Oliver Ames ’21 Graduate Recommends Y.A. Novel to High Schoolers

By Emily Han, College of William & Mary

As a college freshman, I would recommend Gripped Part 5: Taylor’s Story by Stacy Padula to any teenagers who are about to or are going through high school. I would also recommend it to parents who have kids going through high school or college. This book approaches important topics about substance abuse, which many teenagers are not prepared for when going into social gatherings in high school and college. Many schools do not educate kids on the risks of substance, other than the bare minimum. Taylor’s Story sends the message that even less severe things, such as getting some drugs at a discounted rate for your friends, can lead you into a dangerous crime ring. It can lead you to have your life threatened. It also describes how substance abuse can make you forget who you are, and what you value most. While reading, I enjoyed how the two main storylines seemed separated at first, but connected to reveal everyone’s point of view and thoughts. 

In Gripped 6, I am most eager to discover what will happen with Taylor’s storyline. Will the Biolottis still come for his family, even though Jimmy’s plan was in action? Will his family sit back and let the investigation run its course, even though their son is in danger? I hope Taylor manages to get clean and out of the ring, without harming himself or those he cares about. I also hope he stops supplying to his town, and cleans up the mess he made there. I hope Cathy and Chantal can rekindle their friendship and realize that their bond and friendship bonds are better than any relationship they can be in. I hope Cathy and Jason do not get back together, since they’re obviously toxic. Even if they’re both clean, they started that way in their previous relationship and it still spiraled into problems for them. I think Cathy should move on, since she’s obviously too good for Jason. I also hope that Luke breaks up with Missy, since she, to me, looks like she’s taking advantage of him, and he’s definitely changed his morals and ideals since being with her. 

Synopsis

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.

About Emily Han

Emily Han graduated in 2021 from Oliver Ames High School in Easton, Massachusetts. She was the captain of her varsity field hockey team and a leader on her club team, Lead The Way. She was a member of National Honor Society and a founder of the PAWS Club and an active member of the Jimmy Fund Club. Emily now attends the College of William & Mary. She has a passion for environmental science and marine science. Her hobbies include scuba diving, exercising, and volunteering at local field hockey clinics and with Save The Bay.

More Articles by Emily:

Teens Relate to New Y.A. Book Series

Refreshing Y.A. Book Prepares Teens to Make Difficult Decisions

Emily Han on the “Gripped” Characters

Easton Teen Says Y.A. Novel Is Too Relevant To Be Ignored

Teen Fiction Novel Exposes Consequences of Substance Abuse

College Junior Shares Thoughts on Stacy Padula’s “Gripped” Characters

Written by Kyle Banker, University of Miami

After reading Gripped 4: Smoke & Mirrors by Stacy Padula, Kyle Banker was asked, How has your opinion of the Gripped series’ main characters evolved overtime?

Luke

I think Luke has developed stronger positive intentions with his life after reflecting on his past as a drug supplier. I think that at the conclusion of Gripped Part 4, Luke seems more down-to-earth and cautious with his life choices, especially with his relationship with Missy. Time will tell whether Luke will actually proceed with his good thinking and actions, but for now, I can see upside in his character development in the future. 

Jordan

I think Jordan is the best set up out of the group, as he is continuing to be a role model for the Dunkin family. He has stayed away from drugs, done good in school at Notre Dame, and remains a top player in their football team. Even though he has troubles with his brother Marc, I consider Jordan to be the nicest and most real character in the novel, and I hope his personality and choices remain constant throughout the series, despite the negative influences of Taylor and others in Montgomery.

Taylor

Taylor has clearly dug himself into a deep hole within the drug dealing business. However, it is clear that he is trying to escape this nightmare, but is struggling to do so. Taylor is now more aware of his impact on others, such as Julie and his brothers, and I believe that he can effectively turn around his life if he makes the right choices. Obviously, this will take a great amount of time, but if he is truly able to get out of dealing drugs, Taylor will be able to take steps to overcome his addiction.

