Posts Tagged ‘Montgomery Lake High’

Article by Jennifer O’Sullivan of Dover, Massachusetts

Jennifer O’Sullivan, Dover-Sherborn Class of 2020

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

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

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

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

Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person

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

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

Caitlin Shields

Article by Caitlin Shields of Norwell, MA

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

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

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

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

About Caitlin Shields

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

More articles by Caitlin:

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

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

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

Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told

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

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

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

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

Joanna Dakoyannis, Dover-Sherborn Class of 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person

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

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

Article by Jennifer O’Sullivan of Dover, Massachusetts

Jennifer O’Sullivan, Dover-Sherborn Class of 2020

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

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

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

Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person

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

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

Written by Elizabeth Harvey, Needham, MA

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

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

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

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

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

Book Synopsis

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

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

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

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

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

Who would you recommend Gripped Part 1 to and why?

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

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

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

What did you like best about the story?

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

What message does this book send to readers?

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

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

Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told

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

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.

Article by Caitlin Shields, New York, NY

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. She has a passion for connecting with others and hopes to have a career focused on helping others.

Caitlin read “Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person” by Stacy A. Padula and shared her opinion below:

I would recommend “The Right Person” to people of all ages, especially those entering high school or parents with kids who are around that age. This book provides insight into how people can end up in difficult situations and seemingly compromise their character by mistake. This book could serve as a fair warning about how things can get out of control with young kids and partying, and the importance of getting out and staying out of compromising situations.
My favorite part of the story was Chris’s journey to sobriety and his complete reversals in attitude and views on life throughout the book. I loved seeing how all of the other characters impacted him, and how someone in such a dark place managed to turn his life around.
One major theme I noticed throughout the story was the power of religion and how it brings people together. The story begins with Chris, a lost party boy, being attracted to the warmth, kindness, and innocence of Courtney. Courtney is a deep believer in God and did not involve herself with partying. When Chris breaks up with Courtney, he leads her back to God, and brings himself closer to him.
I personally relate to this story because I have seen good people get involved in bad situations and make choices that they later regret deeply. I understand how difficult it can be to act independently with such strong influences swaying your opinion and views on everything.
A teen or pre-teen could benefit from reading this book because it could teach them ways to help a friend who is struggling with similar issues to the characters in the books, as well as warn them of the dangers of alcohol and drugs. The book could make someone take a step back and realize the dangerous mistakes they are making and how those consequences could play out.

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

Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person

While Chris Dunkin’s parents travel freely for business, his older cousins Jordan and Taylor are left in charge. A parentless household provides the perfect venue for Jordan, a senior in high school, and Taylor, a junior in college, to throw parties that soon become infamous in Montgomery. After two years, Chris–donned “the life of the party” by his popular group of friends–begins high school with a responsibility to live up to his reputation. Deep down inside, however, he wants more than that.

Article by Elizabeth Harvey of Needham, MA

About Elizabeth: Elizabeth first interned for Stacy Padula during the 2016-2017 school year. We are delighted to have her back as part of our team. Elizabeth is a college sophomore, where she studies communications. She enjoys creative writing and has a passion for traveling, which she has pursued since high school. Below she shares a thorough review on Stacy Padula’s newest book, Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told.

Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told by Stacy A. Padula is an essential book for both parents and teens alike to read. The book follows multiple characters through a fast-paced and impossible to put down storyline that dives into the subject matter of addiction, specifically teenage drug abuse. The story begins with Taylor Dunkin, a college-aged football player, who has excellent NFL potential. Taylor has fallen victim to a sports-related injury and subsequent surgery and is prescribed painkillers, a medicine which ultimately causes more harm than good for Taylor, his family, and friends; an unfortunate, but an all too common occurrence that has ramifications that begin to impact the greater community of Montgomery. Taylor’s story intersects with other characters throughout the book, such as his younger brother Marc and their immediate family and takes us back in time in order to better understand Jon and Chantal’s relationship and Cathy and Jason’s relationship respectively. The characters have varied experiences with drug and alcohol use at a young age, but these substances still have a severe impact on the future of all characters. This story is perfect for Middle School and High School students, as well as their parents. It is an educational, yet entertaining narrative that highlights the growing problem of addiction in the U.S and just how easy it is for harmless fun to take a dark turn, regardless of who you are or where you come from.

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.

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.