The Gripped Characters: Q&A with Olivia Halle on “Gripped 4: Smoke & Mirrors”

| 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. 

After Reading Gripped Part 4: Smoke & Mirrors by Stacy A. Padula, Olivia was asked to share how her opinions of some of the main characters have evolved over time.

Gripped Part 4 finally provides insight into Luke’s true character, as someone who is a genuinely sweet and caring friend and sibling. I used to think of Luke as a careless drug-dealer, but he truly is a good person.

After finally meeting Jordan in the books, I can say that he is a compassionate and empathetic person that can light up any room. The bad reputation that had been alluded to throughout the series was dispelled practically upon his arrival. 

Seeing Taylor maintain his sobriety is a true testament to how much he has changed and how he really wants to turn his life around. I continue to root for him and can’t wait to see how he navigates the Bilotti crime ring.

I used to think of Jason as someone who was cool yet smart, but I feel that he has lost himself over the past couple of books. He has fallen into the cycle of drug abuse and has become a negative influence on those who surround him, especially Cathy.

Cathy really needs to break free from her relationship with Jason, as it is obviously impacting her ability to keep her sobriety. When it comes to Jason, she trusts him too much, and as a result she is left paralyzed when confronting her addiction.


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.