The Mystery & Crime in Stacy Padula’s New Y.A. Thriller “Smoke & Mirrors” is Captivating Teen Readers

By Jennifer O’Sullivan, Boston College

Jennifer O’Sullivan

As an avid reader, I love mystery and crime in any book, so I am extremely curious to see what ends up happening in Stacy Padula’s upcoming Gripped Part 5 concerning Taylor Dunkin and his involvement in the drug and crime ring. At the end of Gripped Part 4, we are left with a cliffhanger, as nobody can find Taylor while he is in the dangerous position of telling his dealer that he wants to be out of their ring. I found this part very intriguing, and I am so curious to see what happens next. 

Similar to what makes me so curious about Gripped Part 5, I kept wanting to turn the pages of Gripped Part 4 to see what was happening with Taylor. From Taylor’s girlfriend finding out about his addiction and renewed contact with Marc to letting his dealer know that he is done selling and his disappearance, there was always so much anticipation with him that I couldn’t put down the book. Furthermore, I loved learning more about Jordan, because in past books we didn’t see his true colors or his perspective as much as we get to in Gripped Part 4, which I really liked.

I love the casual writing style of the Gripped book series because it makes me feel so connected to the characters and their stories. With such a casual writing style, I can actually imagine myself right there with the characters, which makes it much more realistic and relatable. Additionally, I get the same effect with the inclusion of so much dialogue. Both aspects make me feel connected to the characters and the storyline. 

About Jennifer

Jennifer O’Sullivan, graduated from Dover Sherborn High School in 2020. She enjoys reading, playing the piano, spending time with friends and doing volunteer work. Jennifer led her school’s community service club and ran on her school’s cross country and track teams. She also loves to travel—especially to Ireland where she spends time with friends and family. Jennifer also runs and operates her own childcare company in the metro west of Massachusetts. Currently, she is attending Boston College to pursue her career goal of becoming a physician.

Articles by Jennifer

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.