This Cautionary Tale about Drug Abuse is a Must-read for Teens

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. 

The book, Gripped Part 3: The Fallout, by Stacy Padula is a must read for everyone, especially teens.  When we learn in the beginning of the book that former star football player Taylor Dunkin is being heavily investigated for his compliance to deal drugs, we pray that the police with the help of Taylor’s brother, Marc, can save him.  In Montgomery drugs are becoming more prominent than ever before as Luke Davids helps deal to many of the incoming high schoolers.  On one night of a party, Chris and Jason trip on acid, ruining all of Chris’ progress and changing both of their lives severely.  Cathy Kagelli continues to struggle with her faith beliefs and her battle with substances, being poorly influenced by her best friend Lisa and her boyfriend Jason.  Normal kids are starting to become a mess.

The Montgomery drama will keep all readers on their toes immersing the reader into the scene.   Relationships are changing every day as substance abuse brings friends apart and creates gaps in friend groups.  The beginning of high school for these characters is eventful and teaches teens to be prepared for anything.  If we notice kids are using substances the book encourages us to confront them as their personality changes while taking drugs.  Overall, I would rate this book a 5/5.  The reason I enjoyed it so much was because I learned so much about how drug abuse starts, ways I can avoid it, and enjoy reading about drama.


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.