UNH Sophomore Jenna Finnerty’s Thoughts on the “Gripped” Characters

By Jenna Finnerty, University of New Hampshire

Stacy Padula & Jenna Finnerty

In Stacy Padula’s latest novel, “Gripped 4: Smoke & Mirrors,” I really liked how there were a bunch of different storylines that made me want to learn what was going to happen next. The different stories kept me focused, because there were so many things that you had to keep up with. 

Many of the storylines were focused on key characters such as Luke Davids, Jordan Dunkin, Jason Davids, Cathy Kagelli, and of course Taylor Dunkin. After reading four of the books, I have gotten to know each of the characters much better and changed my mind about certain relationships.

Luke: Originally, I thought Luke was a bad influence on a lot of people because he would give them drugs. Towards the end of “Gripped Part 4,” I began to feel bad for him because all he wanted to do was please his friends and family and make everyone happy. 

Jordan: In the beginning, I don’t think I knew much about Jordan since he was away at college. As the book went on, I found myself wanting to learn more about him because of his relationships with Marc and Michelle. 

Taylor: Although Taylor is in a rough spot between getting sober and now trying to get out of drug-dealing, I feel bad for him and want him to get better. I want him to play football, do well in school, and rekindle his relationship with Julie. Hopefully when he does all of that, he can become his normal self again.

Jason: I also feel bad for Jason because he was beginning to go down the wrong path. Although he may be a bad influence on certain people around him, I am now thinking that he is also trying to do whatever he can to please people. Hopefully, he can straighten out and get back together with Cathy.

Cathy: I think that, over time, Cathy has begun to stray from her own beliefs. I think now that she is with Marc, she has started to go back to being herself, but I want her to get back together with Jason because I think she could become a good influence on him. 

After finishing “Gripped Part 4,” I am most curious to see what happens to Taylor. It was hinted at throughout “Gripped Part 4,” which leaves the reader on a great cliffhanger to keep them wondering what will happen next. I am also curious to see if whatever happens with Taylor will bring his dueling younger brothers, Jordan and Marc, together. 

About Jenna

Jenna Finnerty graduated in 2019 from Norwell High School in Norwell, Massachusetts. She is majoring in science at the University of New Hampshire. Jenna has accrued years of experience as a cheerleader and gymnast. She also has a passion for traveling and looks forward to studying abroad in college.

Articles by Jenna:

New Teen Novel Helps Kids Make Smart Decisions in the Face of Peer Pressure

Q&A on MLH #1 with Jenna Finnerty

The Right Person by Stacy Padula Accurately Depicts High School Social Challenges

Hope Found in Darkness: A Young Adult Book Review by Jenna Finnerty

Q&A with Jenna Finnerty on Young Adult Novel “When Darkness Tries to Hide”

Jenna Finnerty’s Take on New Y.A. Novel “Gripped” by Stacy Padula

May’s Q&A with Jenna Finnerty of Norwell High School

Jenna Finnerty Reviews Gripped Part 2: Blindsided

A College Freshman’s Take on Gripped Part 2: Blindsided by Stacy Padula

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.