Hingham High School Junior Shares Why Teens Should Be Reading The Gripped Series

Written by Charlie Hallal – Hingham, Massachusetts

As a junior in high school, I would recommend Stacy Padula’s book, Gripped #1: The Truth We Never Told, to any kid anywhere from middle school to college. This is due to the many ways I feel kids in this age group, including myself, can relate to the situations the characters find themselves in. The drama between the characters is not only fairly relatable, but also very intriguing to follow. The many issues that drugs cause for the characters is also an issue in the real world that many kids need to be more aware of.

I have found myself in many similar situations to those of the characters in the story. I have faced peer pressure in many different situations and have struggled in forming an approach to it. I have also seen members of my family struggle with drugs and alcohol, similar to one of the main characters, Taylor Dunkin, though not quite to that extent.

I liked the drama surrounding the main character, Cathy Kagelli, and its build up throughout the book. I thought the development of her relationship with Jason Davids was very well done. I also found it very interesting learning more and more about her relationship with her twin sister, Chantal, and how everything went wrong between the two. 

Gripped #1: The Truth We Never Told highlighted the negative effects of drugs and what they can do to good people. It pushes the idea of being smart when hanging out around drugs and alcohol and not letting oneself get carried away. It also encourages readers to be more aware of how they are affecting others in the ways they are treating them.

“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 Charlie Hallal

Charlie is a junior at Hingham High School. Some of his hobbies include wrestling, exercise, spending time with his friends and family, writing, and watching sports. He is looking forward to his senior year as he continues to prepare for 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.