“Gripped 3” Shows Deeper Causes of Teen Substance Abuse Than Many Would Think

Written by Maya Daly, Duxbury, Massachusetts

Gripped Part 3: The Fallout by Stacy Padula is a Y.A. fiction novel about substance abuse and relationships. It shows readers that drug abuse stems from deeper issues within people’s lives—more than just bad influences or hanging out with the wrong crowd. While there are some bad influencers in the series, many times when characters get deeper into drugs is when something bad happens externally in their lives; they cope in unhealthy ways by turning to drugs. One example of this in this series is Jason Davids. When he was upset about his falling out with his best friend Chris Dunkin, he overcompensated for his pain by drinking excessively and using drugs. Though being around the wrong people does not help with drug use, many times it comes heavily into play when something within their lives goes wrong.

So far in the series, female protagonist Cathy Kagelli has been the most intriguing character to me, as she has had the most substantial change in her from the beginning of the series to now. It seems that she has gotten herself into a sticky situation filled with lies and half truths, where she is drifting farther and farther from the morals she once had in the beginning of the series. I am interested to see if she takes the steps to get closer back to her original self, and if so, how she will go about doing so.

While I think that Marc Dunkin will be a good influence on Cathy because of his mainly sober lifestyle, it seems that Cathy still has some unresolved feelings toward Jason, which likely will complicate their relationship. I think that Cathy and Jason have a very good and deep understanding of each other, and in the end, I think that they both do want the best for one another. I am more so rooting for her and Jason, but I think that Cathy could benefit from more time apart from Jason while she tries to stay away from the drugs that she was close to becoming addicted to. In the end, I think that Cathy and Jason will reunite with each other, but hopefully in a healthier way where they both are able to be in a better headspace and away from drugs. 

After a near-death experience, Chris Dunkin begins surrounding himself with positive influences and putting his efforts towards living a clean lifestyle. However, the night before school starts, his best friend Jason convinces him to host a party that shows Chris more about himself than he actually wants to know.

Meanwhile, Marc Dunkin has received word from a detective that his oldest brother Taylor is a person of interest in a highly confidential case headed by the Boston Police Department. They know Taylor’s clean; they know he wants out of the game; and they want to help make that happen. However, their “help” will come at a cost-one that may put Taylor and his entire family in grave danger. Taylor is trying to get his life back in order after an opiate addiction wreaked havoc on his once promising athletic future. Getting clean was a difficult feat, but breaking free from the Bilotti crime ring will present an even greater challenge.

About Maya Daly

Maya is a junior at Duxbury High School, where she is a member of the Varsity Rowing Team. In school, she is a part of the yearbook club, Best Buddies club, and Habitat for Humanity. She enjoys studying English and history, and plans to major in one of those subjects in college. 

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.