Why “Gripped 4: Smoke & Mirrors” Should be on Your Reading List – by Sarah Parrish

| Written by Sarah Parrish, Dover, Massachusetts |

Meet Sarah Parrish

Sarah is a senior at Dover-Sherborn High School where she is captain of the Alpine Ski Team and the Track and Field Team. She is also a member of her school’s Peer Helping Club and Community Service club. Throughout the summer, Sarah works as a counselor at a local summer camp and also as a server at the Chatham Filling station. With a passion for leadership and athletics, she enjoys ski instructing at Burke Mountain and coaching field hockey for Dover-Sherborn Youth Field Hockey. She also enjoys her participation in the Senior High Youth Group at Pilgrim Church where she volunteers around her community. In her freetime, she enjoys boating, skiing, running and traveling. 

As a senior in high school, I would specifically recommend Gripped 4: Smoke & Mirrors by Stacy Padula to teenagers entering high school because it has an excellent storyline for people to educate themselves about what may go on in high school behind closed doors. It highlights the dangers of drug abuse and expresses how easily life can slip out of your hands when using drugs. Furthermore, it shows how drugs can ruin relationships and important career paths. The substance abuse depicted in Smoke & Mirrors is relevant for teenagers because it is conveyed in a real way. The book is not highly censored and gives its readers the real truth of drug abuse. Furthermore, it shows that recovery is possible through Chris Dunkin’s storyline, which is important for some teenagers to realize. Not only does the book show the downfall of people, but also those who come out of a bad place, such as Chris. 

I also believe parents should read Smoke & Mirrors in order to understand their children better and understand the realities of high school. Furthermore, parents can learn how to be better parents by admiring or criticizing how parents in the book raise their children. For example, some parents are very strict, consistently giving their kids drug tests, some rely on religion a lot, whereas other parents are more laid back. Parents can learn a lot from this because they can directly see kids’ responses to different parenting styles. 

Gripped Part 4: Smoke & Mirrors is a quick read, not filled with minute details, that remains focused on the characters and their experiences. It moves very quickly, keeping readers engaged from cover to cover.


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.