‘Gripped 3: The Fallout’ by Stacy Padula Teaches Teen Readers about Recovery

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. 

In Gripped Part 3: The Fallout by Stacy Padula, readers can learn that if we are naive and get deep into drug abuse, there is still a way out. 

Except for that one night when Jason and Chris tripped on acid, Chris had been doing an excellent job recovering from his prior drug use.That one night when he tripped shows readers how strong we have to be if we are tempted with a situation like that.  Sometimes we have to completely avoid the situation if we can’t handle it, which Chris does at the end of the book by not going to the party at Jason’s.

Out of all the Gripped characters, Chris intrigues me the most because I really think it’s cool how much he has changed since his earlier drug abuse.  I find it extremely interesting the ways he is trying to avoid drug abuse.  The fact that he was willing to cut his best friend Jason out of his life and become the girlfriend of one his best friend’s ex was crazy.  Seeing Chris make decisions like this shows how serious he is to stay sober and cutting someone like Jason out of his life is very surprising given how social a person Chris is.  I also think Jordan seems to be becoming a pretty solid person since he has gone to play football at Notre Dame.  He is now a starter on the team and he doesn’t really use drugs anymore because he realizes how messed up football and school would be if he took drugs.  He has always been a pretty nice person in my opinion ever since he helped Cathy Kagelli at a party that one night in part 1.  This shows me his personality is very kind hearted although he is the life of the party. 

Through the characters’ journeys in Gripped Part 3: The Fallout, readers see that one reason some people begin using drugs is because of peer pressure.  The idea that all my friends are doing this so maybe I should too is very prominent.  This is why drugs spread so quickly through Montgomery because Luke knows everyone.  He spreads drugs to whoever and they spread it to more people and so on.  Another reason using drugs starts is because of a mental-health problem.  For example, Cathy has anxiety attacks, but Xanax calms her down so she takes it; Taylor is depressed about his injury so he misuses his pain medication to elevate his mood. However, through characters such as Chris and Jordan, readers learn that it is possible to escape from temptation and rebuild your life.


After a near-death experience, Chris Dunkin begins surrounding himself with positive influences and putting his efforts towards living a clean lifestyle. However, the night before school starts, his best friend Jason convinces him to host a party that shows Chris more about himself than he actually wants to know.

Meanwhile, Marc Dunkin has received word from a detective that his oldest brother Taylor is a person of interest in a highly confidential case headed by the Boston Police Department. They know Taylor’s clean; they know he wants out of the game; and they want to help make that happen. However, their “help” will come at a cost-one that may put Taylor and his entire family in grave danger. Taylor is trying to get his life back in order after an opiate addiction wreaked havoc on his once promising athletic future. Getting clean was a difficult feat, but breaking free from the Bilotti crime ring will present an even greater challenge.

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.