Teen Novel Sends Hopeful Message about Recovery

Written by Kyle Banker, University of Miami

Gripped Part 3: The Fallout by Stacy Padula touches upon the use of Adderall, acid, marijuana, alcohol, and Xanax. For that reason, parents may not want their children to read the novel. However, the author feels there is much to be learned. I believe that there is a lot to be learned by gathering some knowledge on the impacts of these drugs, as it is clear that all these substances negatively affected the characters in Gripped. Specifically, since drugs like Adderall and marijuana can be beneficial in some aspects, tweens and teenagers (due to a lack of knowledge) will continue to use these drugs in order to improve their everyday performances. However, once they get addicted to substances, drawbacks start to come into play, such as shifts in emotion and personality. To sum it up, the little exposure of these drugs to tweens and teenagers causes thoughts of curiosity to try Adderall and marijuana because of their limited benefits, but after reading Gripped Part 3, it is clear that there are much more negatives than positives when it comes to abusing these substances.

I also believe that adults could benefit from reading this novel because it shows a modern example of everyday middle/high school students taking drugs. More importantly, Gripped Part 3 shows the evident changes in well-behaved children based upon what drugs they take. As a whole, the shifts of characters in the series could help adults figure out problems with their own children, as the changes referenced in Gripped Part 3 (emotion, personality, interests) are the most common side-effects of drugs. On another note, by hearing directly from the struggles of the users, adults could help their children by asking questions about school and their social life that could prevent them from resorting to substances. 

I think that the main message from witnessing Chris Dunkin’s journey in Gripped is that anyone can rebound from addiction, but it requires a great deal of effort. In Chris’s case, he was introduced in the Gripped series as a heavy drug-taker, or even the “life of the party.” Later in the series, Chris decided that consuming drugs had a great amount of negative effects on his life. So, in order to attempt to stop taking drugs, Chris decided to stop going to parties and hanging out with close friends (such as Jason) in order to not surround himself with bad influences and substances. Separating himself from his favorite things was very hard to do, but it had to be done to even think about becoming sober. In all, Chris started from rock-bottom and is slowly recovering, which shows that it is possible to overcome this problem, but it requires self-awareness and commitment in order to solve it.

The relationship between Chris and Courtney Angeletti was really engaging to me in Gripped Part 3, as it seemed to be very different and unlike all the other partnerships in the novel. Throughout Gripped Part 3, Courtney was heavily questioned by the rest of the characters about whether she was dating Chris soley for popularity. After seeing their relationship shift from being really strong to slightly weak, it seemed evident that they were going to break up, especially since Courtney turned into more of a party-girl even though Chris was trying to sober up. Specifically, I felt more interested to see which one of them would break it off first, as although Chris started to lose interest, he still thought of her as a good influence, and Courtney still wanted to be with him for social reasons.

Chris intrigues me the most in the series simply because of the change that he is enduring. I like how his personality and motives are positively shifting due to staying away from substances, and I like how he has become a lot more aware of his actions. However, after drinking with Jason at that one party, it is clear that he is still drawn to alcohol and drugs. In the future, I am interested to see how Chris’s older cousins Marc, Taylor, and Jordan will influence his actions, as it is foreshadowed that they will have bigger roles later in the series. But, seeing if Chris can make the successful changes needed for his life is very interesting, which is currently keeping me wondering about what is to come in Gripped Part 4


Kyle is a junior at University of Miami. He graduated in 2019 from Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. He has been an intern for us since 2018. His favorite subjects include Biology, English, and Entrepreneurship. Some of his hobbies are playing soccer and hockey, volunteering, and being with friends and family. Kyle is studying Biological Sciences, while also pursuing his passions for writing and business.

Other Articles by Kyle:

Fiction Book Helps Teens Prepare for High School

Teen Novel about Addiction Provides Hope for Redemption and Recovery

Teen Novel Educates Kids About the Perils of Substance Abuse

Why Teens Want to Read The Right Person

A Must-Read Novel For All High School Students

Teen Book Series Educates Readers about Drug Abuse in a New Way

Why You Should Read the #1 New Release “Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told”

Kyle Banker on The “Gripped” Characters

A Teen’s Review of Gripped Part 1

Looking Ahead to Gripped Part 2 with Kyle Banker

What Should Readers Expect from Gripped Part 2 (To Be Released Later This Year)

May’s Q&A with Kyle Banker of Beaver Country Day School

Kyle Banker Reviews “The Right Person” by Stacy A. Padula – A Young Adult Novel