Jason

I don’t really know how to feel about Jason. He has good intentions in terms of not wanting to hurt others, but he very easily is influenced to drink and continue taking substances. Even though Cathy tried to get him off substances such as Adderall, it seemed impossible for him to overcome his issues. As a result, Jason and Cathy broke up, and it is now solely in his hands to turn around his life. 

Cathy

I think Cathy has good and religious morals, but she often finds herself not following them at parties and other scenarios. She mostly follows the influences of other characters, such as Jason and Lisa, which causes her to do things that she regrets in the future. Finally separating from Jason seems beneficial for Cathy, but I am not sure whether she will lose her love for Jason. But, Marc should be more of a good influence for her, so in the next novel, we can see whether Cathy sticks stronger to her morals.

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?

ABOUT KYLE BANKER

Kyle is a junior at University of Miami. He graduated in 2019 from Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. He has been an intern for us since 2018. His favorite subjects include Biology, English, and Entrepreneurship. Some of his hobbies are playing soccer and hockey, volunteering, and being with friends and family. Kyle is studying Biological Sciences, while also pursuing his passions for writing and business.

Other Articles by Kyle:

Fiction Book Helps Teens Prepare for High School

Teen Novel about Addiction Provides Hope for Redemption and Recovery

Teen Novel Educates Kids About the Perils of Substance Abuse

Why Teens Want to Read The Right Person

A Must-Read Novel For All High School Students

Teen Book Series Educates Readers about Drug Abuse in a New Way

Why You Should Read the #1 New Release “Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told”

Kyle Banker on The “Gripped” Characters

A Teen’s Review of Gripped Part 1

Looking Ahead to Gripped Part 2 with Kyle Banker

What Should Readers Expect from Gripped Part 2 (To Be Released Later This Year)

May’s Q&A with Kyle Banker of Beaver Country Day School

Kyle Banker Reviews “The Right Person” by Stacy A. Padula – A Young Adult Novel

April Q&A with Notre Dame Academy’s Kate Peterson

Written by Kate Peterson, Hingham, MA

Kate Peterson is a senior at Notre Dame Academy. She is the captain of her school’s varsity ski team and a member of the tennis team. She is in NDA’s National Honor Society and is involved in her school’s Growing Greener, Spanish, and Model UN clubs. Kate traveled to the Dominican republic this past summer to build houses for a community in need. With a great passion for psychology and science, she plans to major in neuroscience or health science in college.

After reading the young adult novel Gripped Part 3: The Fallout by Stacy Padula, Kate was asked by the author to answer the following questions and provide honest teenage feedback.

  1. This book touches upon the use of Adderall, acid, marijuana, alcohol, and Xanax. For that reason, parents may not want their children to read the novel. However, the author feels there is much to be learned. What do you think tweens and teens could learn from reading Gripped Part 3 that would be beneficial for them?

I think that it is really important for teens to read this because it helps prepare them for things that they could see in their future. Although parents want to shelter their kids as much as possible from these things, it can help them to stay away from them if they read about the situations and problems that come with these drugs. 

  1. Why could adults benefit from reading Gripped Part 3?

Adults could benefit from reading Gripped 3 because it gives insight on the ways that tweens/ teens minds’ work and the ways that they think. It could help parents see where their children are coming from from someone near their ages’ point-of-view. 

  1. As drug use abounds in the series, some characters are trying their best to sober up, while others are getting deeper and deeper into substance abuse. How do you think readers can benefit from reading about Chris’s journey from the beginning of the series until now?

It is really interesting to watch Chris’s journey. We experience him learning about drugs at such a young age from his older cousins. He then becomes addicted and goes through a really hard time. We watch him from being a “drug addict” to becoming clean with many hard times through the journey.

  1. At this point in the series, what character intrigues you the most and why?

I think that Chris is one of the characters that intrigues me the most. He has gone through so much character development throughout the first 3 books. He started experimenting with drugs at a VERY young age and watching him grow and change has been really interesting.  

