Taylor’s Story: an exhilarating page-turner with valuable lessons for all

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 5: Taylor’s Story, by Stacy Padula is an exhilarating, page-turner with valuable lessons for all.  Taylor Dunkin does everything in his power to escape from a mafia drug dealing association.  Unfortunately for him the tension between the police and his boss’s crime ring is rising and the blame needs to be put on someone.  A great kid, who is sober now for 6 months, Taylor is the perfect candidate to blame.  Him, his friends, and his family could be in severe danger.  Taylor works through many dilemmas and without the help of his brother Marc’s friends, the FBI, and people involved in the drug dealing business, he could easily be killed.  Now, more than ever, Taylor regrets the decisions he’s made in his past five years.

Taylor and other kids from Montgomery start to realize how bad the effects of using drugs can be.  What can start out as just being a way to have fun can turn into supplying drugs for younger kids, getting a serious addiction, and ruining the life that you had.  Taylor and other characters start to show their strength in standing up for themselves and others when it comes to drugs, showing us the mature and committed side of Taylor’s personality.  Characters also learn the importance of trusting in God’s plan for you when things are not working out.  Overall, I would rate this book a 5/5.  I was deeply invested in the layers of drama between characters.  Countless times some characters knew something that others didn’t, building serious tension and intensifying the reader’s experience.


Taylor Dunkin is missing.
The last message Jordan Dunkin receives from Taylor leads him to Taylor’s abandoned Jeep. Each of Taylor’s family members holds a piece of the puzzle, and as the Dunkins begin putting the details together, they are awakened to the possibility they may never see Taylor again.No one can find Missy Kent.
Missy’s boyfriend Luke Davids last saw her dancing with their friends at a nightclub, but she hasn’t responded to anyone’s texts or calls for hours.

Everything is connected.
Taylor and Missy’s friends are dangerously close to learning the truth, but their ignorance might be the only thing keeping them safe. Every clue is leading them closer to peril.

The fifth book in the Gripped series moves through details at a thrilling pace. Secrets are revealed and lives are at stake. Taylor, Missy, their friends, and their families must figure out who they can trust before it’s too late.

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.