Article by Jennifer O’Sullivan of Dover, Massachusetts

Jennifer O’Sullivan, Dover-Sherborn Class of 2020

Throughout The Right Person by Stacy Padula, loyalty and faith were common themes in many scenarios. Several characters had certain desires but knew that they had to stay loyal to a person or to a commitment. Additionally, God being a place of strength became increasingly apparent as the story advanced. Characters like Chantal and Courtney relied on faith from the beginning and at first, seemed like the strongest characters. As time went on, Courtney’s faith dwindled, yet she regained it by the end of the book. As Courtney’s faith was recovered, she encouraged Chris to do the same with his faith. In a powerful turn of events, Chris turns to God and trusts in Him. Despite seeming likely to be on a bad path for the rest of his life and being unable to stay sober, Chris gives himself up to God and stays sober from that day on.

As a teenager in a public high school, the stories in this book ring true to my experience. People from all backgrounds and faiths are constantly being put up against the tests of peer pressure and temptation, and many fail. To turn his or her life around, this person must find either a higher power or inner strength in order to combat these struggles.

This book accurately reflects the concept that if a person, especially a high schooler, stays true to a moral set of values, they may overcome struggles with much more ease. There have been many times when all of my classmates or all of my friends are doing something that feels wrong to me and although I could be seen as “lame” or “too worried about it”, I know that it’s wrong and I am proud of myself when I stick with my convictions instead of falling prey to peer pressure.

Additionally, the book shows how important it is to avoid these temptations. Teens would benefit from this book both by being inspired to stay true to themselves and by learning how to face certain obstacles in high school. This book also benefits those who may feel that they are lost or straying from God. This book shows that even the most faithful have to overcome these struggles, and that there is always a way to make things right.

Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person

Growing up in the shadow of two NFL-destined cousins, Chris Dunkin has high hopes for his own future in football. However, a drug addiction threatens to destroy everything he has worked hard to attain. When Chris meets Courtney Angeletti—the mayor’s straightedge Christian daughter—he believes she could be the source of inspiration he needs to overcome his destructive lifestyle. Courtney, however, has other ideas. The desire to rebel has been tugging on Courtney’s heartstrings for some time, and Chris’s “bad-boy” reputation draws her to him like a moth to a flame. After all, he is a central part of the most popular clique in her high school. Will Chris pull Courtney away from her faith or will Courtney inspire him to overcome his addiction?

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$2.99 Kindle | $11.50 Paperback

About Jennifer O’Sullivan: Jennifer O’Sullivan is a junior at Dover Sherborn High School who enjoys reading, playing the piano, spending time with friends and doing volunteer work. Jennifer leads her school’s community service club, runs on her school’s cross country and track teams and loves to travel, especially to Ireland where she spends time with friends and family.

Last month, Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told was ranked as the #1 New Release on Kindle in its genre. The author is giving it away free on Sunday April 14th on Amazon.

Free on Kindle 4/14/19

Today & tomorrow, Stacy Padula’s #1 New Release “Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told” will be available for FREE on Amazon Kindle!

Download it this weekend and read it anytime. Once you download it, it will remain in your Amazon cloud or on your device until you delete it.

Don’t have a Kindle? No problem! You can download the free Kindle app on your smartphone or read it on your computer using Amazon’s free cloud reader.

Get Your Free Book Here

Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told

In high school, Taylor Dunkin broke more records than any other athlete to step foot in Montgomery, Massachusetts. As a sophomore in college, he was ranked by ESPN as one of the NFL’s top 100 prospects. However, his aspirations came to a jarring halt when a knee injury and two surgeries left him sidelined.

One year later, Taylor is a person of interest in a highly confidential investigation headed by the Boston Police Department. He has entangled himself in a crime ring notorious for pushing opiates, cocaine, and benzodiazepines on local college campuses.

When Taylor’s younger brother Marc discovers that Taylor is behind the copious drug supply circulating around Montgomery Lake High School, he sets off to not only reverse the damage Taylor has caused, but also save his lifelong role model from becoming a casualty of America’s deadly opioid epidemic.

In its release week, Gripped was ranked by Amazon as the #1 New Release for Children’s books about drug use on Kindle.

To Readers Across America:

Each day, more and more young adults fall prey to substance abuse. As an educator who works mainly with high school students, I was moved to write a book series for teenagers that shares how it happens—how good kids become drug addicts, how downward spirals start, how harmless fun can quickly turn into a life-threatening addiction.

