Teen Novel “Blindsided” Educates & Entertains

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.

The book, Gripped Part 2: Blindsided, by Stacy Padula is a continuation of the Gripped book series. Gripped Part 2 continues to tell the story of substance abuse and its negative consequences. This book focuses on more characters, such as Chris Dunkin. Chris is known as “the life of the party”. With his parents working abroad all the time, Chris’ house is available for him and his older cousins to throw parties. These parties lead Chris and his friends to experiment with different drugs.

One morning after throwing a party, Chris wakes up with no recollection of the night before. When his older cousin Marc and his best friend Jason tell him that he nearly overdosed from mixing different drugs and alcohol, he decides that he must get his act together and he tries to get sober. This causes Chris and Lisa’s relationship to end. Chris realizes that he has been a bad influence on Lisa after he encouraged her to take molly with him. He decides that the only way for him to get sober was if they spent some time apart.

Also in Gripped Part 2, we see a continuation of Cathy Kagelli and Jason Davids’ relationship, which takes a bit of a twist when Cathy begins to experience anxiety and panic attacks. She decides to start smoking marijuana to help her relax in social settings. Jason begins to worry that her marijuana use will develop into something bigger later. 

Gripped Part 2: Blindsided keeps its readers intrigued and wanting more with every turn of the page. It is entertaining while teaching students the values of relationships and the harm substance abuse causes. I rate this book a 5/5 because of its valuable life lessons and its ability to keep the audience entertained.


Now being adapted for TV by Emmy-winning producer Mark Blutman!

Fourteen-year-old Chris Dunkin is known for being the life of the party and everyone’s favorite friend. Despite his amicable nature, he carries around deep-seated pain from his childhood that he frequently numbs with alcohol and drugs.

After hosting a party, Chris awakes with a strange vibe running through his body and no recollection of the previous night. When he learns the horrifying truth of what his night entailed, the trajectory of his life is changed forever.

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.