Y.A. Novel Kept Me “Gripped”

Written by Mackenzie Wells, Athens, Georgia

Mackenzie is a senior at the University of Georgia majoring in English and public relations. She is a leader at the Wesley Foundation at UGA, the community outreach coordinator for UGA’s Undergraduate English Association, and a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America. Mackenzie has always had a passionate love for books and their ability to open doors to new worlds. She is excited to assist Stacy Padula O’Halloran in making a change in the young adult community.

Brothers Taylor, Jordan, and Marc Dunkin seem to have it all. They are each incredible athletes and prolific football stars. Both Jordan and Taylor are playing college football, and Marc, a senior in high school, is about to sign with Boston College. However, there is a dark side to their golden boy success stories.

After a career-halting injury, Taylor has become addicted to painkillers, and he has started dealing drugs to his brother’s friends at Montgomery Lake High. A rift is torn between the brothers as Marc discovers Taylor’s role in the epidemic which is ruining many of his friends’ lives.

Jumping back and forth between the events of 2017 and flashbacks to 2016, Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy Padula keeps readers enthralled by unfolding stories, relationships, and mysteries in connection with the Dunkin boys and anyone connected to them.

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.

Other Articles by Mackenzie:

A Story of Hope & Redemption for Teenagers

The Screwtape Letters Meets Nancy Drew in This Spiritual Warfare Must-Read

Fiction Novel Addresses the Struggle for Acceptance Teens Commonly Face in High School

Teen Novel “The Right Person” Prepares Kids for the Social Pressures of High School

Teen Novel Demonstrates the Power of God and Salvation

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.