The story told in the series is raw and realistic. I did not censor much of the content, for I believe the truth is important and powerful. In our world in which twelve-year-olds overdose in middle school bathrooms, it is time for authors to stop sugarcoating their content to appease schoolboards. I am aware that this book may be banned by public schools because of the harsh realities portrayed between its covers. However, I did not write any part of the Gripped book series in hopes of it being taught in English classrooms. The truth is far too controversial for that, even though the events depicted in Gripped happen daily across America.

The series portrays the story of Taylor Dunkin who was an acclaimed college athlete, seemingly destined for the NFL but sidelined by injury. His depression leads him to begin abusing his pain medication and eventually become a drug dealer to support his habit. He supplies drugs to high school students from his hometown, which leads to other characters becoming ensnared. The story shows how drug abuse can skew individuals’ values and change their perspectives. It follows other characters such as Luke Davids, Cathy Kagelli, Chris Dunkin, and Jason Davids (also featured in my Montgomery Lake High book series) whose lives have been affected by Taylor’s decisions. It shows the psychological, biological, and environmental reasons behind why people often begin experimenting with drugs and how slippery the slope can be. Most importantly, this book series educates readers on how people can pick up the pieces of their lives and recover from such a horrific epidemic.

I have written five other young adult novels that address teenage social issues. They comprise the Montgomery Lake High book series, which is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Over the past eight years, the books have frequently been on the Amazon top 100 best seller list for young adult books that address substance abuse. In the fall of 2017, four of the books were top 10 best sellers within the category. Considering the sharp rise in prescription drug overdoses and opiate abuse, I feel that this book series is needed now more than ever. Please join me in helping to protect the youth from opiate and benzodiazepine abuse by recommending Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told to a teenager you know.

Sincerely,

Stacy Padula

About the Author

Stacy Padula, a native of Pembroke, Massachusetts, has accrued years of experience working with adolescents. She has been a mentor, life coach, youth group leader, and private educational consultant with extensive experience in the fields of college counseling, tutoring, and standardized test preparation. She is the Founder and President of South Shore College Consulting & Tutoring based in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Awards: Stacy was in Marquis Who’s Who in America 2018 for excellence in literature and education, as well as Cambridge Who’s Who for Young Professionals and Marquis Who’s Who in the World. In 2018, she was awarded the Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement award, and in 2019, the International Association of Top Professionals chose Stacy Padula as their “Top Educational Consultant of the Year.” As a young adult, Stacy was featured in Who’s Who Among American High School Students and awarded the Academic Achievement Award in Miss Teen Southern New England for having the highest GPA.

Publications: Stacy’s first novel, “The Right Person,” was published in 2010. In 2011, “When Darkness Tries to Hide” was published, followed by “The Aftermath” (Padula’s personal favorite) in 2013. In 2014, both “The Battle for Innocence” and “The Forces Within” were released, and in 2015, all five books hit the shelves of Barnes & Noble. For Stacy, it was a dream come true to see her books for sale in the popular, mainstream bookstore! In 2016, Barnes & Noble chose Stacy to be a featured author for its teen book festival. In 2019, she released a new book series called “Gripped,” which chronicles how good kids become drug addicts.

On April 13th & 14th, Stacy Padula’s #1 New Release “Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told” will be available for FREE on Amazon Kindle!

Download it this weekend and read it later. Once you download it, it will remain in your Amazon cloud or on your device until you delete it.

Don’t have a Kindle? No problem! You can download the free Kindle app on your smartphone or read it on your computer using Amazon’s free cloud reader.

Get Your Free Book Here

Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told

In high school, Taylor Dunkin broke more records than any other athlete to step foot in Montgomery, Massachusetts. As a sophomore in college, he was ranked by ESPN as one of the NFL’s top 100 prospects. However, his aspirations came to a jarring halt when a knee injury and two surgeries left him sidelined.

One year later, Taylor is a person of interest in a highly confidential investigation headed by the Boston Police Department. He has entangled himself in a crime ring notorious for pushing opiates, cocaine, and benzodiazepines on local college campuses.

When Taylor’s younger brother Marc discovers that Taylor is behind the copious drug supply circulating around Montgomery Lake High School, he sets off to not only reverse the damage Taylor has caused, but also save his lifelong role model from becoming a casualty of America’s deadly opioid epidemic.

In its release week, Gripped was ranked by Amazon as the #1 New Release for Children’s books about drug use on Kindle.

