Award-winning Y.A. Novel Shares Valuable Lessons about Communication, Goals, & Healthy Relationships – 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 believe many topics in Gripped Part 5: Taylor’s Story by Stacy Padula are relevant to teenagers, especially the effects that drugs have on romantic and family relationships. I also think that the book covers the importance of having goals and overall having a good balance in life. Furthermore, it covers the process of selling drugs and how complicated and dangerous it can become. I would especially recommend this book to teenagers in high school because it can be very educational to those in environments where teenage drug use is prevalent. I would also recommend this book to middle schoolers who are about to enter high school, to become more knowledgeable of what is to come.

This book has crucial messages about family, love, and relationships that every kid should learn.

Gripped Part 5 sends many messages to readers that are important to hear. Some of these that I will takeaway include how important it is to keep your goals straight and not be taken over by the excitement of social life and things going on around you. I also believe that it highlights how important relationships with your family are, shown through Taylor’s side of the story. From the start of his drug addiction, he has lost touch with his family, and is now realizing the importance of family and is beginning to repair his lost connections. Lastly, I believe that Gripped teaches readers to be more sensitive to those around you, as there will always be miscommunication and things going on in people’s life that we don’t know about. For example, at the beginning of Gripped 5, I can understand how Jordan and his family would be so upset with Taylor for not picking up Jordan at the airport, but since we know Taylor’s side, we can understand that it is not his choice.

Looking ahead to Gripped Part 6, I am most curious to find out what happens to Taylor in the future and whether he will make it back to his family and end up making up for his lost time. I also wonder how Marc and Jordan will do with their football careers in the future. I think it would be interesting to see if Taylor and his struggles are a setback or an inspiration to Marc and Jordan. 


Taylor’s Story won the Silver Award in the 2022 Readers’ Choice Book Awards for Best Teen Book

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

Taylor Dunkin is missing.

The last message Jordan Dunkin receives from Taylor leads him to Taylor’s abandoned Jeep. Each of Taylor’s family members holds a piece of the puzzle, and as the Dunkins begin putting the details together, they are awakened to the possibility they may never see Taylor again.

No one can find Missy Kent.

Missy’s boyfriend Luke Davids last saw her dancing with their friends at a nightclub, but she hasn’t responded to anyone’s texts or calls for hours.

Everything is connected.

Taylor and Missy’s friends are dangerously close to learning the truth, but their ignorance might be the only thing keeping them safe. Every clue is leading them closer to peril.

The fifth book in the Gripped series moves through details at a thrilling pace. Secrets are revealed and lives are at stake. Taylor, Missy, their friends, and their families must figure out who they can trust before it’s too late.

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.