Pembroke High School’s Bella Gill Reviews “Gripped 4: Smoke & Mirrors” by Stacy Padula

| Written by Bella Gill, Pembroke, Massachusetts |

Meet Bella Gill

Bella is a junior at Pembroke High School in Pembroke, Massachusetts.  She is a midfielder for the South Shore Select 2006 Girls Academy Soccer Team and is headed to the National Finals in St. Louis this summer.  She is also a midfielder for the Pembroke High School Girls Varsity soccer team.  Additionally, Bella is the vice-president of her class, a member of the Pembroke High School Yearbook staff and assistant coaches a U10 girls soccer team. Bella enjoys traveling with her family and friends, skiing, reading, babysitting, and working in the local office of a gastroenterologist. Bella’s favorite subjects include English, History, and Model UN.  She hopes to study abroad in Europe in college. 

The novel, Gripped Part 4: Smoke and Mirrors, written by Stacy Padula is an entertaining page turner about the lives of various high school and college students who have struggled with peer pressure and issues of substance abuse. Taylor Dunkin, one of the series’ protagonists, has specifically been struggling with drug abuse, which has led him to become a drug dealer for a large mafia agency. The Dunkin brothers, although following different paths, come together to decipher the mysterious clues following Taylor’s whereabouts and past encounters with drugs. On another storyline, Cathy Kagelli, following her month-long groundation, has grown to realize that her former boyfriend Jason has been experimenting with some pretty dangerous substances. She must devise a plan to save him, without hurting herself or her friends in the process.

I highly recommend this book to high school students and young adults, because of the easy ability they will have to relate to characters and their situations of peer pressure and stress of being a teenager. Young adults will be able to understand what each character is going through, and will be able to comprehend how internally everyone feels. I rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars, because of its exciting plot twists and never-ending mysteries that continue to appear as the novel progresses.


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.