Plymouth North Senior Recommends Y.A. Novel about Opiate Addiction to Teens

Written by Julia Trenholm, Plymouth, Massachusetts

Julia Trenholm is from Plymouth, Massachusetts where she attends Plymouth North High School. Her favorite subjects include marketing and science. Some of her hobbies include cheerleading and singing in the Northern Lights A cappella group. Julia would like to study communications in college.

Have you ever wanted to read a fun and intriguing book that pulls you in the story from the start, but also educates you on the hardships of growing up as a teen?  Well this is the book for you!

Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy Padula has a great storyline for any age, whether you are in middle school, high school, college, or are a grown adult. This story includes easy to follow perspectives of different groups of kids in the town of Montgomery, including a variety of different ages of students coming from different family backgrounds. This includes Taylor, a former star high school football player with opportunities to play for top colleges, but he has dealt with drug abuse after a knee injury, and Jordan and Marc, his brothers who have been pushed away from Taylor because of drugs becoming a significant part of his life.

Throughout the story, it takes him time to realize how much he can impact his younger peers and influence them as he is the one everyone had looked up to. Next we have the Davids brothers, (Luke and Jason) who are kind but experimental when it comes to growing up and being around new things. Then the Kagelli twins, (Chantal and Cathy) who are very reserved, traditional, and embrace their Christian religion wherever they are, whatever situation they are put in. They may all be different regarding social situations and their morals, but they all are good friends.

What I liked best about this story is it has such a great plot that pulls you right in, making you feel you are truly a part of the book. The storyline is also very engaging, and you get to know each character personally. I loved that there were always a few situations happening at a time, such as Taylor’s drug problem involving the police, Cathy and Jason’s romantic relationship, and Jon and Chantal’s toxic and complicated relationship. All of these circumstances keep you on your toes while reading.

I would recommend Gripped Part 1 to anyone but particularly middle school students and high school students. This is because the storyline is quite relatable to students, as kids tend to encounter peer pressure, self pressure, and the temptation to try new, rebellious things. Reading this book will teach young students how to deal with these situations and to stay true to themselves when faced with these tough positions. The main message that this book sends to readers is what drug addiction can pull you into, as well as you need to educate yourself and think before putting yourself in a situation that there could be no turning back from. This story also educates readers on the importance of discussing drugs and substances, which is a topic that isn’t taught about as much as it should be. I rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars.


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.