Debut Novel in Teen Book Series Leaves Y.A. Readers Begging for More

Written by John Savage, Weymouth, Massachusetts

The book, Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy Padula is a story that revolves around a group of friends who are being introduced to love, drugs, and young adult life for the first time. It illustrates how difficult becoming a young adult is and how important the choices you make are, as they can stray you from God and lead you down a miserable path.

For Taylor Dunkin, the choice of drugs over sports shows how detrimental that decision can be for your life. Throughout the story, Taylor and his younger cousin Chris’s friend group deal with what it’s like to do or take drugs and the effects it has on a social and mental scale.

Gripped Part 1 leaves readers begging for more with thrilling cliff-hangers. This story is an easy read for grades 8-12. The book teaches valuable life lessons that will allow students to better understand how significant drug use has on themselves and others around you. The book also illustrates how important it is to stay true to God and to have faith. I rate this book 5/5 stars and recommended it to all of my friends.

This book left me needing more from the Gripped series and I cannot wait to read the rest of it.

“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 John Savage

John is a senior at Weymouth High School. He plays Unified Basketball, Basketball, and Volleyball, and he is a leader on all teams. His favorite subjects are World History, English Literature, and Sports Management. His hobbies include playing basketball at local parks with his friends, being around his Unified Basketball teammates, and volunteering. He would like to major in Sports Management in college. 

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.