Written by Megan Farinacci, Medfield, MA
As a senior in high school, I highly recommend the book Gripped 4: Smoke & Mirrors, along with any of the books in the Gripped series by Stacy Padula, to parents and teens. Gripped 4 touches on heavy topics like drug and alcohol abuse, which are rarely talked about in schools across the country. It is important for teens to be knowledgeable on these topics and be able to share their knowledge with their peers for the good of their community.
Many of the parents in Gripped 4 are oblivious to their children suffering from drug addictions. Drug addictions are not predictable; we see, first hand, that the characters in Gripped 4 have been able to conceal their struggles with drugs and alcohol from their parents and even their closest friends. Gripped 4 can be eye opening for any parent because, after reading it, they will come to realize how easy it is for children to hide their struggles from their parents.
The Gripped series offers many perspectives on issues that are relevant to both parents and teens. It is important for teenagers to be knowledgeable on the effects of substance abuse and how we can prevent those around us from following a path that many of the characters in Gripped 4 follow. These issues are prevalent in our society, and the Gripped book series offers many different perspectives that relate to real life situations.
In addition to being informative, Gripped 4 keeps readers hooked through its jumping timeline and numerous perspectives. The constant flashbacks give us a series of information on certain characters we would not get otherwise and help readers form a unique perspective of each character. The book also jumps from character to character, which keeps the readers wanting to turn the page. Learn more about Gripped 4:
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?
“Invigorating, engaging and a must read. The characters in The Gripped Series diligently tackle the essence of forces that can limit greatness within.” – LaTonya Pinkard of Netflix’s Emmy-winning series Last Chance U
“Stacy Padula’s masterful control of a bifurcated storyline keeps the reader intrigued in two chronologies of events. The characters grow richer with each passing novel, as the depth of relationships between them approaches reality.” – Mackenzie Wells, University of Georgia
“This book is perfect for teens and their parents as it offers unique perspectives on complex issues that teens face today. Teens and parents can learn from this book as it offers insight into the difficulties one may find navigating through high school or parenting a teen through high school. Overall, Gripped 4 was a fascinating read that leaves so much to be answered in Gripped 5. I would give this book a 10/10 and would encourage all teens and their parents to pick up this book along with the entire Gripped series.” – Michael Farinacci, University of Notre Dame
“This novel is an engaging and meaningful read, ideal for high school freshmen, while also being very applicable to adults wanting to know more about teenage drug abuse. Gripped Part 4 displays the many drawbacks of taking drugs, including losing friends, girlfriends, and your thoughts on your own life. As a result, Padula effectively shows the extreme efforts needed to begin overcoming an addiction in order to begin a new life; this is shown to be very hard to complete. This would hopefully influence all young adults to avoid using drugs in order to prevent going through this troublesome process, and to avoid losing the trust and relationships with loved ones and friends.” – Kyle Banker, University of Miami
About Megan Farinacci
Megan is a senior at Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart. She is a member of the Varsity Cross Country and Varsity Lacrosse teams at NCDS. She also plays club lacrosse for Mass Elite. She is involved in her school’s health science, yearbook, and running clubs. She has a passion for art and is currently studying 2D design. Megan also enjoys traveling. Over the summer, she traveled to Guatemala with School the World where she helped build a school for a community in need. Her favorite subjects are science and English. She plans to study science or nursing in college.