  1. What does this book teach readers about why people begin using drugs?

This book teaches readers about the GRIP drugs can really get on you. It also shows how sometimes addiction can start involuntarily. For example, Taylor had to take oxy for his injury but then became addicted to it and spread from that drug to other drugs to chase that same high. It also teaches about how what age you start using drugs at can affect the person and cause them to go down the wrong path. 

  1. Chris loves Jordan, but Marc hates Jordan. He has slowly been introduced to the reader in the first three books and will play a more significant role later in the series. At this point in the series what are your honest thoughts on Jordan?

Right now, although Jordan isn’t loved by Marc, I still somewhat like him. I think that their relationship is strained, and they need to have a deep conversation on all the times they have had miscommunications in their relationship (aka. Marc thinks that Jordan drugged his “friend” in the beginning of the book). That is one example of something they could have gotten over quickly if they could have communicated better to understand what really happened.

Fourteen-year-old Chris Dunkin is known for being the life of the party and everyone’s favorite friend. Despite his amicable nature, he carries around deep-seated pain from his childhood that he frequently numbs with alcohol and drugs.

After hosting a party, Chris awakes with a strange vibe running through his body and no recollection of the previous night. When he learns the horrifying truth of what his night entailed, the trajectory of his life is changed forever.

Other articles by Kate Peterson

Emmy-winning producer Mark Blutman Developing TV Adaptation Of Stacy Padula’s YA Drama Series ‘Gripped’

Stacy Padula Selected as Top Inspirational Author of the Year for 2022

New York, NY (PRUnderground) March 17, 2022

Read this article on FOX

Stacy Padula, author, publisher, producer, and counselor, was recently selected by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) as Top Inspirational Author of the Year for 2022.

Stacy is being recognized for her exemplary efforts and genuine dedication to inspire and empower professionals all over the world, while enhancing society through her service. Stacy has more than 20 years of professional experience in writing, entrepreneurship, publishing, tutoring, counseling, mentoring, and consulting with adolescents and youth groups. She will receive this distinction at IAOTP’s 2022 Annual Awards Gala being held at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas this December.

Stacy was broadcast on the famous Reuters Building in Times Square New York City in June of 2021 as an Empowered Woman of the Year. She was also honored as an Empowered Woman for 2020 and named Educational Consultant of the Year for 2019 by IAOTP.

The President of IAOTP Stephanie Cirami stated, “We are honored to have Stacy as a part of the IAOTP family. She is an inspirational leader, who uses her educational expertise and her life coaching skills in every role she has served. Being recognized by IAOTP as a unique individual, she has maintained her commitments to her community and shows extraordinary efforts in all she is affiliated with. We know we will continue to see great things from this amazing woman. This is what makes Stacy so phenomenal.”

Stacy is the Founder & CEO of Briley & Baxter Publications, a co-owner of BLE Pictures, a public speaker for Life Service Center of America, and the Founder & CEO of South Shore College Consulting & Tutoring. Stacy has been well-known as a successful published author for the past decade. She is the author of the Montgomery Lake High Book Series and the Gripped Book Series, which address teenage substance abuse and other prevalent social issues. She is also the co-author of the On The Right Path children’s book series with NBA Coach Brett Gunning, and the editor and publisher of many titles, including Boston Bruins anthem singer Todd Angilly and Rachel Goguen’s children’s book The Adventures of Owen & the Anthem Singer, LaTonya Pinkard of Netflix’s Last Chance U’s children’s book Nate & His Magic Lion, and former NHL player Norm Beaudin’s upcoming memoir The Original: Living Life Through Hockey.

Stacy and her production team at BLE Pictures set out on a new venture in 2021, collaborating with Emmy Award Winning producer and writer Mark Blutman (known for Boy Meets World, Girl Meets World, and Ghostwriter) to adapt Stacy’s best-selling Gripped book series for television. The project is currently underway.

