Megan Farinacci On Stacy Padula’s “Gripped” Characters

Interview with Megan Farinacci of Medfield, MA

After reading Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy Padula, junior in high school Megan Farinacci was interviewed about the many different characters in the novel.

Who do you most relate to?

I relate to Cathy’s younger self the most. I see many similarities between myself and her, but I mainly see how she cares for others. Whether it is her twin sister Chantal or her boyfriend Jason, Cathy is always there for those around her. 

Who do you like and why? 

I like Jason because he is an energetic and mysterious character. He proves that he is not what people think he is and he is more than just his past relationships. He has a way with words and is able to connect with Cathy. He always keeps the reader wanting to know more about him. 

Who do you feel bad for?

The character who I feel bad for is Lisa. Throughout the story she has been loyal to her friends and her boyfriend Chris. The loss of her father in a car accident was shocking and on top of that her mother had left years prior. After the passing of her father, Lisa’s personality shifts for the worse, and she grows further apart from Chris and her friends. 

Who frustrates you and why? 

Jon frustrates me the most because he has caused much of the drama in the novel between the friend group. He treated Chantal with disrespect, and he coped with his pain by using drugs at an extremely young age. Although I feel bad that he is struggling, he has done so much wrong in the story and continues to frustrate me.

Who do you hate?

I hate Luke, specifically because he took Cathy to Taylor’s apartment without her approval. Luke put Cathy and Marc’s relationship at risk by taking her to Taylor’s. Luke also sells drugs at the High School to younger kids and has caused many of his peers to become dependent on drugs. 

There are a few different storylines running through Gripped Part 1 because it is setting up the rest of the series. What storyline do you find the most interesting and why?

I find the storyline of Taylor and his father the most interesting. It is evident that Taylor wants to give up selling and relying on drugs. He wants his old life back and to be successful again. His father is taking the steps to help him by flushing all of the drugs in sight and offering to pay off Taylor’s drug dealer/boss. I found this storyline most interesting because it shows how Taylor wants an out from the world of drugs, and I am able to see a glimpse of how the old Taylor acted and his morals. 

Gripped Part 1 sets up the rest of the series but leaves a lot of things “hanging.” What are you most curious to uncover by reading Gripped Part 2?

I am most curious to uncover Marc’s situation with the police. The story ends with the police addressing Marc at Boston College, and I am curious to find out what is in store for Taylor and if he will seek the help he needs. I am also curious to see if this plan will backfire and if any of the characters will be put in danger because of that. 

“Invigorating, engaging and a must read. The characters in The Gripped Series diligently tackle the essence of forces that can limit greatness within.” – LaTonya Pinkard of Netflix’s Emmy-winning series Last Chance U

In high school, Taylor Dunkin broke more records than any other athlete to step foot in Montgomery, Massachusetts. As a sophomore in college, he was ranked by ESPN as one of the NFL’s top 100 prospects. However, his aspirations came to a jarring halt when a knee injury and two surgeries left him sidelined.

One year later, Taylor is a person of interest in a highly confidential investigation headed by the Boston Police Department. He has entangled himself in a crime ring notorious for pushing opiates, cocaine, and benzodiazepines on local college campuses.When Taylor’s younger brother Marc discovers that Taylor is behind the copious drug supply circulating around Montgomery Lake High School, he sets off to not only reverse the damage Taylor has caused, but also save his lifelong role model from becoming a casualty of America’s deadly opioid epidemic.

About Megan Farinacci

Megan is a junior at Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart. She is a member of the Varsity Cross Country and Varsity Lacrosse teams at NCDS. She also plays club lacrosse for Mass Elite. She is involved in her school’s health science, yearbook, and running clubs. She has a passion for art and is currently studying 2D design. Megan also enjoys traveling. Over the summer, she traveled to Guatemala with School the World where she helped build a school for a community in need. Her favorite subjects are science and English. She plans to study science or nursing in college.