A Captivating and Informative Read for Young Adults

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. 

Throughout the novel Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy Padula, readers learn the realities of some high school students that are often underestimated by those indirectly affected by high school traumas. The story starts by introducing Taylor Dunkin’s crushed NFL football career, as a result of the use of “harmless” painkillers which lead to dangerous drug abuse. The readers are only left to wonder where his recovery path will end up and where the future will take him. Meanwhile, Taylor’s supportive family is heartbroken to hear about his devastated dreams and harmful new lifestyle. Taylor’s younger brother Marc, a sweet and successful teenager, is the most affected. 

Meanwhile, the younger generation of Montgomery Lake High is first experimenting with drinking and partying, and several different storylines play out. The readers learn about Cathy and Jason’s new relationship and Cathy’s twin sister Chantal’s break up. We learn how drugs and alcohol can easily ruin relationships and tear people apart, even twin sisters who have been attached since birth. Gripped Part 1 begins to unfold the stories of innocent teenagers and we are only left to wonder how drug abuse will affect them going forward. I enjoyed reading this book because it could easily hold my attention. I believe it to be informative and captivating and an important wake-up call to most readers!


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.