Teen Fiction Novel Raises Awareness about Addiction

Written by Gianna Arcabascio

As a junior in high school, I recommend Stacy Padula’s novel, Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told, to all young adults. This book is a great representation of what goes on in teeanagers’ daily lives. It also brings awareness of drugs and how easy it is for people to get addicted. While reading the book, you grow with the characters and connect with them on a real level. I loved reading this book, because it was so relatable for me as a teenager. The message in Gripped is clear; it brings an awareness to teenagers that you don’t have to do drugs or drink to fit in. Addiction can and will ruin lives. It is not worth doing something to fit in, if it is going to harm your future. 

I particularly enjoyed the relationships portrayed in this novel. The story conveys the emotions that the characters feel for each other. When you’re reading the book you feel like you’re involved in the situations. For example, I feel bad for Marc, who is a great guy and does everything right. He has to deal with the consequences of his brother Taylor’s drug addiction and his friends’ immaturity. He always has to be the adult of the group and is always in charge. Marc’s best friend Luke frustrates me the most because he is immature. He is endangering Taylor’s already damaged reputation while going behind Marc’s back. He also drags Cathy along with him, but didn’t even tell her where they were going at first. He seems to only care about himself. While reading the novel, I most related to Cathy, as I see myself in her. We are both innocent girls trying to fit in with everyone else. Her best friend Lisa is like my best friend. Our relationship is reflected in Cathy and Lisa’s exactly. Despite my frustration with Luke, I liked all of the Gripped characters. However, my favorite character was the flashback version of Luke’s younger brother, Jason. Jason always respected Cathy, and he didn’t force her to do anything she wasn’t willing to do. There are men and women out there that are not respectful of each other and will force people to do things they don’t want to do. It is a scary world, but Jason was man enough to know the difference. I found Cathy and Jason’s relationship the most interesting in the story, mainly because I felt a connection with Cathy. Cathy and Jason, from the very beginning, felt a connection with each other, as we saw in the story’s flashback. Jason respected Cathy and I felt like I could feel their connection through the story.

As a teenager, I relate to Gripped because I see the effects drugs and alcohol have on people, and I witness how it makes them act. This book helps bring awareness to the issues we face everyday as humans. There are so many kids and adults that struggle with addiction, and there are solutions, as proved in the book. I am most curious about what will happen when Marc talks to Taylor about the detective, and how they are going to help Taylor out of the vicious circle. 

Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told

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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.

About Gianna Arcabascio

Gianna Arcabascio is a junior at Archbishop Williams High school. She plays lacrosse and is team manger for the football and boys hockey. In school, she’s apart of student council, admissions ambassadors, and is involved in a lot of leadership opportunities. She looks to pursue a future career as an Athletic Trainer.

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.