Written by Kyle Banker, University of Miami
In Stacy Padula’s Y.A. novel, Gripped Part 4: Smoke & Mirrors, I immensely enjoyed the dual storyline between Taylor’s unexpected secret life with his crime circle and the interactions of Cathy and Jason. This setup allowed for the reader to be learning more information about Taylor in one chapter, and then swap to a house party containing Cathy and Jason in the next chapter. While describing both of their scenarios in a three-hundred page novel may seem difficult, Padula does a terrific job of distributing content evenly for each storyline. Through this, it always felt exciting to jump from one story to another, as the reader is exposed to quick and crucial information through every flip of a page.
I really liked the consistent flow of action and dialogue that was spread out throughout the story. At every page, a development of either a character or scene was implemented, which allowed the reader to absorb new and meaningful content. Within this, the dialogue from all the characters was showing and progressive, meaning that new physical and personality traits were shown through most conversations between characters. Also, there were a great deal of cliffhangers and interesting storylines that made Gripped Part 4 a very enjoyable read, as the novel never lost its taste of suspense and big moments. Finally, I think that the novel ended on a perfect note, as I feel fully prepared and excited to embark onto the next novel of the series. Overall, Gripped Part 4 is definitely the most exciting and tense novel from the series, and it is a fun, yet significant read targeting towards all young adults.
In Gripped Part 5, I am most curious to learn about where Taylor is and where he went after his interaction with his “crime circle” at the pizza parlor. Gripped Part 4 ends with Jordan, Marc, and Cathy finding Taylor’s abandoned car, and after a quick call with their dad, it is clear that Marc and Jordan’s dad knows something about Taylor that they have not figured out yet. Specifically, I am intrigued to figure out what the dad knows, as he probably received news about something related to Taylor. Additionally, I am also interested in seeing how Missy and Luke’s relationship turns out, as Luke seems to be questioning Missy’s motives and actions throughout the novel. I am not really sure if they will remain together in the next novel, but the reader could see very meaningful conversations between the couple in Gripped Part 5.
After spending her first month of high school grounded, Cathy Kagelli is finally allowed to socialize and uncover what her boyfriend, Jason Davids, has been up to without her. When Cathy realizes Jason has been experimenting with a variety of drugs, she devises a plan to save him from himself… but she just may lose herself in the process.
Meanwhile Taylor Dunkin finds himself playing a game with even higher stakes because his life, his reputation, and the safety of everyone he loves are all on the line. Taylor’s two younger brothers, Jordan and Marc, have been at odds for years, but they are brought together to decipher the mysterious clues Taylor is leaving regarding his whereabouts. As secrets are revealed, the Dunkin boys’ relationships will be changed forever. In Taylor’s weakest moment, he made a deal with the devil, and now there is a reckoning. But who will pay the price?
ABOUT KYLE BANKER
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.
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