Gripped Book Series Sheds Light on Montgomery Lake High’s Main Characters

Article by Joanna Dakoyannis, Dover, MA

Although Chantal Kagelli has been a favorite character of mine throughout Stacy A. Padula’s Montgomery Lake High book series, I found her somewhat frustrating in Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told. I feel that she passes judgement quickly and fails to communicate with the people who care about her. Had she spoken to Jon, Cathy, or Alyssa, she might have discovered that her breakup with Jon was a misunderstanding. Instead, it appears that she chose to shut everyone out because she failed to see beyond her own perspective. I specifically feel bad for Alyssa. She is misunderstood by many people when she is only trying to be a good friend to her childhood best friend, Jon. Eventually she ends up dating Jon but only because Chantal moved on and cut both Alyssa and Jon out of her life. I feel like Alyssa gets misjudged by many of the people around her because they do not know her whole story. Alyssa seems to be a good friend, who tries to be there for everyone in her life. She also seems to navigate the party scene well, keeping her values intact even though she is around many social pressures.

After nearly detesting Chantal’s identical twin sister, Cathy, in the Montgomery Lake High book series, it is ironic that she is my favorite character in Gripped Part 1. Unlike in the other books, Cathy’s character here is very genuine. She is straightforward and true to herself most of the time. I am very curious to see what circumstances, influences, and possible heartaches caused her to change so drastically.  In the Montgomery Lake High book series, Cathy is portrayed as a party girl who is up for anything and is very distant from her sister. In Gripped Part 1, we see the beginning of the deterioration of her relationship with Chantal, which left me anxious to uncover why Cathy became so involved with the party scene (and all that it entails) after once being so levelheaded and mature.

The storyline I find most interesting in Gripped Part 1 is the one between Taylor Dunkin and the Boston police. It is unlike anything that we’ve seen in the Montgomery Lake High series, and it takes the situation beyond the high school world. It is very eye-opening to see how becoming involved with drugs can escalate into such a serious and dangerous situation.

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.