Written by Maya Daly, Duxbury, Massachusetts
Maya is a senior at Duxbury High School, where she is a member of the Varsity Rowing Team. In school, she is a part of the yearbook club, Best Buddies club, and Habitat for Humanity. She enjoys studying English and history, and plans to major in one of those subjects in college.
Gripped Part 5: Taylor’s Story by Stacy Padula sends many important messages to readers. Here are my top three:
Staying true to moral and social values, despite what the people around you may be doing. A common theme we see in the series is how easy it is to cave to social pressures, and how distancing yourself from your beliefs is never a good thing, and can only lead to bad consequences.
To communicate before making quick judgments. Another common storyline we see throughout the series is the progression of brothers Marc and Jordan Dunkin’s tumultuous relationship, which has mainly been caused due to what now seems to be a misunderstanding. If this had been communicated earlier on, the two would not have had so much tension and anger between themselves.
Asking for help before it is too late. As Taylor had gotten himself deeper and deeper into drugs, he inevitably got himself involved with a rather “bad” crowd. At this point in the series, this has thrown Taylor into a very bad place, where it is unclear if he will make it out of this situation alive. If he had been more open about his issue, he could have had help before he had gotten too far deep and involved with this crowd.
Now being adapted for TV by Emmy-winning producer Mark Blutman!
Now being adapted for TV!
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.
Taylor’s Story won the Silver Award in the 2022 Readers’ Choice Book Awards for Best Teen Book.
“Invigorating, engaging and a must read. The characters in The Gripped Series diligently tackle the essence of forces that can limit greatness within.” – LaTonya Pinkard (Ms. P) from Netflix’s Emmy Winning Docuseries “Last Chance U”
“Gripped is perfect for Middle School and High School students, as well as their parents. It is an educational, yet entertaining narrative that highlights the growing problem of addiction in the U.S and just how easy it is for harmless fun to take a dark turn, regardless of who you are or where you come from.” – Elizabeth Harvey, Emerson College
“I recommend Gripped to young adults in middle school and high school because this book addresses topics such as relationships, drugs, and alcohol that most books recommended for this age group don’t go into enough detail about. With the opioid epidemic at an all time high, it is important that teens educate themselves on the dangers that drugs bring, and this book does a great job at providing an in depth look on the consequences of getting involved in dangerous, illegal substances. I would also recommend this book to parents of teens so they can get a better understanding of how to deal with issues regarding addiction, or simply just issues regarding their children’s relationships. By reading about this story of young adults who got caught up in drugs, parents and teens will be better informed and will hopefully be more comfortable to have open conversations about the topic.” – Sophia Coggeshall, University of Notre Dame