Medfield High School Student-Athlete Shares Why Stacy Padula’s ‘Gripped’ Series Is a Must-read

Jack Stanton

Jack is a senior at Medfield High School where he is the founder and president of the school’s Investment Club. He has a passion for business and finance, engaging his interests in other business-related clubs such as DECA. Jack is a member of the Varsity Lacrosse and Hockey teams and works as a vendor at Fenway Park throughout the summer. Additionally, he works with the Medfield Coalition for Suicide Prevention to help raise awareness for mental health in both his school and town. Jack’s favorite subjects include English, mathematics, and Mandarin, and he is also the president of MHS’s Mandarin Club. 

Stacy A. Padula’s book Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told is a modern day depiction of teenage life. With characters, scenes, and themes revolving around drug abuse, Padula utilizes her insight on teenagers to convey an accurate representation of a small town in Massachusetts through her writing. Gripped highlights the story of multiple main characters that all have their own respective traits. Taylor, a recovering drug addict and dealer, lost his ability to play football in college due to an injury, leading him through a vicious cycle of abuse. Her work also describes the interconnected effects thay Taylor’s actions have had on other people in his life.

Gripped is the perfect story for a teenager to read, no matter the age. The book reveals countless life lessons that all age groups can learn from, but children likely benefit the most due to their relation to the characters. Witnessing others’ struggles with abuse is something I only imagined seeing in middle school, but high school brings out the worst in people. Seeing friends and classmates struggle with mental illness and abuse is a heartbreaking sight, but making sure that children are aware of these aspects allows them to make smarter choices. I rate this book a 5/5 because of how prevalent the messages are. I cannot express how much I enjoyed reading Gripped and recommend that others should as well.


Now being adapted for TV by Emmy-winning producer Mark Blutman!

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.

“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’