| Written by Laurie O’Sullivan, Dover, Massachusetts |
Meet Laurie O’Sullivan
Laurie is a 17 year old senior at Dover Sherborn High School where she likes to be involved with sports and extracurriculars. She is part of the National Honor Society and tutors high schoolers who want extra help in biology. She runs on the track team, leads a service club, is part of a women’s group, and is involved with an environmental club. In her free time, she likes to read, listen to music, and play the piano. Her love for spending time with kids is shown through her summer job as a camp counselor and her regular babysitting hours. She hopes to study communications in college and travel a lot in the future!
The Gripped book series by Stacy A. Padula in undeniably an intense series for anyone, but especially for teenagers while they’re in a very vulnerable stage in their life. The drug use and sexual content in Gripped Part 2: Blindsided will surely get it banned from schools, but the topics are too relevant in teenage culture to be ignored. The reason this age group should read the series is because they are going to be exposed to many of its topics and issues whether they learn about it through a book, or see their classmates slip into dark places. I believe it’s better for teenagers to learn about drug abuse and struggles through a book, where you can obviously see the negative outcomes, as opposed to trying drugs themselves and possibly getting into a bad lifestyle.
In addition to learning about how harmful drugs are, kids can learn a lot more from Gripped Part 2: Blindsided. They will read about struggles in relationships and how they can be overcome or ruined depending on levels of honesty. The plot is powered by relationships, and it shows the strain that bad decisions one person makes can affect a whole community. Most importantly I believe they will become inspired to stay on track and focus on their goals so that they can be successful.
Gripped’s protagonist, Taylor Dunkin, has always been a favorite character of mine since the beginning of the series, but we definitely see a different side of him in the second book. His character is complex, but he shows his improvement as well as how he’s overcoming his issues, which makes me have so much sympathy towards him. He is trying to get better and succeeding, which makes me proud of him—I’ve grown to like him even more. Taylor continues to be ever changing, which is why he is still one of my favorite characters.
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.
“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, Netflix’s Emmy award-winning series ‘Last Chance U’
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