YA Fiction Novel Teaches About Early Signs of Substance Abuse

Caroline Markley recently graduated from Marshfield High School, where she was the goalie of the Varsity lacrosse team and in National Honor Society. She is now attending Villanova University. She is an avid horseback rider who competes nationally and also an impressive artist. Caroline has a passion for the environment and is studying environmental science in college.

Written by Caroline Marley, Marshfield, MA

Gripped 2: Blindsided is a captivating read as it explores the effects that drug and alcohol use can have on a person’s life and relationships. It dives deeply into the lives of high schoolers who are introduced to drugs and alcohol at a young age. One of the storylines in this book focuses on Chris Dunkin, Taylor’s younger cousin, who constantly throws parties and finds himself taking all sorts of drugs. This book shows how drugs affect a person’s relationships with their friends and loved ones, as well as how they can get into drugs in the first place. 

This book is a must read for students who are going through high school and figuring out where they fit in. They can use this book to help guide themselves and learn from the characters’ mistakes. This book also helps readers learn how people can get into drugs in the first place and how much control drugs can have on their life. Overall, this book was a great read, and I think everyone—young and old—should get a chance to read it and learn from it. 

“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


“What other drugs have you tried?” Lisa asked.
“Weed, mushrooms, ecstasy, mescaline, acid, Adderall, Xanax, Klonopin, and Vicodin, but this one is, by far, the best,” Chris replied without any hesitation.
Lisa widened her eyes. “Wow. You’ve tried a lot of stuff since we broke up.”

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.

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.