To Readers Across America:

Each day, more and more young adults fall prey to substance abuse. As an educator who works mainly with high school students, I was moved to write a book series for teenagers that shares how it happens—how good kids become drug addicts, how downward spirals start, how harmless fun can quickly turn into a life-threatening addiction.

The story told in the series is raw and realistic. I did not censor much of the content, for I believe the truth is important and powerful. In our world in which twelve-year-olds overdose in middle school bathrooms, it is time for authors to stop sugarcoating their content to appease schoolboards. I am aware that this book may be banned by public schools because of the harsh realities portrayed between its covers. However, I did not write any part of the Gripped book series in hopes of it being taught in English classrooms. The truth is far too controversial for that, even though the events depicted in Gripped happen daily across America.

The series portrays the story of Taylor Dunkin who was an acclaimed college athlete, seemingly destined for the NFL but sidelined by injury. His depression leads him to begin abusing his pain medication and eventually become a drug dealer to support his habit. He supplies drugs to high school students from his hometown, which leads to other characters becoming ensnared. The story shows how drug abuse can skew individuals’ values and change their perspectives. It follows other characters such as Luke Davids, Cathy Kagelli, Chris Dunkin, and Jason Davids (also featured in my Montgomery Lake High book series) whose lives have been affected by Taylor’s decisions. It shows the psychological, biological, and environmental reasons behind why people often begin experimenting with drugs and how slippery the slope can be. Most importantly, this book series educates readers on how people can pick up the pieces of their lives and recover from such a horrific epidemic.

I have written five other young adult novels that address teenage social issues. They comprise the Montgomery Lake High book series, which is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Over the past eight years, the books have frequently been on the Amazon top 100 best seller list for young adult books that address substance abuse. In the fall of 2017, four of the books were top 10 best sellers within the category. Considering the sharp rise in prescription drug overdoses and opiate abuse, I feel that this book series is needed now more than ever. Please join me in helping to protect the youth from opiate and benzodiazepine abuse by recommending Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told to a teenager you know.

Sincerely,

Stacy Padula

Caitlin Shields

Article by Caitlin Shields of Norwell, MA

I would recommend Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy A. Padula to people of all ages—but especially to those around a similar age to the characters, which is middle school and high school. The book touches on topics that everyone can relate to in some way, making it versatile enough for everyone to be interested in the story.

As a young adult, I can relate to the story because I have witnessed many similar events and situations that the characters are faced with, and I understand the complexity of the change in everyone’s lives during middle school and high school. I particularly related to the huge misunderstanding between Cathy and Chantal, as well as their friends, in the sense that the whole disaster could have been avoided if they had talked it out. It was fascinating seeing all the different influences the characters had on each other, and how someone’s morals can completely change, based on who he or she is around.

My favorite parts of the story were when the characters were finally coming together to learn about all kinds of truths that evaded them and how they began to understand that the course of their lives could have gone in a completely different direction just because of a few small events.

This book sends the important message to readers that everything is not always what it seems, and there is great value in communication, as well as, looking out for your friends.

About Caitlin Shields

Caitlin is a freshman at Fordham University where she studies Communications. Her favorite hobbies and interests include psychology, photography, fitness, community service, and traveling. Caitlin has been heavily involved with volunteering and raising funds for The Boys & Girls Club of Brockton since age fourteen. She has a passion for connecting with people and hopes to have a career focused on helping others.

More articles by Caitlin:

Q&A with Caitlin Shields on Young Adult Novel “When Darkness Tries to Hide”

Q&A Part 2 with Caitlin Shields on When Darkness Tries to Hide

Why Teens Should Read “The Right Person” by Stacy Padula

Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told

In high school, Taylor Dunkin broke more records than any other athlete to step foot in Montgomery, Massachusetts. As a sophomore in college, he was ranked by ESPN as one of the NFL’s top 100 prospects. However, his aspirations came to a jarring halt when a knee injury and two surgeries left him sidelined.

One year later, Taylor is a person of interest in a highly confidential investigation headed by the Boston Police Department. He has entangled himself in a crime ring notorious for pushing opiates, cocaine, and benzodiazepines on local college campuses.

When Taylor’s younger brother Marc discovers that Taylor is behind the copious drug supply circulating around Montgomery Lake High School, he sets off to not only reverse the damage Taylor has caused, but also save his lifelong role model from becoming a casualty of America’s deadly opioid epidemic.

In its release week, Gripped was ranked by Amazon as the #1 New Release for Children’s books about drug use on Kindle.

