Oliver Ames ’21 Graduate Recommends Y.A. Novel to High Schoolers

By Emily Han, College of William & Mary

As a college freshman, I would recommend Gripped Part 5: Taylor’s Story by Stacy Padula to any teenagers who are about to or are going through high school. I would also recommend it to parents who have kids going through high school or college. This book approaches important topics about substance abuse, which many teenagers are not prepared for when going into social gatherings in high school and college. Many schools do not educate kids on the risks of substance, other than the bare minimum. Taylor’s Story sends the message that even less severe things, such as getting some drugs at a discounted rate for your friends, can lead you into a dangerous crime ring. It can lead you to have your life threatened. It also describes how substance abuse can make you forget who you are, and what you value most. While reading, I enjoyed how the two main storylines seemed separated at first, but connected to reveal everyone’s point of view and thoughts. 

In Gripped 6, I am most eager to discover what will happen with Taylor’s storyline. Will the Biolottis still come for his family, even though Jimmy’s plan was in action? Will his family sit back and let the investigation run its course, even though their son is in danger? I hope Taylor manages to get clean and out of the ring, without harming himself or those he cares about. I also hope he stops supplying to his town, and cleans up the mess he made there. I hope Cathy and Chantal can rekindle their friendship and realize that their bond and friendship bonds are better than any relationship they can be in. I hope Cathy and Jason do not get back together, since they’re obviously toxic. Even if they’re both clean, they started that way in their previous relationship and it still spiraled into problems for them. I think Cathy should move on, since she’s obviously too good for Jason. I also hope that Luke breaks up with Missy, since she, to me, looks like she’s taking advantage of him, and he’s definitely changed his morals and ideals since being with her. 


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 Emily Han

Emily Han graduated in 2021 from Oliver Ames High School in Easton, Massachusetts. She was the captain of her varsity field hockey team and a leader on her club team, Lead The Way. She was a member of National Honor Society and a founder of the PAWS Club and an active member of the Jimmy Fund Club. Emily now attends the College of William & Mary. She has a passion for environmental science and marine science. Her hobbies include scuba diving, exercising, and volunteering at local field hockey clinics and with Save The Bay.

More Articles by Emily:

Teens Relate to New Y.A. Book Series

Refreshing Y.A. Book Prepares Teens to Make Difficult Decisions

Emily Han on the “Gripped” Characters

Easton Teen Says Y.A. Novel Is Too Relevant To Be Ignored

Teen Fiction Novel Exposes Consequences of Substance Abuse

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.