Dover-Sherborn Senior Recommends Relatable Y.A. Book to Teens

Written by Sarah Parrish, Dover, Massachusetts

Sarah is a senior at Dover-Sherborn High School where she is captain of the Alpine Ski Team and the Track and Field Team. She is also a member of her school’s Peer Helping Club and Community Service club. Throughout the summer, Sarah works as a counselor at a local summer camp and also as a server at the Chatham Filling station. With a passion for leadership and athletics, she enjoys ski instructing at Burke Mountain and coaching field hockey for Dover-Sherborn Youth Field Hockey. She also enjoys her participation in the Senior High Youth Group at Pilgrim Church where she volunteers around her community. In her freetime, she enjoys boating, skiing, running and traveling. 

As a senior in high school, I found Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy Padula to be very relatable because the author shares the plot in a teen friendly manner. I have noticed that the words and phrases she uses are very much like the way teens really speak which makes the readers feel as if we are really speaking to the characters and hearing their life stories directly. Knowing people with different addictions, I am able to relate to characters in the story such as Taylor’s friends and family.

Therefore, I would recommend Gripped Part 1 to students entering high school so they can gain necessary knowledge of what may go on around them to help prevent their own involvement with drugs and alcohol. I would also recommend it to parents and even teachers of middle and high school students to increase their awareness of what can possibly go on throughout the lives of teenagers. While I would recommend the book to anyone, I think it is a must read for these groups of people to expand their awareness in the topic which has become so important in today’s day and age.

I really enjoyed that the story covered many different plots and focused on certain characters at different points throughout Part 1. I felt as if I had really gotten to know the characters and the drama that persists. I loved that I got to see the entire progression of Cathy and Jason’s relationship from the moment they met because I am now better able to grasp their similar personalities for next parts of the story.

Personally, I find Cathy and Jason’s storyline the most interesting because it was following from the very beginning of their relationship. I also liked that there was foreshadowing of when they were broken up before the story of them was initially told because it built up suspense of what was to happen to them. I think their relationship is really innocent and sweet and I am very curious to see what happens in the future. 

I am most interested to see what happens with Taylor in the future and how his football career will end up playing out. I wonder if he will continue to use drugs or will end up getting his act together to become a successful player once again. I hope that he does not disappoint his family any further, especially his brother Marc. I also wonder where he will end up playing football and how Marc’s BC football career will collide with Taylor’s.

Overall, Gripped Part 1 sends a sad yet crucial message to the readers. It conveys how substances can change one’s path in life and how fast things can happen. It accurately shares the chaos in typical teenage life, which is often surprising to most.


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.