“Throughout her illustrious career Stacy has received awards, accolades and has been recognized worldwide for her outstanding leadership and commitment to the profession. This year she will be considered for the Author of the Decade Award and for an exclusive interview on TIP Radio from the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP). She was nominated for her region’s “40 Under 40” and received the Albert Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. She recently partnered with Teen Challenge of Massachusetts by donating books, helping the organization connect with media talents, and sponsoring their 5K. She was in Marquis Who’s Who in the World and Who’s Who in America in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. Also in 2020, she graced the front cover of TIP (Top Industry Professionals) Magazine and was named a Social Impact Hero by Authority Magazine for her publishing company’s support of animal rescues.

Stacy has published twelve books including Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told, Gripped Part 2: Blindsided, Gripped Part 3: The Fallout, Gripped Part 4: Smoke and Mirrors, Gripped Part 5: Taylor’s Story, The Right Person, When Darkness Tries to Hide, The Aftermath, The Battle for Innocence, The Forces Within, On the Right Path: Book One, and On the Right Path: Book TwoGripped Part 6 and On the Right Path: Book Three are currently in the works. Each of her Gripped and On the Right Path books have become #1 new releases on Amazon in their genres.

Stacy earned her Bachelor of Science Degree at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston as a presidential scholar. She later becoming a certified tutor through the International Tutor Association and earned multiple business certificates online through the University of Pennsylvania’s world-renowned Wharton School.

Looking back, Stacy attributes her success to her perseverance, Christian faith, and inspiring mentors she has had along the way, while always staying passionate in all her business endeavors. When not working, she enjoys traveling, skiing, attending sporting events, taking online classes, and spending time with her husband Tim, miniature dachshunds Briley and Baxter, family, and friends.

For the future, she will continue to lend her expert advice to aspiring authors, students, and their families to provide a positive experience and help in the best way she knows how. 

About IAOTP

The International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) is an international boutique networking organization that handpicks the world’s finest, most prestigious top professionals from different industries.  These top professionals are given an opportunity to collaborate, share their ideas, be keynote speakers, and to help influence others in their fields. This organization is not a membership that anyone can join.  You have to be asked by the President or be nominated by a distinguished honorary member after a brief interview.

IAOTP’s experts have given thousands of top prestigious professionals around the world, the recognition and credibility that they deserve and have helped in building their branding empires.  IAOTP prides itself to be a one of a kind boutique networking organization that hand picks only the best of the best and creates a networking platform that connects and brings these top professionals to one place.

For More information on IAOTP please visit:   www.iaotp.com

The post Stacy Padula selected as Top Inspirational Author of the Year by IAOTP first appeared on PRUnderground.

The Most Thrilling Gripped Novel Yet: Taylor’s Story

By Mackenzie Wells, Athens, GA

After reading “Gripped Part 5: Taylor’s Story,” I can say this book is my favorite in the series yet! I love the mystery of it and the high-profile suspense. The characters seem more relatable than ever before, and I love seeing how the story continues to unfold. It is crazy to see how all the details and hints from the past are starting to fall into place in the storyline. Many questions from the past are answered, but there are still some mysteries to be solved.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes true crime or mysteries. This book is thrilling without being too suspenseful. There is a nice mixture of entertainment and morals to this story. I am excited to see what happens next!

Synopsis

Now being adapted for TV!

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.

About Mackenzie

Mackenzie graduated in 2020 from the University of Georgia, majoring in English and public relations. She is a leader at the Wesley Foundation at UGA, the community outreach coordinator for UGA’s Undergraduate English Association, and a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America. Mackenzie has always had a passionate love for books and their ability to open doors to new worlds.