Joanna Dakoyannis, Dover-Sherborn Class of 2020

Joanna Dakoyannis is a junior at Dover-Sherborn High School. She enjoys creative writing, traveling, going to the gym, running track for her high school team, and cheering on her team at school sporting events. She plans to be a science major in college and hopes to eventually attend dental school. Joanna read Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person by Stacy A. Padula and wrote the article below, sharing her honest thoughts and recommendations.

The Right Person—the first book in the Montgomery Lake High series by Stacy A. Padula—was an exceptional book, which I highly recommend to teens and preteens. It was nice to read a book about topics that I could relate to, compared to the typical, heavy English literature books that I am assigned to read in my AP-Lang class at school. I found the book very interesting, and I was always wanting to read more. The Right Person provides a very accurate description of the situations that occur in high school and similar to “real life.” I could not wait to see what would happen next.

Throughout the book, it shows examples of friendship issues, boy issues, and substance issues. These are things that every high schooler can relate to and is also exposed to. The book shows teens how to deal with these issues and eventually emerge with a positive outcome. This book would help preteens to prepare for true high school experiences, instead of the way it is sometimes glamorized in movies or TV shows.

There are many different characters in the book and each one is going through something different, whether it is a boyfriend predicament, friendship dilema, or drug problem. This makes the book more understandable to a wider audience, and can help show kids that they are not alone.

Additionally, The Right Person, through its theme of being influenced, can also teach teens the consequences of their actions.  Things we say or do affect other people. Even though sometimes we feel very self-focused, this book shows us that we have the power to influence others and should also be aware of the way others can influence us. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series! – Joanna Dakoyannis

Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person

While Chris Dunkin’s parents travel freely for business, his older cousins Jordan and Taylor are left in charge. A parentless household provides the perfect venue for Jordan, a senior in high school, and Taylor, a junior in college, to throw parties that soon become infamous in Montgomery. After two years, Chris–donned “the life of the party” by his popular group of friends–begins high school with a responsibility to live up to his reputation. Deep down inside, however, he wants more than that. Through a twist of fate, he crosses paths with Courtney Angeletti, the mayor’s straightedge Christian daughter. At a crossroads, Chris must choose between continuing down the wide road to destruction or venturing into uncharted territory.

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Montgomery Lake High in the News
Radio Interview with Rob Hakala (95.9 FM South Shore Morning News)
Radio Interview with Doug Llewelyn (CUTV/The People’s Court/Judge Judy)
Radio Interview with Jim Masters (CUTV, PBS, ABC)

Article by Nicholas Alva, Tempe, AZ

Nick read “Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told”—a new young adult novel by Stacy A. Padula—and answered the below questions about the main characters. He also shared insight on what he is looking forward to uncovering in “Gripped Part 2,” which will be published later this year.

Who do you feel bad for and why?
Lisa Ankerman

I feel most bad for Lisa because of her home life. Her mother left her when she was young, and then her Father was killed by a drunk driver. She no longer has either parent and her brother was forced to put aside his career ambitions to take care of her.

Who frustrates you and why?

Jon frustrates me the most because of his erratic behavior and propensity to hurt others around him.

Who do you most relate to and why?
Bryan Sartelli

I most relate to Bryan. While he is more of an under the radar character, his inclination to avoid all the drama and focus on his own life when appropriate is something I resonate with. Going through Middle School and High School I never did drugs and practically never drank, which is the way he is.

Who do you like and why?

Along with Bryan because of the fact I can resonate with him, I really like Marc. He has set his priorities straight and is focused on being the best version of himself.

Who do you hate and why?

Hate may be a strong word, but I really dislike Luke because of the fact that he took Cathy to pick up drugs to deal at school from Taylor’s place.

There are a few different storylines running through Gripped Part 1 because it is setting up the rest of the series. What storyline do you find the most interesting and why?

I am most intrigued by two story arcs. The first being what happened between Jason and Cathy that resulted in such a major fallout. The second being Taylor’s story that has now associated with the Boston Police. Will he ever play football again, or will the police investigation force him to take another path in life?

Gripped Part 1 sets up the rest of the series but leaves a lot of things “hanging.” What are you most curious to uncover by reading Gripped Part 2?

Taylor’s story is beginning to evolve which I am excited to read more about. But what is left entirely unknown is what Jason did to Cathy that resulted in their messy breakup, and has left Jason consumed with guilt.

Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told

In high school, Taylor Dunkin broke more records than any other athlete to step foot in Montgomery, Massachusetts. As a sophomore in college, he was ranked by ESPN as one of the NFL’s top 100 prospects. However, his aspirations came to a jarring halt when a knee injury and two surgeries left him sidelined.

One year later, Taylor is a person of interest in a highly confidential investigation headed by the Boston Police Department. He has entangled himself in a crime ring notorious for pushing opiates, cocaine, and benzodiazepines on local college campuses.

When Taylor’s younger brother Marc discovers that Taylor is behind the copious drug supply circulating around Montgomery Lake High School, he sets off to not only reverse the damage Taylor has caused, but also save his lifelong role model from becoming a casualty of America’s deadly opioid epidemic.

In its release week, Gripped was ranked by Amazon as the #1 New Release for Children’s books about drug use on Kindle.

About Nicholas Alva
Nick Alva

Nicholas is sophomore at Arizona State University, where he studies Communications. Originally from Needham, Massachusetts, he is an avid sports fan and world traveler. His main interests lie in journalism, sports statistics, playing hockey, and attending athletic events. Nick hopes to have a career in the field of sports journalism.

Article by Jennifer O’Sullivan of Dover, Massachusetts

Jennifer O’Sullivan, Dover-Sherborn Class of 2020

The Right Person by Stacy Padula is a story that portrays the many difficulties that high school students face in the present day; from drugs, alcohol and partying, to faith and friendship, this book covers it all. I recommend this book to anyone who is struggling to find him/herself under the pressure of society and friends. Not only does this book show that placing value on the wrong things and normalizing certain unhealthy behaviors distances you from yourself, the book also shows how difficult, yet rewarding, it is to find yourself again. I would also recommend this book to anyone who is going into or is in high school, because it is a preview of the many immoral things that can occur.

Additionally, the book shows how important it is to avoid these temptations. Teens would benefit from this book both by being inspired to stay true to themselves and by learning how to face certain obstacles in high school. This book also benefits those who may feel that they are lost or straying from God. This book shows that even the most faithful have to overcome these struggles, and that there is always a way to make things right.

In addition to teenagers, adults with children should read this book in order to empathize with their high schoolers and the tough decisions that they constantly make behind closed doors. If adults could understand some of the struggles that their children face, they could potentially aid in stopping a bad habit from worsening.

Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person

While Chris Dunkin’s parents travel freely for business, his older cousins Jordan and Taylor are left in charge. A parentless household provides the perfect venue for Jordan, a senior in high school, and Taylor, a junior in college, to throw parties that soon become infamous in Montgomery. After two years, Chris–donned “the life of the party” by his popular group of friends–begins high school with a responsibility to live up to his reputation. Deep down inside, however, he wants more than that. Through a twist of fate, he crosses paths with Courtney Angeletti, the mayor’s straightedge Christian daughter. At a crossroads, Chris must choose between continuing down the wide road to destruction or venturing into uncharted territory.

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About Jennifer O’Sullivan: Jennifer O’Sullivan is a junior at Dover Sherborn High School who enjoys reading, playing the piano, spending time with friends and doing volunteer work. Jennifer leads her school’s community service club, runs on her school’s cross country and track teams and loves to travel, especially to Ireland where she spends time with friends and family.

Written by Elizabeth Harvey, Needham, MA

Elizabeth Harvey is a college sophomore, where she studies communications. She is currently continuing her studies at Northeastern University after spending her freshman year at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communications. She recently began reading Stacy Padula’s new teen book series “Gripped,” which was released one month ago by Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Below she shares a recommendation for the first book in the series “The Truth We Never Told.”

I recommend “Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told” by Stacy A. Padula to Middle and High School students, as it is a quick and easy read that immediately captivates the reader. There is a lack of books and information about drugs and alcohol that provide insightful information put into a context that teenagers will find both entertaining and educational; making “Gripped Part 1” a perfect book for Middle and High School students. Although aimed at a teenage demographic, “Gripped Part 1” is also relevant for adults, specifically parents of adolescent children or adults with younger siblings or other young family members. This book could help adults better understand the teenage perspective and the various day-to-day challenges and temptations that Middle and High School students face. Recognizing the growing addiction problem in the U.S is one of the first steps in tackling the complexity of it and helping others who may be struggling.

