Written by Megan Farinacci, Medfield, MA
Stacy Padula’s Gripped book series for young adults covers controversial topics such as substance abuse, which may deter some hesitant parents and schools from recommending the books to teens. While Gripped Part 3: The Fallout exposes readers to Adderall, acid, marijuana, alcohol, and Xanax, the author’s intention is to educate tweens and teens on drug and alcohol abuse. The novel focuses not on the use of drugs, but how the use of drugs negatively impacts relationships, family dynamics, and athletic and school performance. After reading the novel, it is clear that the message behind the stories told is not only about drug use, but connects to a bigger social issue of how we can stop this cycle in teenage society. Gripped teaches the readers that “innocently” experimenting with drugs can lead to serious addictions. Main character, Taylor Dunkin even said for himself at the end of Gripped 3 that he always thought he was destined for big things, being the parents’ favorite and so popular at Montgomery Lake High. However, trying drugs socially turned into a lifestyle very quickly. He had no intention of this. The book teaches readers that drug addictions can happen in the blink of an eye and ruin friendships, family dynamics, athletic opportunities, and one’s self worth. Therefore, parents and schools should recommend the Gripped series to teens to help inform them of the grave consequences associated with substance abuse.
In addition, Gripped Part 3 should also be read by parents, as it focuses on how relationships and family dynamics can be broken from drug and alcohol use. It is very important as a parent to be aware of this social issue in teenage society and be able to proactively help prevent drug and alcohol use among the teens in their lives. Not only is Gripped Part 3 eye opening, but the novel is extremely informative for adults.
After a near-death experience, Chris Dunkin begins surrounding himself with positive influences and putting his efforts towards living a clean lifestyle. However, the night before school starts, his best friend Jason convinces him to host a party that shows Chris more about himself than he actually wants to know.
Meanwhile, Marc Dunkin has received word from a detective that his oldest brother Taylor is a person of interest in a highly confidential case headed by the Boston Police Department. They know Taylor’s clean; they know he wants out of the game; and they want to help make that happen. However, their “help” will come at a cost-one that may put Taylor and his entire family in grave danger. Taylor is trying to get his life back in order after an opiate addiction wreaked havoc on his once promising athletic future. Getting clean was a difficult feat, but breaking free from the Bilotti crime ring will present an even greater challenge.
“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
“As with the other Gripped books, both adults and younger readers will thoroughly enjoy this story and learn from the realistic depiction of the struggles that high school and college students face. Hopefully, this will spark essential conversations between friends, parents, and children.” – E. Harvey, Emerson College
“Gripped Part 3: The Fallout is an engaging and easy read that is ideal for middle school and high school students, while also being very applicable to adults wanting to know more about teenage drug abuse.” – K. Banker, University of Miami
“Gripped Part 3 shows how drugs can change people’s personalities as well as their relationships with others. Reading about the characters’ situations will help teens make the smart decision and not get involved in drugs.” – J. Finnerty, University of New Hampshire
“Gripped 3: The Fallout is perfect for all teens and their parents, as it offers unique perspectives on complex and relevant issues today. Teens, and parents alike, can learn from the book and prepare for situations in which they – or their children – may be put in. I easily give this book 5 out of 5 stars and encourage all teens and their parents to pick up any book in the Gripped series.” – Michael Farinacci, University of Notre Dame
About Megan Farinacci
Megan is a senior 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.