Written by Maya Daly, Duxbury, Massachusetts
Maya is a senior 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.
Gripped Part 4: Smoke & Mirrors is a thrilling continuation of Stacy Padula’s riveting series, following a group of teens who find themselves in various situations relating to drug and alcohol abuse. From Taylor Dunkin, a former star football player of Northeastern University, who finds himself in more trouble than he would have expected after becoming addicted to and dealing drugs, and now has to navigate through possible danger relating to the police and crime ring connections. To the turbulent relationship of Cathy Kagelli and Jason Davids, who navigate through the inevitable problems of a teen relationship, while also having the outside influence of drugs impacting both of their lives. For all of the characters in this book, drugs, alcohol, and drama are all factors in their lives that can not be escaped, making for a thrilling plotline with many interesting characters.
The combination of the compelling plotline with the many unique and complex characters makes for a great read from start to finish. This book provides an interesting glimpse into the complicated and difficult lives many of the characters who are “gripped” by drugs face, making for an important and informative story. This book is five star read, an intriguing story that makes it hard to put down!
Now being adapted for TV by Emmy-winning producer Mark Blutman!
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 (Ms. P) from Netflix’s Emmy Winning Docuseries “Last Chance U”
“Gripped is perfect for Middle School and High School students, as well as their parents. It is an educational, yet entertaining narrative that highlights the growing problem of addiction in the U.S and just how easy it is for harmless fun to take a dark turn, regardless of who you are or where you come from.” – Elizabeth Harvey, Emerson College
“I recommend Gripped to young adults in middle school and high school because this book addresses topics such as relationships, drugs, and alcohol that most books recommended for this age group don’t go into enough detail about. With the opioid epidemic at an all time high, it is important that teens educate themselves on the dangers that drugs bring, and this book does a great job at providing an in depth look on the consequences of getting involved in dangerous, illegal substances. I would also recommend this book to parents of teens so they can get a better understanding of how to deal with issues regarding addiction, or simply just issues regarding their children’s relationships. By reading about this story of young adults who got caught up in drugs, parents and teens will be better informed and will hopefully be more comfortable to have open conversations about the topic.” – Sophia Coggeshall, University of Notre Dame