Posts Tagged ‘gripped book series’

Michael Farinacci, a junior at St. Sebastian’s School in Needham, Massachusetts, read and reviewed Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told—the first book in a young adult series that examines the perils of prescription drug abuse amongst teenagers. After reading the novel, he was asked a series of questions about its main characters. His responses are below.

Who do you most relate to?

Jason Davids

Until the last few pages of the book, I felt as if I could relate the most to Jason. Jason, like myself, does not go to the same school as all the other kids, and on the weekends, he’s away skiing, which causes him to miss out on a lot of things. Although I don’t go away skiing every weekend, I understand how it feels to be gone for a while and then return to a group of friends and be a little bit confused. People can change very quickly, and if you are not with them every day, it is very easy to miss out on these changes.

Who do you like the most?

Marc Dunkin

I like Marc the most out of all the characters. Marc, like Taylor, has it all, but he doesn’t show it, and he doesn’t mess up. Marc never brags about his football commitment to Boston College, and he is never seen drinking or doing anything irresponsible. Marc knows he has a promising future, so he is responsible about it, which is why I like and respect Marc the most out of all the characters.

Who do you feel bad for?

Chantal Kagelli

I feel bad for Chantal. At the beginning of the book, Chantal has a steady boyfriend and more importantly a best friend as a sister. Although I am not blaming Cathy for their breakup, Chantal’s twin broke up her and her boyfriend, which devastated her. In addition, Chantal is beginning to “lose” her sister to Jason, and, as foreshadowed by the end of the book, to drugs.

Who frustrates you?

Taylor Dunkin

Taylor frustrates me the most by far. Taylor seemingly had it all and has the ability to play high-level Division I football. He was a hero for the town and a role model for the younger kids, but he threw it all away for drugs. I do applaud him for trying to get back on the right path, but the fact that he threw away his future frustrates me.

Who do you hate?

Jordan Dunkin

I hate Jordan the most out of all the characters. Jordan, like Marc and Taylor, has incredible football potential, including a Division I offer. Despite his bright future, he still goes out, parties, does drugs, and makes terrible decisions in general. What infuriates me more is that his older brother, Taylor, made these same sort of decisions and lost everything, yet Jordan still doesn’t see how his decisions can come back to haunt him.

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.
$3.99 Kindle | $13.50 Paperback

Michael Farinacci
St. Sebastian’s Class of 2020

The book Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told investigates the complicated social lives of young adults ranging from middle-school to college. The story follows numerous people throughout their lives outside of school and demonstrates how difficult decision can be for young adults, and the consequences that these decisions have. The book deals with drug abuse, relationships, and the effects of miscommunication as it follows the lives of the children from Montgomery Lake, while brilliantly setting up the rest of the series.

This story is perfect for Middle School and High School students, as it is a quick read and deals with many of the issues that they may face. The book offers not only a warning against drug abuse, but also has the ability to teach many life lessons and guide young adults through the tumultuous times that are Middle School and High School. This book is a must read for all Young Adults, and I would easily rate it a 5/5!

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.

$3.99 Kindle | $13.50 Paperback

We caught up with Rebecca Ronning, a junior at Brooklyn Technical High School in Brooklyn, New York, to ask her some questions about the first book in the Gripped book series by Stacy Padula. Rebecca was just chosen as the book series’ Intern of the Month for May of 2019! Here is what Rebecca had to say:

Who would you recommend Gripped Part 1 to and why?

I would recommend Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy Padula to any high schooler who may be feeling the inevitable temptations of dangerous party drugs. It is important to recognize the legitimate impact that the things you do in highschool can have on your future, not only on your health but within your professional career. To anybody reading this book, I would say that decisions you make matter in the long run; have fun while you’re young, but refrain from making bad choices.

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

As a young adult, I often feel that I am invincible—that my young body could handle anything thrown at me. Whether it be intense physical activity or extremely unhealthy food, I rarely find myself pausing to consider my bodies limits and trust that it will always work the way it is now. This feeling of invincibility allows me to relate to the story and gives me a better understanding of what kids like Taylor may have experienced. Luckily, this story also gives me good insight into the fact that I am not bulletproof and that my actions do have consequences.

