High School. She enjoys creative writing, traveling, going to the gym, running track for her high school team and loves cheering on the team at school sporting events. She plans to be a science major in college and hopes to eventually attend dental school.

Other Articles by Joanna:

An Exceptional Book I Recommend to Teens & Preteens

Q&A with Joanna Dakoyannis on “The Right Person” by Stacy Padula

May’s Q&A with Joanna Dakoyannis of Dover Sherborn High School

Joanna Dakoyannis Reviews “When Darkness Tries to Hide” by Stacy Padula

July’s Q&A with Joanna Dakoyannis on The Aftermath by Stacy Padula

“The Aftermath” is an Encouraging Book for Teens

Joanna Dakoyannis on The Battle for Innocence

The Battle for Innocence is An Eye-opening Book for Teens

The Forces Within by Stacy Padula: an Excellent Teen Read

Joanna Dakoyannis’s Interview on The Forces Within

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.