Articles by Mackenzie

U-Miami Junior Discusses Stacy Padula’s Unique Writing Style in “Gripped”

Written by Kyle Banker, University of Miami

In Stacy Padula’s Y.A. novel, Gripped Part 4: Smoke & Mirrors, I immensely enjoyed the dual storyline between Taylor’s unexpected secret life with his crime circle and the interactions of Cathy and Jason. This setup allowed for the reader to be learning more information about Taylor in one chapter, and then swap to a house party containing Cathy and Jason in the next chapter. While describing both of their scenarios in a three-hundred page novel may seem difficult, Padula does a terrific job of distributing content evenly for each storyline. Through this, it always felt exciting to jump from one story to another, as the reader is exposed to quick and crucial information through every flip of a page. 

I really liked the consistent flow of action and dialogue that was spread out throughout the story. At every page, a development of either a character or scene was implemented, which allowed the reader to absorb new and meaningful content. Within this, the dialogue from all the characters was showing and progressive, meaning that new physical and personality traits were shown through most conversations between characters. Also, there were a great deal of cliffhangers and interesting storylines that made Gripped Part 4 a very enjoyable read, as the novel never lost its taste of suspense and big moments. Finally, I think that the novel ended on a perfect note, as I feel fully prepared and excited to embark onto the next novel of the series. Overall, Gripped Part 4 is definitely the most exciting and tense novel from the series, and it is a fun, yet significant read targeting towards all young adults. 

In Gripped Part 5, I am most curious to learn about where Taylor is and where he went after his interaction with his “crime circle” at the pizza parlor. Gripped Part 4 ends with Jordan, Marc, and Cathy finding Taylor’s abandoned car, and after a quick call with their dad, it is clear that Marc and Jordan’s dad knows something about Taylor that they have not figured out yet. Specifically, I am intrigued to figure out what the dad knows, as he probably received news about something related to Taylor. Additionally, I am also interested in seeing how Missy and Luke’s relationship turns out, as Luke seems to be questioning Missy’s motives and actions throughout the novel. I am not really sure if they will remain together in the next novel, but the reader could see very meaningful conversations between the couple in Gripped Part 5. 

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?

ABOUT KYLE BANKER

Kyle is a junior at University of Miami. He graduated in 2019 from Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. He has been an intern for us since 2018. His favorite subjects include Biology, English, and Entrepreneurship. Some of his hobbies are playing soccer and hockey, volunteering, and being with friends and family. Kyle is studying Biological Sciences, while also pursuing his passions for writing and business.

Other Articles by Kyle:

Fiction Book Helps Teens Prepare for High School

Teen Novel about Addiction Provides Hope for Redemption and Recovery

Teen Novel Educates Kids About the Perils of Substance Abuse

Why Teens Want to Read The Right Person

A Must-Read Novel For All High School Students

Teen Book Series Educates Readers about Drug Abuse in a New Way

Why You Should Read the #1 New Release “Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told”

Kyle Banker on The “Gripped” Characters

A Teen’s Review of Gripped Part 1

Looking Ahead to Gripped Part 2 with Kyle Banker

What Should Readers Expect from Gripped Part 2 (To Be Released Later This Year)

May’s Q&A with Kyle Banker of Beaver Country Day School

Kyle Banker Reviews “The Right Person” by Stacy A. Padula – A Young Adult Novel

Y.A. Novel “Blindsided” Shows How Even The Most Unlikely Teens Can Fall Victim to Substance Abuse

Written by Maya Daly, Duxbury, Massachusetts

Gripped Part 2: Blindsided by Stacy Padula continues on with the journeys of various teenagers wrapped up into dangerous relationships with drugs and alcohol. This book proves to be a compelling read, taking the reader through the troublesome lives of the young teens of Montgomery Lake High School. As these teens are exposed to a partying scene from a young age, they find themselves wrapped up in drugs, alcohol, and other mature situations before they have even entered high school.

One of the main families involved in this is the Dunkin family, a family of many talented athletes who have bright futures ahead of them. However, this book proves the fact that drugs can impact anyone, no matter what outside factors they may have in their lives as shown through the stories of Chris and Taylor Dunkin. Chris, the younger cousin of the three older Dunkin brothers, who gets exposed to drugs and alcohol in middle school and then finds himself addicted before even entering highschool. And Taylor, the oldest of the Dunkin siblings, develops a serious opioid addiction after a serious knee injury, which turns into a dangerous situation involving the law and crime. Along with the many other characters, Chris and Taylor show the audience that drugs can take over the lives of the most unlikely people and just how easy it can be to become “gripped” by drugs. 

