Multiple Timelines in Gripped #1 by Stacy Padula Make It a 5-star Read

Written by Timmy Weiss, Weston, MA

Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy Padula is a thrilling book that engrosses the reader in the story and teaches extremely valuable life lessons.  By exploring different timelines of its characters, it not only gives the reader a closer connection to each character but also shows the impactful effects of drug use.  Cathy, an innocent, faithful church girl in seventh grade, is shown as a recovering addict a couple years later in the story.  Taylor, a kid looked up to by everyone in Montgomery for his football talent, goes from a hard partier to a drug dealer that nearly overdoses.  Countless other normal kids from Montgomery High become addicts as well, showing how easily drugs can seep into our lives.

The book is a short and easy read that is perfect for middle and high school students.  Because the book has such a variety of character personalities every reader will relate in some way.  The twists and turns in the story will keep every reader on their toes, as some characters don’t always turn out the way you want them to…  I rate this book a 5/5 and would highly recommend reading it. I loved this book because it kept me entertained throughout and taught me lessons that are extremely valuable.


In high school, Taylor Dunkin broke more records than any other athlete to step foot in Montgomery, Massachusetts. As a sophomore in college, he was ranked by ESPN as one of the NFL’s top 100 prospects. However, his aspirations came to a jarring halt when a season-ending injury sent him spiraling into a dark world of pain, depression, and addiction.

One year later, Taylor is a person of interest in a highly confidential investigation headed by the Boston Police Department. He has entangled himself in a crime ring notorious for pushing drugs on local college campuses. Montgomery’s hometown hero has fallen hard, and he’s taking a lot of people down with him.

Luke Davids has become the middleman between Taylor and teens in Montgomery who want to buy drugs. Freshmen Cathy Kagelli, Chris Dunkin, and Jason Davids are just a few of the students at Montgomery Lake High who have fallen victim to the benzos and opiates supplied by Taylor and Luke.  

When Taylor’s youngest brother Marc discovers that Taylor is behind the copious amount of pills circulating around his high school, he sets off to not only reverse the damage Taylor has caused, but also save his lifelong role model from becoming a casualty of America’s deadly opioid epidemic.

About Timmy Weiss

Timmy Weiss is a senior at St. Sebastian’s high school.  He is a varsity tennis and varsity soccer player, as well as a part of MPA (men with positive attitudes), the newspaper named The Walrus, and the peer mentoring club. He enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, volunteering, and going to sports games. Soon he hopes to study communications 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.