Emily Han on the “Gripped” Characters

Emily Han of Easton, MA shares her opinion on the Gripped Book Series characters after reading Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told

Emily Han is a junior at Oliver Ames High School in Easton, Massachusetts. She is the captain of her varsity field hockey team and a leader on her club team, Lead The Way. She is a member of National Honor Society and a founder of the PAWS Club and an active member of the Jimmy Fund Club. Her hobbies include scuba diving, exercising, and volunteering at local field hockey clinics and with Save The Bay.  She hopes to major in Environmental Science and play field hockey in college. 

Who do you most relate to and why?

I relate to Chantal the most. Someone that has been dragged into the side effects and lost a lot of people to the side effects of drugs. Seeing people change because of the drugs is something I have also seen. I’ve lost really close friends, and seen people I never thought would look at a drug lose their ambitions and dreams to parties. 

Who do you feel bad for and why?

I feel bad for Cathy and Chantal. In seventh grade, they were innocent religious girls who believed in sobriety. Although we do not actively see Cathy’s change, we know that this is no longer her belief, as after the two year jump, she was smoking weed almost every day and no stranger to harder drugs. We also know that her ex boyfriend is the reason for this polarizing shift. Her use of drugs drove a wedge in between her and her twin sister who still believes in sobriety.  

Who frustrates you and why? 

Jordan Dunkin is the most frustrating to me. Although Taylor is the dealer, he is stuck in the dealing. Jordan does not have a reason to keep supporting his choices. We learned that the Dunkin family has a history of addiction, and while Marc has taken this knowledge and used it to motivate him to be sober, Jordan does not seem to care about the consequences of his actions. 

Who do you like and why? 

I like Marc; he is driven and dedicated. He also has the strength to overcome peer pressure from both his family and his friends. He is committed to football and his health. He also realizes the impact of his decisions on others, which is another reason for his choices. 

Who do you hate and why?

Again, I dislike Jordan. I do not see his reasons for his choices. While Marc is aware of his family history, and Taylor is trapped in his lifestyle, I have yet to see why Jordan is choosing his destructive lifestyle. It has clearly affected his family, and he is giving his younger cousin weed and encouraging the kids to smoke. 

There are a few different storylines running through Gripped Part 1 because it is setting up the rest of the series. What storyline do you find the most interesting and why?

Cathy and Jason is the storyline I am the most interested in. We have yet to learn why Jason destroyed her, and how bad Cathy has become. Why and how she has become so bad that she needed Marc to encourage her to make healthier choices. She also feels that she was becoming Jason, and that she doesn’t know who she is. I am also curious to find out if Cathy will find her own identity by the end of the story. 

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.

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.