Fast-paced, Educational, & Engrossing: Stacy Padula’s “Gripped 4” is a Must-Read for Today’s Teens – by Olivia Halle

| Written by Olivia Halle, Hingham, Massachusetts |

Meet Olivia Halle

Olivia is a senior at Hingham High School, where she is the president of National Honor Society. She is a member of the Varsity Tennis Team and also enjoys sailing, reading, and hiking. Olivia is involved in Hingham’s Mentor Program, Green Team, and Medical Sciences Club. 

The topics covered in Gripped Part 4: Smoke & Mirrors by Stacy A. Padula are extremely relevant for teenagers who will soon face similar choices to what the characters in the novel experience.

Since the novel confronts substance abuse and relationships, teenagers will feel prepared to make an informed decision as they encounter such experiences. As a senior in high school, I would recommend Gripped Part 4 to all adolescents because the content dealt with in this novel – substance abuse, sobriety, and relationships – is incredibly important while also being accessible to a young adult audience. This novel does not glorify what growing into adulthood is, but navigates how alluring situations can create negative outcomes. As adolescents are maturing, they should know how to handle complex situations, and reading Gripped Part 4 will educate them on how to follow their own principles. Parents should also read this book in order to understand what their child is or will be facing in the coming years. This will enable parents to effectively deal with and educate their child on how to navigate difficult situations such as substance abuse. Reading Gripped Part 4 will make parents feel more connected to their children and even foster a greater strength in their relationship as they will feel the struggles that their child has to deal with.

While reading, I feel invested in the characters and their relationships, which evidently keeps me continuing to read the series. I also feel that Gripped Part 4 moves at such a fast pace that makes me able to read it in a single sitting. Stacy Padula’s writing is so digestible yet engrossing that it’s hard to put down. I love having the flashbacks that piece together the current events, which keeps the book interesting to read and navigate. Having the flashbacks and weaving storylines keeps the plot unexpected and a thrill to uncover. I also love how natural the dialogue between characters feels in this book; it makes the reader feel as if they are in the midst of the conversation, too. 

In Gripped Part 5, I cannot wait to delve even deeper into the Bilotti crime ring. Part 4’s cliffhanger of Marc and Jordan searching for Taylor after he failed to pick Jordan up from the airport makes me want to begin reading Part 5 immediately. I cannot wait for even more intensity and suspense when it comes to Taylor navigating his way out of drug dealing.


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

After spending her first month of high school grounded, Cathy Kagelli is finally allowed to socialize and uncover what her boyfriend, Jason Davids, has been up to without her. When Cathy realizes Jason has been experimenting with a variety of drugs, she devises a plan to save him from himself… but she just may lose herself in the process.

Meanwhile Taylor Dunkin finds himself playing a game with even higher stakes because his life, his reputation, and the safety of everyone he loves are all on the line. Taylor’s two younger brothers, Jordan and Marc, have been at odds for years, but they are brought together to decipher the mysterious clues Taylor is leaving regarding his whereabouts. As secrets are revealed, the Dunkin boys’ relationships will be changed forever.

In Taylor’s weakest moment, he made a deal with the devil, and now there is a reckoning. But who will pay the price?

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.