A Teen’s Perspective on Chris Dunkin & Cathy Kagelli in ‘Gripped 2: Blindsided’

Written by Kate Peterson, Hingham, MA

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.

As someone close to graduating from high school, I think that Gripped by Stacy Padula should be read by kids in both middle and high school. The characters are relatable in many ways, and I believe everyone will see bits of themselves and their friends within the pages.

My two favorite characters in Gripped Part 2: Blindsided are Chris Dunkin and Cathy Kagelli. I like Cathy a lot because we see her point of view throughout the book and get to experience her life and all the ups and downs she goes through. I think she needs some help and may possibly have a Xanax addiction but is an overall good, caring person. I like Chris a lot because I feel like he matured so much throughout the book and learned how to put his mental health first. 

My opinion of Chris has changed a lot throughout the series. In the beginning, he seems like he is a bad influence on his friends by hosting the parties and having his older cousins influence them. But by the end of this book, I understood Chris more as well and that there is a meaning behind all his actions. He feels like his parents don’t love him so he turns to substances/drugs to forget that pain. He notices that he has overdone it towards the end of book 2 and tries to help himself by hanging out with friends with better morals. He also stops seeing Lisa because he knows that his current mental state would be too much for her to have to deal with, so I believe that he really matures by the end of this book. I think that he is trying to do what is best for him and his friends. Although I like Chris and Lisa together, I think that they can be a bit toxic for each other at times, but overall have so much love for each other. They both have a lot of emotional baggage, so both need to learn how to love themselves before they can love each other. I think they are doing the right thing by taking a break until Chris figures out how to help himself.

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.

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

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.