New Y.A. Book Shows Effects of Modern High School Peer Pressure

By Joanna Dakoyannis, Providence College

Gripped 4: Smoke and Mirrors by Stacy Padula is the fascinating continuation of the story centered around a group of teens from Montgomery Lake High School.  They are influenced by older siblings and peers who are involved in drug and alcohol use. Taylor, the older sibling of Marc and Jordan Dunkin is deeply entangled in a life of drug use and dealing. His story continues in Gripped 4 as he tries to escape this dangerous lifestyle while being investigated by the Boston Police.

Joanna Dakoyannis

Simultaneously, the book follows the lives of several younger characters, Luke, Marc, Lisa, Chris, Jason, and Cathy,  who are still in high school. Over several months we see their downfalls and self-realizations that they are on the wrong path in their lives.

Gripped 4: Smoke and Mirrors is a must read for teens in high school and beyond, as well as their parents.  It is an easy read with a story that keeps you turning the page. In following the lives of the characters, the book demonstrates how damaging peer pressure can be in a teen’s life. The book follows the recurring theme in the series that it is never too late to turn your life around.

Gripped 4: Smoke and Mirrors is a captivating extension of the series that gets five stars.

About Joanna

Joanna Dakoyannis graduated in 2020 from Dover-Sherborn High School in Dover, Massachusetts. She enjoys creative writing, traveling, going to the gym, running track for her high school team and loves cheering on the team at school sporting events. She currently a freshman at Providence College and hopes to eventually attend dental school.

Articles by Joanna

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.