The Gripped Characters: Q&A with Bella Gill on “The Truth We Never Told”

Written by Bella Gill, Pembroke, Massachusetts

Bella is a junior at Pembroke High School in Pembroke, Massachusetts.  She is a midfielder for the South Shore Select 2006 Girls Academy Soccer Team and is headed to the National Finals in St. Louis this summer.  She is also a midfielder for the Pembroke High School Girls Varsity soccer team.  Additionally, Bella is the vice-president of her class, a member of the Pembroke High School Yearbook staff and assistant coaches a U10 girls soccer team. Bella enjoys traveling with her family and friends, skiing, reading, babysitting, and working in the local office of a gastroenterologist. 
Bella’s favorite subjects include English, History, and Model UN.  She hopes to study abroad in Europe in college. 

After reading Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy A. Padula, Bella was interviewed on her opinion of the main characters

Who do you most relate to and why?

I believe that, as the story goes on, I most relate to Alyssa. I feel like I have found myself in very similar situations to those that she has been in. Sometimes, rumors and lies can break up relationships and friendships and I feel like that happens frequently in my circle of friends. I can also relate to her issue of feeling uncomfortable when some of her friends are fighting. Just like Alyssa doesn’t like to pick sides in a fight between her friends, I too like to stay out of it. 

Who do you like and why? 

My favorite character is Cathy because of how genuine and loving she is. I enjoy how she makes everyone around her happy and fun. She is very protective and caring towards her sister Chantal and I admire how she stands by her no matter what. Lastly, I love how Cathy can make her own decisions at parties and is independent enough to overcome peer pressure.

Who do you feel bad for and why?

Personally, I feel bad for Jon. I feel this way because Jon has conflicting feelings throughout the book and has trouble deciding if he should listen to his friends or his conscience. He feels as if the only way he can deal with his arguments with Chantal is by drinking, and I pity him for that. I also feel sympathy for him due to the extreme amount of peer pressure that Chris and his friends place on him about drinking and smoking. 

Who frustrates you and why? 

Throughout the story, Jordan frustrates me because he is supposed to be a role model for the younger kids, but instead tends to act in a dangerous manner around them. It angers me that he truly cares about his younger family members and friends, but doesn’t take care of them at parties. Secondly, I do not like how he supplies Chris and the younger kids with alcohol, knowing they are underage and will not drink responsibly. 

Who do you hate and why?

As I read the story I began to grow a hatred for Chris Dunkin. I did not like the way he tried to pressure his friends into making poor decisions. I also was not a huge fan of his relationship with Lisa and wondered why he was so inclined to smoke and drink at parties.


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.