The Gripped Characters: Q&A with Bella Gill on “Blindsided”

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 2: Blindsided by Stacy Padula, Bella was asked to share her opinion of the main characters.

  1. How has your opinion of Taylor changed from the beginning of the series until the end of book 2?

My opinion of Taylor has changed greatly from the beginning of the series to the end of book 2. I have grown a liking for Taylor because I believe he is doing his best to get his life back on track and make his family proud. Although he has been involved with dealing and using drugs, I believe that Taylor is finally on the way to becoming sober and possibly accomplishing his dream of getting back out on the football field. 

  1. How has your opinion of Chris changed since the beginning of the series?

As the series has gone on, my opinion of Chris has changed multiple times. At the start I thought of him as a fun, outgoing friend to the twins, Jon, Jason, and the rest of their friends. Soon after that, I think Chris became too addicted to drugs and partying so he went down a very dark path, which evidently led to his visit in the hospital and breakup with Lisa. Following this scary incident, I began to like Chris more because I was happy with how he was truly trying to stay sober and keep people out of his life who weren’t going to help him reach his goal. 

  1. After reading books 1 & 2, are you rooting for Cathy to end up with Jason or Marc? 

After finishing the first two books in the Gripped Series by Stacy Padula, I have come to support the relationship between Marc and Cathy over Cathy and Jason. I prefer this couple because I feel as if Jason fails to bring out the best in Cathy’s personality, and I believe Marc can. Secondly, I believe Marc does his best to protect Cathy from harmful substances and alcohol, meanwhile Jason encouraged Cathy to take pills for her anxiety, and continued to experiment with drugs himself. I personally maintain the opinion that Cathy is happier and feels safe around Marc, and when she is with Jason she becomes apathetic and loses her spark.

  1. What are your honest thoughts on Chris and Lisa’s relationship? 

I believe that Chris and Lisa tend to have an unstable and unhealthy relationship. I feel as if they are toxic, and due to Chris’ bad decision making it puts the both of them in constant danger. I also believe Lisa put too much effort into trying to make Chris happy, when he has a serious drug abuse problem and needs to get himself sober.

  1. Who are your two favorite characters so far in the series and why?

My two favorite characters in the series so far are Courtney and Marc. These two people are my personal favorites due to their ability to restrain from the bad activity their friends participate in. I love how they can make their own decisions but also be able to hangout with their friends and be caring and loving people. I enjoy how Courtney understands that Chris is struggling and reaches out to him to be a safe, sober friend, and I also am very fond of how Marc does his best to protect his friends from these harmful substances.


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.