What did you like best about the story?

The thing that I liked best about this story was the organization of the chapters. The jumping between time periods brought so much clarification to things that I had previously been curious about after reading the Montgomery Lake High series and also provided a feeling of intense suspense for the reader.

What message does this book send to readers?

This book sends the appropriate message that anybody can struggle with addiction, even those who you least expect. Taylor was once an extremely intelligent student, a talented varsity football player, and one of the most highly esteemed boys in the history of Montgomery Lake High. Based on his past, it certainly comes as a shock to hear that someone with so much potential, someone who is so loved by so many, would turn to hard drugs for support. It is important to remind people, those in high school particularly, what signs to look for in their friends who are at risk of harming themselves and their future with inappropriate drug use.

Who do you feel bad for and why?

I feel most bad for Taylor. He got himself caught up in something that is extremely dangerous, and difficult to get out of. His potential to be both a scholar and an impressive athlete were squandered by his drug use, which gives me pity for him.

Who frustrates you and why?

Chris frustrates me the most, particularly in the instance where he is discussing and denying the possible date-rape of Marc’s friend, Michelle. He seems to be ignoring Marc’s input, the person who knew Michelle best, and is rather believing his biased perception of an obviously corrupt person. This frustrates me because I believe that it is extremely important to recognize all sides of a story, especially when it comes to something as serious as rape, and not simply shut down allegations because you think the abuser is “cool.” This is an extremely dangerous logic, and is something that is definitely seen in reality. I have learned to expect more from Chris as a character, so hearing this was particularly frustrating to me.

Who do you most relate to and why?

I believe that I have a very strong connection to Marc in the ways in which he so deeply cares for the wellbeing of his friends and family. He and I are both concerned for the health and safety of those we love, and would go great lengths to make sure that nothing gets too out of hand.

Who do you like and why?

In this book, I really enjoyed Cathy’s character. We begin to see a different side of her than we do in the Montgomery Lake High books, and it is really interesting to see her development and to look at her character with more context.

What storyline do you find the most interesting and why?

My favorite parts of Gripped Part 1 are most likely those that surround Taylor and the police. This crime investigation aspect of the book is something that we have never seen before in the Montgomery Lake High series, and i just could not put it down!

Gripped Part 1 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.

$3.99 Kindle | $13.50 Paperback

Jenna Says…

The book Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy Padula allows readers to learn from the mistakes of the young and naive characters. It shows how entangled young adults can get in drugs and alcohol and the consequences that come with them. When relationships are ruined due to the mistakes the teens have made, many of them question their actions and if it is worth the loss of friends and family. Gripped Part 1 will show young adults how easy it is to succumb to peer pressure and how it can ruin relationships. This book teaches valuable lessons to anyone struggling with addiction or who is faced with decisions posed by people who may be negative influences. It also shows how faith in God can help to bring teens out of situations if they need someone to turn to.

Who would you recommend Gripped Part 1 to and why?

I would recommend Gripped Part 1 to anyone who is dealing with addiction. Gripped shows how far an addiction can take you, even when you have become sober. It can be an example for anyone who is starting to go down that path and allow them the chance to get out of their situation.

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

I can relate to this story because as a young adult, I am faced with many difficult decisions. I am constantly given many options in difficult situations, whether they are good or bad. I believe by reading this book, young adults will be able to recognize the consequences that could come from their actions.

What did you like best about the story?

I liked how the story kept going back and forth. It allowed me to tie in the information I knew from the previous series as well as what was mentioned in previous chapters. I believe it all allows the story to come together in the end.

What message does this book send to readers?

Gripped Part 1 informs readers of the dangers of peer pressure. Many of the characters relationships were impacted by the effects of peer pressure. It demonstrates the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people.

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.
$3.99 Kindle | $11.50 Paperback

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

About Jenna Finnerty

Jenna Finnerty is a senior at Norwell High School in Norwell, Massachusetts. She is planning to major in nursing next year. 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.

