3 Important Messages in ‘Gripped 5: Taylor’s Story’ Make It 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. 

I would recommend Gripped Part 5: Taylor’s Story by Stacy Padula to teenagers, especially younger ones.  The book mostly details the risky behaviors of high schoolers.  It is important for young teens to learn how dangerous using drugs can be before they get to the age where an opportunity to use substances is possible.  Learning the serious effects drugs can have on someone’s life will hopefully help teenagers from engaging in dangerous substances. The topics are extremely relevant because as a teenager you want to have a lot of fun.  Whatever you can do to have more fun teenagers try, which makes drugs so appealing at times.  In the book when people tempt others with drugs they make it seem fun, but the reality is that the effects will be much worse and at times devastating.  We learn through Taylor that starting simple on drugs can easily lead to a downhill spiral that could put yourself in a horrible spot like Taylor’s involvement in the mafia.

This book sends many important messages to readers. The first is that supplying drugs to people can cause harm that you do not intend.  The second is that using drugs to have a good time is extremely dangerous because we don’t realize when we have used too many drugs and we think taking substances will help us have more fun, when it will do the opposite.  Lastly, is that God always has a plan for us, even when things seem to go wrong, so the more we can trust in that plan the better.

The thing I liked best about this book was how Taylor connected with all of his younger brother Marc’s friends.  It was very interesting to see the relationship that he built with them while not revealing that he was a drug dealer trying to get free.  I also really enjoyed how an exclusive number of characters knew certain things.  Lots of times in the book one character would know something, but another wouldn’t and it would build suspense and drama very well. 

In Gripped Part 6, I am most curious to uncover how Taylor will stay safe with so many people after him.  I’m also curious what information Taylor will share with the FBI that can hopefully help shut down the bilotti’s crime regine and drug supply in Boston.  Next, I am very curious to see if Paul and his guys will go after Taylor’s family or if they will be safe because Rob told them things.  Lastly, I am curious to learn whether Cathy will be drawn back to Jason or if her and Marc will become boyfriend and girlfriend.


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.