Written by Emily Han, Easton, MA
The book, Gripped Part 2: Blindsided, by Stacy A. Padula continues the storylines of teenagers affected by substance abuse. By splitting the timeline (past and present) in the story, readers can see how the characters are changing due to their drug use. Those who were concerned with schoolwork, grades, and relationships no longer have the desire (or ability) to maintain them. We see that some characters are only looking to benefit themselves but have no idea of the consequences.
The most alarming thing within Gripped Part 2: Blindsided is that many of the characters feel it is safe to self medicate and experiment with drugs. The kids have not been educated on the dangers of drugs in school. They see drugs as black and white, not the grey area they are in. They know drugs can be fun, but they do not know the dangers. In the future, they finally realize how damaging drugs are by recognizing the changes in themselves and others.
“Gripped Part 2: Blindsided guides the reader through a thrilling narrative, expertly utilizing flashbacks to demonstrate a complete picture of just how devastating and far-reaching substance abuse can be, as it impacts not just individuals, but entire families and communities. It is an essential young adult book for kids and parents alike.” – Elizabeth Harvey, Emerson College
“One of the main benefits of reading Gripped Part 2: Blindsided, as well as the entire Gripped series, is that it not only shows the horrors of substance abuse, but also reveals the buildup to it. Blindsided depicts not just the worst days, but the first days. Through the story, teens are able to learn about decisions and behaviors that can lead to drug abuse. Throughout the story, the social lives of the different characters intertwine with each other, creating drama, conflict, and new friendships, which makes Blindsided a fascinating read.” – Michael Farinacci, University of Notre Dame
Fourteen-year-old Chris Dunkin is known for being the life of the party and everyone’s favorite friend. Despite his amicable nature, he carries around deep-seated pain from his childhood that he frequently numbs with alcohol and drugs.
After hosting a party, Chris awakes with a strange vibe running through his body and no recollection of the previous night. When he learns the horrifying truth of what his night entailed, the trajectory of his life is changed forever.