Y.A. Fiction Novel Teaches Valuable Lessons in an Entertaining Way

Written by Kate Peterson, Hingham, MA

The young adult book Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy Padula is a great read. It teaches many valuable lessons, ranging from friendship to drug addiction. Through the experiences of one of the main characters, it addresses the epidemic of opioids to teenagers in a way that interests them and in a way they can understand. The book uses experiences that are true to life and relatable to middle and high schoolers. Gripped Part 1 switches from the past to the present, leaving you with many cliffhangers waiting to be uncovered in part two of the five-book series.

As I read the novel, I found the storyline of Chris’s parties the most interesting. I was always looking forward to seeing what drama would go down at each of them, while also learning about the different characters. That part of the novel makes it so that we can understand the beginning and end better. 

As I continue with the series, I am most curious to uncover what will happen with Chantal and Cathy’s relationship. Will they make up? I also am curious about what exactly happened to Cathy. She was always so against drugs and drinking throughout the book, which makes me interested in what exactly caused her to start using drugs later on.

I recommend Gripped to teenagers of all ages. They are the perfect age because the book relates to them due to the characters in their age range going through similar experiences. It also connects to them by warning how quickly your life can change from being the “football star” to a struggling drug addict/seller. It cautions them about how the things they are experiencing now can escalate quickly, warning them to stop before any substance gets a “grip” on them.

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.

Emmy-winning producer Mark Blutman Developing TV Adaptation Of Stacy Padula’s YA Drama Series ‘Gripped’

About Kate Peterson

Kate Peterson is a senior at Notre Dame Academy. She is the captain of her schools varsity ski team and a member of the tennis team. She is in NDA’s National Honor Society and is involved in her school’s Growing Greener, Spanish, and Model UN clubs. Kate traveled to the Dominican republic this past summer to build houses for a community in need. With a great passion for psychology and science, she plans to major in neuroscience or health science 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.