Stacy Padula’s story, Gripped Part 2: Blindsided is a 5/5 star read, as it is a captivating and revealing story on the dangers of drugs. An important read for people of all ages, this book shows how drugs can become a prominent factor in anyone’s life, even those who it would be least suspected of. The novel is able to keep the reader curious and engaged with each chapter, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series!

Fourteen-year-old Chris Dunkin is known for being the life of the party and everyone’s favorite friend. Despite his amicable nature, he carries around deep-seated pain from his childhood that he frequently numbs with alcohol and drugs. After hosting a party, Chris awakes with a strange vibe running through his body and no recollection of the previous night. When he learns the horrifying truth of what his night entailed, the trajectory of his life is changed forever.

About Maya Daly

Maya is a junior at Duxbury High School, where she is a member of the Varsity Rowing Team. In school, she is a part of the yearbook club, Best Buddies club, and Habitat for Humanity. She enjoys studying English and history, and plans to major in one of those subjects in college. 

“Taylor’s Story” – An Eye Opening Read for Teens & Parents

By Jenna Finnerty, University of New Hampshire

Gripped 5: Taylor’s Story by Stacy A. Padula is an excellent read that shows the consequences of getting into drugs at a young age. Main character, Taylor Dunkin, shares his story of getting into drugs and organized crime, and how it has ruined his life. He is now in danger, and has put his family’s life in danger as well. The story details how Taylor’s drug use has affected everyone around him and got many other innocent people involved in drugs as well.

This story is captivating, and makes it so you do not want to put the book down. Gripped 5 is an eye opener for teens and parents and teaches its audience lessons on what to look out for. 

Synopsis

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.

About Jenna Finnerty

Jenna Finnerty graduated in 2019 from Norwell High School in Norwell, Massachusetts. She is majoring in science at the University of New Hampshire. Jenna has accrued years of experience as a cheerleader and gymnast. She also has a passion for traveling and looks forward to studying abroad in college.

Articles by Jenna:

New Teen Novel Helps Kids Make Smart Decisions in the Face of Peer Pressure

Q&A on MLH #1 with Jenna Finnerty

The Right Person by Stacy Padula Accurately Depicts High School Social Challenges

Hope Found in Darkness: A Young Adult Book Review by Jenna Finnerty

Q&A with Jenna Finnerty on Young Adult Novel “When Darkness Tries to Hide”

Jenna Finnerty’s Take on New Y.A. Novel “Gripped” by Stacy Padula

May’s Q&A with Jenna Finnerty of Norwell High School

Jenna Finnerty Reviews Gripped Part 2: Blindsided

A College Freshman’s Take on Gripped Part 2: Blindsided by Stacy Padula

Y.A. Novel Prepares High School Freshmen and Parents for Social Pressures

Written by Kyle Banker, University of Miami

The usage of drugs are more prevalent than ever, mostly in high schools and colleges. While many teenagers may feel as if they will be able to avoid drugs, most are influenced to take a substance at some point in high school or college to enhance their social or academic life. At some points, these teenagers decide to take the drug once to have a short, positive effect on their life. However, these substances clearly have the power to strip the lives of many good people, such as Taylor Dunkin in Stacy Padula’s “Gripped” book series. Overall, teenagers should not look at substances lightly, as while many see drugs as harmless and easy to stay away from, addiction still remains at a very high rate, with about 2.5 million American young adults becoming victims of it.

