The Gripped Characters: Q&A with Deirdre Mitchell on ‘The Truth We Never Told’

Written by Deirdre Mitchell, Villanova, PA

Deirdre Mitchell is a junior in high school and attends the Academy of Notre Dame in Villanova, Pennsylvania. Deirdre enjoys dancing, traveling, and being with friends and family. One of Deirdre’s favorite places to travel was London. At school, Deirdre is a part of the dance company, environmental club, and campus ministry. Deirdre also runs her own non-profit organization, called Community Dress Shop, where she collects prom dresses and gives them to girls who would normally not be able to afford one.

After reading Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy Padula, Deirdre was asked a series of questions about the main characters.

Who do you most relate to and why?

The character I relate to the most is Cathy. I relate to Cathy the most because at the beginning of the book she feels very insecure, not having a group of friends. I relate to this because I had to move cities in high school and I, too, felt very insecure starting a new school without a group of friends. 

Who do you feel bad for and why?

The character I feel bad for is Taylor. He got caught up in being at the wrong place at the wrong time. As a result, he lost his commitment to Notre Dame for football. To make the situation even worse, his brother Jordan received a commitment which made it even more difficult for Taylor to move forward. 

Who frustrates you and why? 

The character that most frustrates me is Jordan because he is a bad influence on his younger cousin, Chris. When Chris’ parents are away, Jordan hosts parties at Chris’ house which exposes his young cousin to inappropriate substances, which could negatively influence Chris leading him onto a dark path.  

Who do you like and why? 

The character I like the most is Marc. I like Marc because he has shown interest in helping Taylor get over his drug problem. Also, I think Marc is a great influence on Chris because he never wants to expose Chris to drugs and alcohol like his brothers do. These two examples show that Chris cares a lot about family, which is why I like him.  

Who do you hate and why?

The character I don’t like is Taylor because I think he is selfish. One reason I think Taylor is selfish is because he can see how his drug abuse is hurting his relationship with his family, but he doesn’t seem to care. Another reason I think Taylor is selfish is because he used Chris’ house as a party house, which exposed Chris to drugs. Unlike Marc, Taylor does not seem to care about his family, which is why I don’t like him.   


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.