Teen Book Teaches Valuable Lessons

Abby Fusco is a senior at Marshfield High School. She has always enjoyed painting her dog, Teddy—a King Charles Cavalier. Her paintings made perfect gifts for her mother, and this inspired her to begin painting pet portraits for her friends and family. She founded A.R.F. Pet Portraits in 2020, where people can order paintings of their beloved animals by uploading a photo through her website. Abby’s love for animals inspired to donate 100% of the proceeds from her paintings to the Marshfield Animal Shelter.

Written by Abby Fusco, Marshfield, Massachusetts

The Gripped book series by Stacy A. Padula should be read by kids in both middle school and high school because they can learn important lessons from the stories before they make the same mistakes as the characters. Most schools would not allow for the content in Gripped to be read by high schoolers because they would think that it is inappropriate for teens, but in reality, teenagers are facing the issues in Gripped, including the struggle of avoiding peer pressure, drugs, and alcohol.

Through Gripped Part 2: Blindsided, kids can learn the inevitable outcome of drug abuse and see the consequences before making the choice to engage in drugs that may surround them in middle school or high school. I have learned that there are no good outcomes from illegal substance, and although “everyone” else is doing it, what matters is my own choices and beliefs. Teens can learn that using drugs does not make you cooler or help you in the grand scheme of life; instead it tears you down and keeps you from reaching your full potential.

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.

“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.” – E. Harvey, Emerson College

“One of the main benefits of reading Gripped Part 2: Blindsided, as well as the entire Grippedseries, 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.” – M. Farinacci, St. Sebastian’s School