Other Articles by Jenna:

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”

Caitlin Shields – Communications Intern
By Caitlin Shields – Norwell, Massachusetts

I would recommend Gripped Part 1 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 that anyone would 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 they are around.

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

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

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.
$3.99 Kindle | $13.50 Paperback
About Caitlin Shields – Communications Intern

Caitlin is a freshman at Fordham University where she studies Communications. Her favorite hobbies include reading about 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. Caitlin has a passion for connecting with others and hopes to have a career focused on helping others.

Other 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

Who would you recommend Gripped Part 1 to and why?

I would recommend Gripped Part 1 to any high schooler who may be feeling the inevitable temptations of dangerous party drugs. It is important to recognize the legitimate impact that the things you do in highschool can have on your future, not only on your health but within your professional career. To anybody reading this book, I would say that decisions you make matter in the long run; have fun while you’re young, but refrain from making bad choices.

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

As a young adult, I often feel that I am invincible; that my young body could handle anything thrown at me. Whether it be intense physical activity or extremely unhealthy food, I rarely find myself pausing to consider my bodies limits and trust that it will always work the way it is now. This feeling of invincibility allows me to relate to the story and gives me a better understanding of what kids like Taylor may have experienced. Luckily, this story also gives me good insight into the fact that i am not bulletproof, and that my actions do have consequences.

What did you like best about the story?

The thing that I liked best about this story was the organization of the chapters. The jumping between time periods brought so much clarification to things that I had previously been curious about after reading the MLH series, and also provided a feeling of intense suspense for the reader.

What message does this book send to readers?

Gripped Part 1 sends the appropriate message that anybody can struggle with addiction, even those who you least expect. Taylor was once an extremely intelligent student, a talented varsity football player, and one of the most highly esteemed boys in the history of Montgomery Lake High. Based on his past, it certainly comes as a shock to hear that someone with so much potential, someone who is so loved by so many, would turn to hard drugs for support. It is important to remind people, those in high school particularly, what signs to look for in their friends who are at risk of harming themselves and their future with inappropriate drug use.

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 Rebecca Ronning

Rebecca is a junior at Brooklyn Technical High School in Brooklyn, New York. As a city kid, some of her hobbies include riding the subway and exploring the city with friends, making all kinds of art and traveling with her family and experiencing new and exciting things along the way.

Articles by Rebecca:

Montgomery Lake High #1 by Stacy Padula Truly Captures the High School Experience!

Q & A on “The Right Person” by Stacy Padula with Rebecca Ronning

Q&A with Rebecca Ronning on Young Adult Lit!

Rebecca Ronning on When Darkness Tries to Hide by Stacy Padula – YA Lit for 2018!

Q&A on When Darkness Tries to Hide with Rebecca Ronning

A Teen’s Opinion of The Aftermath by Stacy Padula

Q&A with Rebecca Ronning – November 2018 (NYC)

Q&A with Rebecca Ronning on Young Adult Thriller “The Forces Within”

Kyle Banker a senior at Beaver Country Day School was selected to read Gripped Part 2 by Stacy Padula before its release date. Kyle was then asked a series of questions about the novel and its controversial content. Here’s what Kyle had to say:

April’s Intern of the Month
Kyle Banker

The drug use and sexual content in this book will surely get it banned from schools, but the topics are too relevant in teenage culture to be ignored. Why do you think this book should be read by kids in middle school and high school?

It is very important for students of these ages to read Gripped Part 2 because it shows the honest truth of the massive drug problem that has risen from this generation. While it may seem from a parent perspective that topics in the novel may be over-exaggerated, that is certainly not the case. In fact, there are many more details in relation to withdrawal and overdose that have yet to be mentioned all because this topic is so thorough and relevant. Overall, while drugs may not be one of the first things you want to teach your child before going to middle/high school, it should be a definite priority considering the significant increase of substance abuse in the 21st century, and Gripped Part 2 effectively puts the problem into perspective.  

What can kids learn from reading this book?

