New Teen Novel Helps Kids Make Smart Decisions in the Face of Peer Pressure

Written by Jenna Finnerty, Durham, NH

Jenna Finnerty, UNH Class of 2023

Gripped Part 3: The Fallout by Stacy A. Padula shows the effects that drugs have on the characters’ lives and the ways pills, such as opiates and benzos, can change someone’s personality, as well as their relationships with other people. Hopefully by reading about the characters’ situations, teens will be encouraged to make smart decisions in regards to substance abuse. By reading The Fallout, adults can also learn lessons about how drugs and alcohol affect relationships. Along with this, they will gain a better understanding of what influences teens to get involved in drugs to begin with. While adults may originally think teens are just doing drugs for fun, some people, like Cathy, may get involved with Xanax to calm anxiety (although it leads down a bad path) or others, like Jason, may start taking Adderall to perform better in school (but end up abusing it for various reasons). 

Despite their flaws, I liked reading about Cathy and Jason’s relationship in The Fallout. It was interesting to see what happened when they were together. I also liked how it came full circle at the end when Jason is trying to fix all of the relationships in Cathy’s life. Out of all the characters, Jason intrigues me the most. I think it is interesting to see him involved so strongly with drugs and alcohol in the middle of the book (during the flashback) but then see him in the beginning and at the end seemingly clean and trying to help Cathy. I hope to discover in the next book how he got to that point. 

Readers will also benefit from reading about, Jason’s best friend, Chris Dunkin and his journey because it shows all aspects of what can happen. Chris struggles to stay sober while he is trying to get clean and goes through many ups and downs in the Gripped series. Reading about situations like this can show young readers how hard it is to actually get and stay sober. Overall, Gripped Part 3 shows readers many different reasons why teens become involved in drugs, as well as ways to break free from destructive lifestyles. The lessons within the novel are imperative for teens to read before entering high school, as they will likely come face to face with most of the situations in the book. Reading the Gripped series will help kids make educated decisions in the face of peer pressure, which is especially important in regards to drugs, which can lead good people like Cathy, Jason, and Chris into dark places very quickly.

About Jenna Finnerty

Jenna Finnerty graduated in June from Norwell High School in Norwell, Massachusetts. She is majoring in science at the University of New Hampshire. Jenna has accrued years of experience as a cheerleader and gymnast. She also has a passion for traveling and looks forward to studying abroad in college.

Other Articles by Jenna:

Q&A on MLH #1 with Jenna Finnerty

The Right Person by Stacy Padula Accurately Depicts High School Social Challenges

Hope Found in Darkness: A Young Adult Book Review by Jenna Finnerty

Q&A with Jenna Finnerty on Young Adult Novel “When Darkness Tries to Hide”

Jenna Finnerty’s Take on New Y.A. Novel “Gripped” by Stacy Padula

May’s Q&A with Jenna Finnerty of Norwell High School

Jenna Finnerty Reviews Gripped Part 2: Blindsided

A College Freshman’s Take on Gripped Part 2: Blindsided by Stacy Padula