In light of this, I would like to recommend Gripped Part 4: Smoke & Mirrors by Stacy Padula to high school freshmen, as this novel is targeted towards the exposure of substances to young teenagers. In addition, with the timing of the novel, substance abuse has increased due to quarantine, as many high school students use these medicines to cope with the situation. Although the book does not take place in current society, high school freshmen will witness the distress and consequences that drugs can put on a person, no matter who they were before they began taking the pills. It is especially important to frontload and emphasize this message due to the accessibility and usage of substances in high school. Without these incoming high schoolers understanding the impact of benzodiazepines, amphetamines, and other types of substances, they could be swayed the wrong direction to try for “the experience,” and eventually become at risk of addiction.

I would also recommend Gripped Part 4: Smoke & Mirrors to parents who have children in high school, as it is significant to see the emerging problem from the child’s point of view. Considering that this problem is vastly different than it was a few years ago, mainly due to the rise of vaping, Gripped Part 4 showcases many character transformations from substances. If adults read this novel thoroughly and analyze each character’s development, they can connect the stories of characters such as Cathy and Jason to their own children or their friends to see if they are taking or abusing substances. At that point, the parent can make a wise and calculated decision in order to prevent their child from becoming further exposed to substances or possibly develop a drug addiction.

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?

ABOUT KYLE BANKER

Kyle is a junior at University of Miami. He graduated in 2019 from Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. He has been an intern for us since 2018. His favorite subjects include Biology, English, and Entrepreneurship. Some of his hobbies are playing soccer and hockey, volunteering, and being with friends and family. Kyle is studying Biological Sciences, while also pursuing his passions for writing and business.

Other Articles by Kyle:

Fiction Book Helps Teens Prepare for High School

Teen Novel about Addiction Provides Hope for Redemption and Recovery

Teen Novel Educates Kids About the Perils of Substance Abuse

Why Teens Want to Read The Right Person

A Must-Read Novel For All High School Students

Teen Book Series Educates Readers about Drug Abuse in a New Way

Why You Should Read the #1 New Release “Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told”

Kyle Banker on The “Gripped” Characters

A Teen’s Review of Gripped Part 1

Looking Ahead to Gripped Part 2 with Kyle Banker

What Should Readers Expect from Gripped Part 2 (To Be Released Later This Year)

May’s Q&A with Kyle Banker of Beaver Country Day School

Kyle Banker Reviews “The Right Person” by Stacy A. Padula – A Young Adult Novel

Notre Dame Academy Senior Reviews Stacy Padula’s Y.A. Novel “Gripped Part 3: The Fallout”

Written by Kate Peterson, Hingham, MA

Kate Peterson is a senior at Notre Dame Academy. She is the captain of her school’s varsity ski team and a member of the tennis team. She is in NDA’s National Honor Society and is involved in her school’s Growing Greener, Spanish, and Model UN clubs. Kate traveled to the Dominican republic this past summer to build houses for a community in need. With a great passion for psychology and science, she plans to major in neuroscience or health science in college.

The book Gripped Part 3: The Fallout by Stacy Padula is a GREAT read. As a teenager, I learned so much from this book and was intrigued while reading every page. We learn about the dangers of drug abuse/addiction through the characters. The characters all have different struggles and reasons for their addictions, so we learn about their issues from different perspectives.

You become attached to the characters in Gripped and anticipate what will happen to them along their journeys. It is really interesting to watch Chris, one of the main characters, on his journey. We experience him learning about drugs and alcohol at a very young age through the influence of his older cousins. He quickly becomes addicted and goes through an extremely hard time. Experiencing his deep character development is a page turner as he makes his journey towards becoming clean.

Fourteen-year-old Chris Dunkin is known for being the life of the party and everyone’s favorite friend. Despite his amicable nature, he carries around deep-seated pain from his childhood that he frequently numbs with alcohol and drugs.

After hosting a party, Chris awakes with a strange vibe running through his body and no recollection of the previous night. When he learns the horrifying truth of what his night entailed, the trajectory of his life is changed forever.

Read more articles by Kate Peterson

Emmy-winning producer Mark Blutman Developing TV Adaptation Of Stacy Padula’s YA Drama Series ‘Gripped’