Senior Class President at Xaverian Brothers Shares His Thoughts on “Gripped” by Stacy Padula

Joseph Siracusa is currently the president of the senior class at Xaverian Brother’s High School. In his free time, Joseph enjoys graphic designing, playing soccer, watching sports, and learning about many different topics. Joseph plans on studying finance in college, in hopes of pursuing a career in it.

Written by Joseph Siracusa, Braintree, MA

Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy A. Padula is a great novel for readers at the middle school and high school level. The two main storylines of Gripped Part 1 provide an insight into the characters of the novel and the significant changes that arise in their middle school, high school, and college lives. This novel is very easy to relate to due to its main focuses on substance abuse, relationships, athletics, religion, and mental health; all of which are very prominent in the lives of young adults.

As a young adult, the main themes that are present in Gripped Part 1 (substance abuse, relationships, athletics, religion, and mental health) very closely relate to what I have seen in my middle school and high school experience. As a lover of sports, it was very fascinating yet tragic to watch Taylor Dunkin, a top football prospect who everyone in Montgomery looks up to, fall into substance abuse. Personally, I have been good friends with very talented athletes who have fallen into partying and substance abuse just like Taylor did. It is extremely devastating to see how substance abuse can fall upon anyone, even people who have never experimented with a substance prior.

What I liked most about Gripped Part 1 are the great memories and friendships that can be formed in our young years. If it weren’t for substance abuse and bad leadership, most of the characters in Gripped would have gone on to live happy lives leading into college without even stepping close to drugs. The initial friendships created at Chris’ parties should have never been destroyed and some of the romantic relationships that were created were worthy of being life long if substance did not play a part in the lives of these teens and young adults.

The overall message of the Gripped Book Series is advising teens and young adults to stay away from substances. As seen in Gripped Part 1, some of the characters with the best morals fall into using substances. After using these substances, the once happy and accomplished characters now live a lost life of struggling with addiction and mental issues. Too many young adults fall into the problem of substance abuse and the character’s in this book prove why it is a good idea to stay far away from drugs.

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.