Q&A with Plymouth North’s Julia Trenholm on “The Truth We Never Told”

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.

After reading Stacy Padula’s Y.A. novel, Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told, Julia was asked a series of questions about her opinion on certain characters, the plot line, and the messages in the book.

Who would you recommend Gripped Part 1 to and why?  

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 trying new rebellious things. Reading this book will teach young students how to deal with these situations and stay true to themselves when faced with this position.

How do you as a young adult relate to the story? 

As a young adult, I can relate to this story because throughout my teen years I have been involved in a lot of different social situations and had to learn how to navigate through them. What was most hard for me was growing up with friends and watching them drift away and starting to surround themselves with new people and drugs. It was upsetting seeing the person I once knew and loved was destroyed because of these substances taking over them. 

What did you like best about the story?

What I liked best about this story is it has such a great plot that pulls you right into the story, making you feel you are truly 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 Taylors drug problem involving the police, Cathy and Jason’s romantic relationship, and Jon and Chantals toxic and complicated relationship. All of these circumstances keep you on your toes while reading.

What message does this book send to readers?

The main message that this book sends to readers is the outcomes that drug addiction can take you into. As well as  you need to educate and think before putting yourself in a situation 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.

About the characters…

Who do you feel bad for and why?

I feel most bad for Taylor. This is because Taylor went from being a successful student and football star to being a drug dealer and user. He didn’t realize how relient he was on these drugs and dangerous substances. He snapped  into reality once he saw how his younger cousin Chris and his friends were affected by it. This showed him how addicted he really was which was devastating, but it made him determined to escape from the addiction and better his life for not only himself but for others around him.

Who frustrates you and why? 

The character who most frustrates me is Jon. This is because Jon can be self centered and doesn’t know how to be self advocating. Whenever he has troubles, his friends want to help him but he won’t allow them to as he suffers from the drama he created. He also is a follower not a leader. He lets Chris and his friends determine the decisions he makes, resulting in consequences. 

Who do you like and why?

I really like Cathy because she is genuine and a very caring person. We can tell she loves her family, especially his sister Chantal who is her twin. We have seen this throughout the story as she always puts her sister before herself, and does everything she can to help her sister navigate through her tough relationship with Jon. She always wants to make sure her sister is happy and making the best decisions for herself. Who do you hate and why?

There are a few different storylines running through Gripped Part 1 because it is setting up the rest of the series. What storyline do you find the most interesting and why?

I find the relationship between Cathy and Jason most interesting. This is because they have similar personality types, which contributes to them having such compatibility between each other. They are alike, yet so different and they know to balance each other out and be there for the other when one needs support. The tension between them makes the relationship much more intriguing, as they learn more about each other.

Gripped Part 1 sets up the rest of the series but leaves a lot of things “hanging.” What are you most curious to uncover by reading Gripped Part 2?

I think I am curious to uncover how Chantal goes about pursuing her relationship with Andy, her former ex-boyfriend, or Jon, her most recent ex-boyfriend. She realized overtime she didn’t like the way Jon was acting and treating her because of him doing drugs behind her back, lying, and hanging with his girl best friend Alyssa more than her. This led her to start talking to Andy again, but the situation behind Jon may not have been as it seems to be.


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.