Hingham High School’s Olivia Halle Reviews “Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told”

Written by Olivia Halle, Hingham, Massachusetts

Olivia Halle is a senior at Hingham High School. She is a member of the Varsity Tennis Team and also enjoys sailing, reading, and hiking. Olivia is involved in Hingham’s Mentor Program, Green Team, and Medical Sciences Club along with being president of her school’s National Honor Society. 

Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy A. Padula artfully depicts the initiation into a world of substance abuse, dealing with the consequences of peer pressure and addiction in an accessible way for young adult readers. The fast-paced first installment of the Gripped series feels like a whirlwind that surely will immerse the reader into the lives of the students of Montgomery, feeling the torment, regret, and hopelessness of substance abuse. This book provides a space for teens to explore their values without the effects and burdens that could arise from making rash decisions.

Following the life of Taylor Dunkin, a star football player who was a top NFL prospect, Gripped Part 1 gives insight into his struggles with substance abuse following a sidelining knee injury and the opioid epidemic. Taylor’s entanglements in the drug culture at Northeastern and his hometown, Montgomery, leaves him to be a prime target of an investigation into a Boston crime ring, even as he is trying to redeem himself and get clean. Yet, the pattern of drug abuse extends back to his family, as his younger brother, Jordan, and cousin, Chris, also become enraptured by drugs. Soon, the Dunkin family and their friends in Montgomery cannot break a relentless cycle of substance abuse affecting their relationships and community. Read Gripped Part 1 to find out if any character can break the cycle of addiction and redeem themselves!


Now being adapted for TV by Emmy-winning producer Mark Blutman!

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.

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.