Young Adult Book Teaches Teens the Importance of Choosing Relationships Wisely

Isabelle Semas

By Isabelle Semas, Massachusetts

“Gripped Part 2: Blindsided” by Stacy A. Padula unveils the raw truth behind prescription and recreational drug addiction. These topics—though uncomfortable to speak about with young teens—are far too prevalent in our society to be ignored. The Gripped series portrays exactly how this process takes place through an engaging storyline. 

By reading this series, kids can learn that the people who you choose to become friends with will affect your decisions. For instance, Cathy changes as a result of dating a non-Christian. Things that she once had a strong stance on become weak, causing her to compromise on her beliefs. Though it is a fictional example, it mirrors the Bible’s teaching which declares: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 

Taylor Dunkin

In “Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told,” Taylor frustrated me with the string of poor decisions he had made. In this book, however, I admired his efforts to stop his drug habits.  I hope to see Taylor make amends with his family in future Gripped books. 

Chris Dunkin

In “Gripped: Part 2,” I realized that Chris is far more caring than I once thought him to be. Knowing more about how his family situation affected his personal life really gave me a new perspective on his character. We learn that much of Chris’s pain derives from his parents’ frequent absence in his life.

Jason vs. Marc

For me, Jason is not in a place to have Cathy as his girlfriend. Though he loves Cathy, he has done so much damage in her life. Marc offers the kind of stability she needs, and he is also kind. Unless Jason remains on the steady course he is on, Marc is my choice for Cathy.

Chris and Lisa

Chris and Lisa’s relationship is harmful for both individuals. The physical aspect of their relationship complicates the emotions they feel for one another, and Chris is not a good influence on Lisa. Ultimately, I believe it was a good decision for Chris to end things between them.

Favorite Characters

My two favorite characters in the Gripped series are Jason and Taylor. I like to see how far Jason has come throughout the book series, and I’ve enjoyed learning more about how the way he thinks influences his decisions. Taylor’s character interests me because he is trying to do the right thing, which makes me want him to succeed.  I cannot wait to see where his storyline will go.

About Isabelle

Isabelle Semas is in her senior year of high school, and has been homeschooled most of her life.  She looks forward to graduating next year and hopes to pursue a career in Early Childhood Education.  In her spare time, she sings in a christian band named NHB with her friends, is very involved in her church’s children’s ministry, and enjoys art.  She hopes to someday publish a book of her own.

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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.