As a young adult, I find this story to be incredibly relatable. Presently, the opioid epidemic is increasing every day, especially for young adults. There is a lack of information about drugs and alcohol in the American school system and I personally never was given any info in Middle or High School about the topics discussed in “Gripped Part 1.” As a college student now, this story is even more relatable because my exposure to both drugs and alcohol has increased significantly since High School and I see first hand the adverse effects that the abuse of these substances has on both physical and mental well-being.

This story explored essential topics in a fun and entertaining way, but what I enjoyed most was just how real the characters seem. While reading “Gripped Part 1,” I felt as though I knew all the characters. The story and characters are fully realized and have so much depth, that this allowed me to become fully immersed within the various storylines and become invested in the character’s lives.

“Gripped Part 1” sends many vital messages to readers. Something that I took away after reading was that there is always a space for forgiveness. Most of the characters demonstrate their ability to empathize with their friends or family and eventually find forgiveness for others, even when it may be difficult. I think this is such an important message for teenagers and young adults in the context of drug abuse because often the lack of interest or ability in asking for help is fueled by the fear of judgment and shame of disclosing to friends and family. The stigma around addiction does not help the problem, it only adds to it, and this book will hopefully spark some conversation or discussions about these difficult topics for a younger audience.

Book Synopsis

In high school, Taylor Dunkin broke more records than any other athlete to step foot in Montgomery, Massachusetts. As a sophomore in college, he was ranked by ESPN as one of the NFL’s top 100 prospects. However, his aspirations came to a jarring halt when a knee injury and two surgeries left him sidelined.

One year later, Taylor is a person of interest in a highly confidential investigation headed by the Boston Police Department. He has entangled himself in a crime ring notorious for pushing opiates, cocaine, and benzodiazepines on local college campuses.

When Taylor’s younger brother Marc discovers that Taylor is behind the copious drug supply circulating around Montgomery Lake High School, he sets off to not only reverse the damage Taylor has caused, but also save his lifelong role model from becoming a casualty of America’s deadly opioid epidemic.

In its release week, Gripped was ranked by Amazon as the #1 New Release for Children’s books about drug use on Kindle.

Nick Alva, a Communications major at Arizona State University, read Stacy Padula’s #1 New Release Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told and answered the following questions about the novel.

Who would you recommend Gripped Part 1 to and why?

I would especially recommend Gripped Part 1 to both middle school and high school English teachers to integrate into their curriculum. I think it would be important for young adolescents to read this as early as possible, and seeing as the characters in the book are roughly the same age, there is a great chance students would be able to relate to many of the issues the characters are dealing with. Outside of school, I would recommend the book to any young teens who are either in the early stages of struggling with the pressure of drugs, or those who know someone who may be dealing with drug abuse.

How do you as a young adult relate to the story?

As a young adult, I can relate to the story because I saw the same thing happening to people I knew going through school, and still see the same things happening to people now.

What did you like best about the story?

The part of the story I liked best was the integration of the flashback to summarize the main characters’ stories. It allowed me to not only better understand what the characters are going through, but also feel more connected to them. This made me more intrigued and made it harder to put the book down, as I wanted to continue to follow the characters’ compelling stories.

What message does this book send to readers?

Gripped Part 1 acknowledges that growing up as teen can be stressful and that even what may seem like harmless fun at a party, can translate into a dark life changing series of events. The book promotes awareness of the dangers associated with drug and alcohol use that will hopefully allow young readers to veer away from poor choices and allow them to steer themselves on the right path.
About Nick Alva

Nicholas is sophomore at Arizona State University, where he studies Communications. Originally from Needham, Massachusetts, he is an avid sports fan and world traveler. His main interests lie in journalism, sports statistics, playing hockey, and attending athletic events. Nick hopes to have a career in the field of sports journalism.

Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told

In high school, Taylor Dunkin broke more records than any other athlete to step foot in Montgomery, Massachusetts. As a sophomore in college, he was ranked by ESPN as one of the NFL’s top 100 prospects. However, his aspirations came to a jarring halt when a knee injury and two surgeries left him sidelined.
One year later, Taylor is a person of interest in a highly confidential investigation headed by the Boston Police Department. He has entangled himself in a crime ring notorious for pushing opiates, cocaine, and benzodiazepines on local college campuses.
When Taylor’s younger brother Marc discovers that Taylor is behind the copious drug supply circulating around Montgomery Lake High School, he sets off to not only reverse the damage Taylor has caused, but also save his lifelong role model from becoming a casualty of America’s deadly opioid epidemic.
In its release week, Gripped was ranked by Amazon as the #1 New Release for Children’s books about drug use on Kindle.