The ‘Gripped’ Characters: Q&A with Timmy Weiss on ‘Blindsided’

Written by Timmy Weiss, Weston, MA

Timmy Weiss is a senior at St. Sebastian’s high school.  He is a varsity tennis and varsity soccer player, as well as a part of MPA (men with positive attitudes), the newspaper named The Walrus, and the peer mentoring club. He enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, volunteering, and going to sports games. Soon he hopes to study communications in college. 

After reading Gripped Part 2: Blindsided by Stacy A. Padula, Timmy was asked to share his honest opinion on the characters.

How has your opinion of Taylor Dunkin changed from the beginning of the series until the end of book 2? 

In the beginning of the series I mostly thought good things about Taylor even though I knew he was in a deep hole with drugs.  I thought he was super nice to people at the parties at Chris’ house and always looking out for people to make sure they were ok.  He always was a great kid.  Now I just feel really bad for Taylor because I know how good of a person he was and still is, but you can tell he regrets so much.  At the end of part 2 talking to Michelle and Katie we see his concern for Jordan and Marc’s relationship, showing how caring of a person he still is.  All of his great traits are still there and I’m happy he wants to get out of the drug business, making me feel bad that he can’t yet.

How has your opinion of Chris Dunkin changed since the beginning of the series? 

In part 1 Chris was not one of my favorite characters.  I thought he was wrong to push so many people to drink and he was wrong for drinking at such a young age.  These bad decisions defined his character for me despite his always caring friendship with everyone.  In part 2 I was surprised how deep into drugs he was without even realizing and I really just was mad at him for doing all these things.  Then also pushing people to try drugs was worse.  However, I felt very proud of him towards the end of part 2 because he really is trying to turn his life around.  I think his character development in part 3 will be very interesting to see given how naturally caring of a person he is.

After reading books 1 & 2, are you rooting for Cathy to end up with Jason or Marc?

This is a tough question because I love Marc and think that he is a great guy.  He clearly would treat Cathy well and keep her out of trouble, but for some reason I still want Jason and Cathy to be together.  In part 1 the way their relationship started seemed so natural and that it was a such a good fit between the two of them so i feel like that connection should come back.  At the end of part 2 Jason and Cathy admitted their faults using drugs with each other and it showed how much trust and care they had for each other.  It was a great moment of their love even though Cathy and Jason had changed since they first met.  Overall, I hope Cathy ends up with Jason because they are meant to be with each other as long as drugs don’t mess them up.

What are your honest thoughts on Chris and Lisa’s relationship? 

I think that it was good for them to break up because they both need to figure some things out and can be bad influences on each other for some reason.  It is hard to say that though because they have a great relationship with each other since they clearly love each other enough to break up for the better of themselves.  I respect Chris a lot for realizing he needed to break up with Lisa to help himself.

Who are your two favorite characters so far in the series and why? 

Chris and Marc.  I was very mad at Chris when he was using bad drugs and almost died one night.  However, I really respect everything that he is doing to make a change to his behavior.  He also is still an extremely nice person to everyone when he isn’t on drugs and forcing people to do stuff.  Marc is my other favorite character because of how mature and professional he is about everything.  He clearly cares a ton about football and does whatever he can to give himself an advantage against his competition, leading to his commitment to BC.  Although he can easily get mad and upset with people like he did with both of his brothers, it is only because he cares about both of them so much.  When given the opportunity to help Taylor he was immediate to go to action at the end of the book.

Fourteen-year-old Chris Dunkin is known for being the life of the party and everyone’s favorite friend. Despite his amicable nature, he carries around deep-seated pain from his childhood that he frequently numbs with alcohol and drugs.

After hosting a party, Chris awakes with a strange vibe running through his body and no recollection of the previous night. When he learns the horrifying truth of what his night entailed, the trajectory of his life is changed forever.

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.