Y.A. Fiction Novel Addresses Crucial Issues For Teenagers

Written by Megan Farinacci, Medfield, MA

Gripped Part 2: Blindsided by Stacy Padula was extremely eye opening. It is crucial for these issues to be addressed in a novel for young adults. In this novel, we see how even middle schoolers are affected by drugs and alcohol. This sequel focuses on fourteen year old Chris Dunkin’s development. Chris has always been the life of the party, but as he starts to use drugs and alcohol to cope with his internal issues, he begins to see relationships fall apart. The story focuses on those who have been impacted by Chris’s decisions.

This novel easily gets 5 stars. Each chapter unpacks a new story or issue that Chris is dealing with and keeps the reader intrigued throughout the whole novel. I highly recommend this book, especially to young adults. It is extremely important to educate the youth about the effects of drugs. This story encapsulates just how harmful peer pressure can be to yourself and those around you. The novel leaves you wanting more and excited for the next installment in the series.

Fourteen-year-old Chris Dunkin is known for being the life of the party and everyone’s favorite friend. Despite his amicable nature, he carries around deep-seated pain from his childhood that he frequently numbs with alcohol and drugs. After hosting a party, Chris awakes with a strange vibe running through his body and no recollection of the previous night. When he learns the horrifying truth of what his night entailed, the trajectory of his life is changed forever.


“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

“One of the main benefits of reading Gripped Part 2: Blindsided, as well as the entire Gripped series, is that it not only shows the horrors of substance abuse, but also reveals the buildup to it. Blindsided depicts not just the worst days, but the first days. Through the story, teens are able to learn about decisions and behaviors that can lead to drug abuse. Throughout the story, the social lives of the different characters intertwine with each other, creating drama, conflict, and new friendships, which makes Blindsided a fascinating read.” – Michael Farinacci, University of Notre Dame

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.