With the topic of substance abuse, I believe that kids are learning in a much different manner. Instead of being educated about the issue, they are instead being warned about the consequences of taking drugs. More specifically, readers will see the drastic changes that drugs can make to a teenager, such as a change of personality, motive, and social interaction. In addition, kids will also be exposed to the processes of withdrawal and overdose, as there are a few characters in the novel who are affected by it. Gripped Part 2 provides a broad overview of the whole topic at hand, and whether your kid is familiar with the drug problem or not, they will learn new content and experience new scenarios within characters in the book.

How has your opinion of Taylor changed from the beginning of the series until the end of book 2?

I still really like Taylor in the Gripped Series because it still seems like he has the motive to get clean and make it back to the football field. In Part 2, Taylor was not mentioned being involved with any kind of substance, which means that he is holding true to his goal and really wants to return to his own self. In addition, I appreciate that he is also making this effort in order to help his family and friends, as he understands that his addiction mentally scarred them. In all, Taylor is in a good state of mind, and I hope that he will be able to maintain that mindset until he completes his goals.

How has your opinion of Chris changed since the beginning of the series?

In my opinion, Chris was exposed much more to the reader in Part 2 of the series compared to the first novel. In this book, I saw a much more considerate and controlled side of Chris. This was shown through his decision with his relationship with Lisa, how he approached the Courtney situation, and his strong motive to become drug-free. It is clear that Chris is slowly turning into a better person, and when he wasn’t in this position, he isolated himself away from his friends in order to further prevent hurting them. Chris looks like he will be in a good influence going into Part 3, but with Jason and Luke still in his circle, who knows whether he will be able to keep this up.

About Kyle Banker – Communications Intern for the Gripped Book Series

Kyle is a Senior at Beaver Country Day School. His favorite subjects are Biology, English, and Entrepreneurship. Some of his hobbies include playing soccer and hockey, volunteering, and being with friends and family. Kyle plans to study Biological Sciences in college. He was awarded Intern of the Month for April of 2019 after author Stacy Padula was utterly impressed with the quality of his work and his dedication to the internship.

Other Articles by Kyle:

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

Article by Michael Farinacci of Medfield, MA—Saint Sebastian’s Class of 2020

Although this book should be read by everybody, I would highly recommend Gripped Part 1 to anybody who is either in middle school or high school. The conflicts that occur in the story are almost identical to what happens in a real high school or middle school, which allows somebody in either middle school or high school to more closely relate to the story. Additionally, the fact that the book is set in a very realistic town and follows high school and middle school-aged kids further enhances the ability to relate to and envision yourself in the story.

While reading the novel, I liked the fact that there were many different storylines going on at one time. The multiple storylines in the book always kept me on my toes and only heightened my interest in the book. I also loved it when two or more of the storylines intersected with each other. It was always interesting to see how the different storylines worked with, as well as against, each other throughout the novel.

Gripped Part 1 sends two very important messages to its readers. The first message is a warning against drugs, because, although they might start out as “fun”, they have the ability to destroy lives, and the second message is that one situation can be interpreted in many different ways by different people.

The first message is clearly portrayed through Taylor. Taylor had it all; he was the starting varsity quarterback with a Division I scholarship with a legitimate chance at the NFL, but because he did some drugs “for fun” with his friend when they went to clubs, he threw away his entire career and talent due to addiction. The second message is displayed through the breakup of Chantal and Jon. In this breakup, Chantal thinks that Jon broke up with her and Jon thinks that Chantal broke up with him. Now, this situation does create chaos, but in the long run, it is not that serious. However, if applied to a more serious situation, the ability of different people to see the same situation two different ways could potentially be dangerous.

As a young adult who is currently in high school, it was easy to relate to the story, because many of the characters are similar to many of my friends in real life. Now, there were obvious differences between the two; however, being able to picture the character as a real-life person only enhances the relatability. Furthermore, many of the situations and conflicts throughout the story are either things that have happened to one of my friends or me, or situations that have happened at nearby high schools. The ability to picture my friends as the characters and picture the situation only heightened my interest.

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.

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.

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.