Written by Charlie Hallal – Hingham, Massachusetts
In the first book in Stacy Padula’s Gripped series, the reader meets a large cast of characters whom any teenager would easily relate to and empathize with. As a teen myself, I most closely relate to Jason Davids because he seems to try to see all perspectives when dealing with friends, which is something I always try my best to do. By the end of the book, Taylor Dunkin, as strange as it may sound, ends up being my favorite character because he finally seems to be turning himself around.
While there are many storylines running throughout the novel and setting up the rest of the series, I think the storyline with Taylor and the police is the most interesting. This is because it seems that Taylor is in a terrible situation, but at the same time, he wants to turn his life around. I like how the book left this storyline on a cliffhanger with Taylor’s brother Marc and the Police Detective, as that works well in getting readers excited for the next book.
In Gripped Part 2, I would like to see just how much trouble Taylor is in with his dealer and just how much power is being held over him. I am also curious to see how involved Marc gets himself with this situation, as he is obviously very worried about his brother. In addition I would like to see how the relationship between the other main character, Cathy, and her twin sister Chantal progresses as the story continues.
“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.