Posts Tagged ‘Kyle banker’

Written by Kyle Banker of Needham, Massachusetts

High school consists of the four most transformative years of your life, both academically and socially. The introductions of parties, substances, peer pressure, and popularity can completely change one’s personality and mindset. In “The Right Person,” Stacy Padula tells the story of a group of freshmen at Montgomery Lake High as they encounter and face countless social scenarios that change their lifestyles for the long run.

“The Right Person” focuses mainly on Chris: an athletic, partier who has spent the past two years reliant on many substances. In the first weeks of his freshman year, Chris decides that he wants to avoid his partying ways and instead desires a healthier lifestyle, which is influenced by his new girlfriend Courtney: a girl who has strong morals and opposes drugs and alcohol. Courtney, however, pursues Chris’s interests and inserts herself into the party scene with Chris’s friends, sacrificing her values to fit in.

“The Right Person” depicts the struggles many kids encounter during their high school years through the eyes of compelling characters. The social scene can be very difficult to adjust to, and this can result in many bonds being broken, while also many new ones being formed. I recommend this book to high school and middle school students who are preparing for these tricky, yet important years.

Synopsis

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 rebellious lifestyle?
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About Kyle Banker

Kyle is a Senior at Beaver Country Day School. His favorite subjects at school include 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 at the University of Miami beginning this fall.

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

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 of Needham, Massachusetts is a senior at Beaver Country Day School. He will be attending the University of Miami in the fall as a biology major. This month, Kyle read “The Right Person” – a young adult novel by Stacy Padula – and shared some insightful feedback:

Who do you think should read “The Right Person”?

I would recommend “The Right Person” to all incoming high school students, as this novel brings out the truth in how high school can change relationships very quickly. Furthermore, this novel heavily touches upon how drugs and alcohol can have a great effect on one’s life, even at a young age. Through the juxtaposition of relationships and substances, I believe that “The Right Person” will show the reality of what drugs can do to a student’s social life, and even more, towards their overall satisfaction with their life.

What can be learned from Chris and Courtney’s story?

At first, I think that Chris and Courtney’s relationship was very valuable and strong. But, as time moved on, it was clear that Chris had influenced Courtney to switch her morals to make her a totally different person. Overall, this dynamic relationship shows that people can change very rapidly based upon their surroundings, creating them into partners who were entirely different from who they began as. This can sometimes be a good thing, but when a relationship is revolved around substances and partying, these kinds of changes can definitely be for the worse.

What did you enjoy most about “The Right Person”?

I really enjoyed the individual internal thoughts from many characters that were scattered throughout the novel. In my opinion, this allows the reader to completely analyze the situations occurring in the novel and to truly see within the thinking of each character. This was very effective in the ending of the book, as these paragraphs gave an interesting and thorough conclusion on the mental status of every character. Overall, I really enjoyed this new style of writing as I have rarely seen it in this format in any novel that I have read.

What is one major theme you noticed running through the story?

The major theme that I noticed throughout “The Right Person” was the conflicts and changes with relationships. In high school, it can be very difficult to find the ideal friend or group to be around during the four years. Because of this, relationships can be altered very quickly, causing your whole social life to be flipped upside-down. This is ultimately because as you grow older into a teenager, you start to gain independence and confidence by making your own decisions. In this novel, decisions arise such as breaking up with a boyfriend/girlfriend, “cutting off” old friends, and formulating new groups. Through these scenarios, “The Right Person” paints the realistic picture that nothing remains consistent throughout middle/high school, resulting in rapid changes of personality and relationship statuses.

How do you, as a teenager, personally relate to this story?

I can directly relate to “The Right Person” as I have been involved in a lot of controversies within high school with my friends. Luckily, we are all still together, but I understand that this is normal within any social group: nothing socially will go perfectly for your whole life. Outside of my friend group, I have seen a lot of people at parties and get-togethers make impactful decisions, similar to some in “The Right Person.” Besides all this, I truly believe that adjusting to avoid these conflicts is very important, but not entirely so that you are not the same person you originally were.

