Teen Author Isabelle Semas Recommends “Taylor’s Story” to Her Peers

Isabelle Semas

By Isabelle Semas, Massachusetts

Based on the content of this book, I would recommend Gripped 5: Taylor’s Story to college and high school students. The topics introduced, as well as the ages of the characters, would be most applicable to that audience.  That being said, people of many ages will enjoy the mystery and drama within Taylor’s Story. The Gripped series tackles hard topics such as drug addiction, social pressure, and relationships.  The storytelling will grab any teen’s attention, while teaching them important truths about these topics.  Teenagers need to be aware of these things which they will encounter, and Stacy’s truth-filled writing is sure to both entertain and inform.

Gripped 5 provides us with wisdom through the messages laced within the plot.  One such message is shown through Taylor’s drug addiction: be careful what choices you make in your weakest moments.  Another, shown through Taylor’s senior-year scandal, is to be careful with whom you surround yourself.  The third, depicted in Chantal and Cathy’s story, is to communicate with those you love in order to avoid conflict.

My favorite part of Gripped 5 was the final chapter with Taylor.  The scene was emotional, and left me wanting more of the story.  Because of this, Taylor is my favorite character at this point in the series.

Taylor’s Story left me with many questions, which I hope to see answered in Gripped 6.  In future Gripped books, I hope to see Taylor finally reunited with his family, as well as some resolution to the police case.  I hope to see Taylor finally living safely, out of the crime ring he is trapped in.  He could go back to school, and play football again. Most importantly, I would like to see Taylor begin to restore the relationships wrecked by his addiction. I would also like to see Marc and Jordan make up. In Gripped 6, I hope to see more of Cathy and Chantal’s mended relationship.  With that, I want to see Cathy’s mental health improve.  I hope that Chantal’s boldness in her faith will rub off on Cathy. While I liked Cathy and Marc together, I still want to see Cathy and Jason as a couple again in the series. Jason and Cathy worked well together, and I was glad that some of Cathy’s confusion around their breakup was cleared up in this book.  Now that Jason has his life in order, he might help Cathy to straighten out some things in her own life if they got back together. However, I find Luke and Missy’s relationship problematic and hope to see them breakup in Gripped 6.  Luke involves himself in foolish pursuits just to impress Missy. I feel as though both would be better off apart, with Luke free from the social pressure Missy unknowingly places on him.

Taylor Dunkin is missing.
The last message Jordan Dunkin receives from Taylor leads him to Taylor’s abandoned Jeep. Each of Taylor’s family members holds a piece of the puzzle, and as the Dunkins begin putting the details together, they are awakened to the possibility they may never see Taylor again.

No one can find Missy Kent.
Missy’s boyfriend Luke Davids last saw her dancing with their friends at a nightclub, but she hasn’t responded to anyone’s texts or calls for hours.

Everything is connected.
Taylor and Missy’s friends are dangerously close to learning the truth, but their ignorance might be the only thing keeping them safe. Every clue is leading them closer to peril.

The fifth book in the Gripped series moves through details at a thrilling pace. Secrets are revealed and lives are at stake. Taylor, Missy, their friends, and their families must figure out who they can trust before it’s too late.

About Isabelle

Isabelle Semas is a 2021 homeschool graduate and best-selling author. She was inspired by her love of dystopian novels and her Christian faith to write her first book, The Crash, at the age of fifteen. The Crash was published by Briley & Baxter Publications in 2021. In Isabelle’s spare time, she sings in a christian band named NHB with her friends, is very involved in her church’s children’s ministry, and enjoys art.

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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.