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 rebellious lifestyle?
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$11.50 Paperback | $3.99 Kindle
More 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

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

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

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 think that the storyline between Cathy and Jason is most compelling to me because of their dual perspective of how they see the drama surrounding Montgomery. When they first meet, they both seem to bond over what is happening around them, such as couple and sibling problems. As the story goes on, I like how Jason transforms to become not only Cathy’s boyfriend, but also the primary person that she talks to about issues like Chantal and Jon. As a result, their dialogue on the phone and in-person sets up to be a nice middle piece for all of the action that happens around the book. But for the most part, all of these things combine to create a unique and strong relationship that had a very interesting beginning.

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?

I hope to figure out why Jason and Cathy broke apart in Part 2 of the Gripped Series. In my eyes, they seemed like a perfect couple: they both shared similar personality traits, wanted to spend time with one another, and builded off each other in times of need. It didn’t seem like they had any flaws in their relationship based upon the flashback portion of the book, but obviously something happened between those years that has yet to be uncovered. Could this be due to a problem with drugs? Did Taylor’s investigation have an influence on their relationship? Nevertheless, I am very excited to discover the reason and dive deeper into this intriguing storyline.

About Kyle Banker

Kyle is a Senior at Beaver Country Day School. His favorite subjects at school include 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.

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Preface from the Author of Gripped

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.

Taylor Dunkin – Cathy Kagelli – Chris Dunkin – Marc Dunkin – Jason Davids: The Gripped Book Series has an array of main characters, who range in age from twelve to twenty-three. Although they have vastly different struggles, values, and personalities, their lives are indisputably entwined. Kyle Banker, a Communications Intern for the Gripped book series, read “Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told” and shared his insight on the characters. His responses are below:

Who do you most relate to and why?

I feel like I can relate most to Cathy, as she seems to be in the middle of everything, but yet does not want to be the center of attention. Cathy is also willing to help her friends/siblings in need in order to sustain a level of happiness and connectivity in Montgomery. Finally, Cathy has a slight competitive nature, with an ability to go outside of her comfort zone in order to try new things. Based off all of these concepts and traits, I believe that I hold some similarities with Cathy based upon her description so far.

Who do you feel bad for and why?

I feel bad for Taylor just because he still has good intentions to break his addiction and make a football career. He only got addicted to drugs because of his surgery, which was due to playing football, and being prescribed painkillers has been notorious to result in a great deal of addictions. Overall, I believe he still has the mindset and passion to turn his life around, but going through withdrawal makes that goal tremendously hard.

Who frustrates you and why?

Chantal frustrates me most in the novel because of her relationship with Jon. It is clear that she is not a priority in his life, and after talking with Cathy, she seems to know that. However, Chantal is too nice of a person to break up with Jon and she tiressley tries to bring out the best in him and restructure their relationship. Since Jon does not share the same morals in Gripped Part 1, her efforts become very fruitless, but she still does not change her goals. As a result, this causes her to become very unhappy near the end of the book and puts her in a bad spot social-wise going into Part 2 of the series.

Who do you like and why?

Along with who I could relate to most, I also like Cathy the most out of all the characters in the book, with Jason coming in a close second. I like that Cathy is aware of the decisions that she is making, and always makes sure to assess her options before choosing an option. A great example of this is while she was at the big party with Jason. Instead of fully committing her time to him, she decided to check in on other situations happening around the house as well to see if everything was safe and sound. Moving more towards the point of the book, Cathy is more in-control of her drug usage, and only uses it in times of need. Since she can handle this kind of responsibility, along with her likable personality and interests, I have gone to enjoy learning more about Cathy in the novel.

Who do you hate and why?

I am not sure whether I really “hate” anyone in the book, but I would say that I dislike Jon for the actions he made towards the latter half of Gripped Part 1. His actions throughout the novel were very sporadic, and it was very difficult to gather a clear sense of who he was and what he truly wanted. In addition, I was very disappointed in the manner in which he treated his relationship with Chantal, as he seemed to ditch her as the storyline progressed. This could have been due to an unknown influence to begin drinking and taking drugs, as it clearly changed his mental stance and his personality as a whole. Overall, Jon at the beginning seemed to have a lot of upside: a good, loyal,  Christian boy. But, he quickly turned into a character that I disliked, and I am not certain whether I will change this perspective on him.

Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told 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.

March 26, 2019, Needham, Massachusetts—Within days of its release, Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy A. Padula was ranked by Amazon as the #1 New Release in its category. The Gripped book series was written to educate young adults about the perils of prescription drug abuse. Kyle Banker, a senior at Beaver Country Day School, read the newly released young adult novel and wrote the below review:

The novel Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told, by Stacy Padula is book that I could not be put down due to its unique character web and thorough storyline. It addresses the problem of addiction within teenagers from a variety of situations, such as affecting a potential professional football player named Taylor Dunkin. Taylor is helped by other characters such as his brother Marc to move past his troubles with drug abuse after being prescribed painkillers after surgery. Along with this, multiple relationships are created that are also affected in some way by drugs, specifically targeting the partnership of Chantal and Jon. As a result, two outliers, Cathy and Jason, bond together to avoid being impacted by the same problems while also maintaining a healthy relationship. Through this, they both continually help their friends and family to return Montgomery to the socially-active and safe place that it used to be.
This book is a quick read that is perfect for Middle School and High School students, while also being very applicable to adults wanting to know more about teenage drug abuse. This book introduces the consequences that come with taking drugs, and this could hopefully reduce the likelihood of students utilizing drugs throughout their education; this is very important considering the steep increase of drug usage in the United States. In all, I rate this book a 5/5 and would recommend reading it. I loved this book both because it was powerful and thorough, yet easy to follow. – Written by Kyle Banker, Beaver Country Day School, Class of 2019

Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told 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.

Written by Kyle Banker

Kyle Banker, Communications Intern

March 13, 2019, Needham, Massachusetts—Within days of its release, Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy A. Padula was ranked by Amazon as the #1 New Release in its category. The Gripped book series was written to educate young adults about the perils of prescription drug abuse. Kyle Banker, a senior at Beaver Country Day School, read the newly released young adult novel and answered a series of questions about the plot, theme, and characters. Below are some of his insightful responses.

Who would you recommend Gripped Part 1 to and why?

I would first recommend Gripped Part 1 by Stacy Padula to all incoming intermediate and secondary school students as I believe it is very important to get this target audience exposed to topics such as substance abuse. Furthermore, in the United States, there is a steep upward trend in drug usage across all ages, mostly originating from tweens and teenagers. By reading Gripped Part 1, these age groups will hopefully realize all the negative drawbacks that come with taking drugs, and as a result, steer away from substances to maintain a healthy academic and social career. I would also recommend this novel to adults across the United States because it is very intriguing to see this problem emerge from a student’s perspective. Normally, teenagers usually shield this type of information from their parents and family, so finally being able to view the problem from the wanted point-of-view would be very valuable for all adults.

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

As a senior in high school and an impending college freshman, I directly relate to the Gripped series as I have been exposed to drugs and alcohol, both from attending parties that have had substances and having friends/family who occasionally use substances. In addition, my generation has been constantly educated and reminded about why teenagers should not use drugs due to the high likelihood of addiction. From my perspective, I can connect the plot and characters of Gripped to my own environment, as the novel focuses on characters around my age, in order to understand the consequences of substance abuse and to spread this awareness to my friends and family.

What did you like best about the story?

Specifically, I like the diverse amount of relationships that are present in the novel. Every character in the novel seems to be connected in a web-like manner, and I find it very interesting to observe all of the unique connections and dialogue from character-to-character and from character-to-group. Also, I like how one’s actions in the novel can affect the social life of all characters in the book, which is evident near the ending of Gripped. This encourages the argument that even though all the characters in Gripped greatly differ from one another in terms of personality and friend groups, everyone has some sort of relation within the town of Montgomery, Massachusetts.

About Kyle Banker

Kyle is a Senior at Beaver Country Day School. His favorite subjects include 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.

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.

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