Posts Tagged ‘needham massachusetts’

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.

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.

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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Written by Charlotte Silverman—Needham, Massachusetts

Montgomery Lake High #2: When Darkness Tries to Hide by Stacy A. Padula is a fantastic read for teens who are experiencing any type of obstacle. Specifically, those who are struggling with a tragedy, and are resorting to drugs or other violent tendencies. Many children struggle with challenges such as sick family or friends, death, or divorce. This novel describes how it is possible to see the light in even the most dreadful of situations and turn them into a positive experience. It also emphasizes the importance of not getting caught up in the negatives of something, and focusing on the positives.

It is also a great influence for teens who are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse. It emphasizes the negative effects and challenges of drug abuse and how it can cause something so destructive as fatal injury to you or someone else. The book also describes the possibility of overcoming drug addiction, and how even people who seem so perfect, such as pastors, can struggle with drug abuse. The book emphasizes the message of positivity and seeing the light in a dark situation. It also emphasizes the importance of being proactive and helping others, as well as being a contributive member to your community. Overall, I highly recommend this book for all teens. It provides great insight on appropriate ways to handle difficult times, and the importance of working together through tough situations.

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About Charlotte Silverman

Charlotte Silverman is a senior at Needham High School. At school, her favorite subjects include English, Biology, and Computer Science. Outside of school, she runs indoor and outdoor track, and loves spending time with friends and family. She looks forward to overcoming challenges and exploring new experiences during her senior year.

Read more articles by Charlotte:

Good for parents & teens: Montgomery Lake High #1!

About When Darkness Tries to Hide

A powerful supercell is spawning above Montgomery Lake High School, while a separate storm is brewing in its halls. The question is–which one should Cathy Kagelli, Jason Davids, and their friends fear the most?

About Stacy A. Padula

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

Stacy’s first novel, “The Right Person,” was published in 2010. At that time, she was the program director of JBG Educational Group: a company of about thirty educators who work closely with young adults and their families on everything under the academic blanket. She served as JBG’s program director/director of operations for multiple years and helped the founder/president develop many facets of the company, including curriculum. Throughout her time at JBG, she continued working on the Montgomery Lake High book series. Although the series is “young adult fiction,” it is closely based on realistic situations that high school students encounter.

In 2011, “When Darkness Tries to Hide” was published, followed by “The Aftermath” (Padula’s personal favorite) in 2013. In 2014, both “The Battle for Innocence” and “The Forces Within” were released, and in 2015, all five books hit the shelves of Barnes & Noble. For Stacy, it was a dream come true to see her books for sale in the popular, mainstream bookstore.

Stacy wrote the Montgomery Lake High books in the hopes of preparing teens to face the “war zone” that is high school—to help kids deal with the stress and peer pressure, and to encourage them to “steer a straight path, pursue God, and not fall for the false promises of the world.”

In her spare time, Stacy enjoys skiing, going to Bruins games, reading about Psychology, taking her dogs to the beach, and spending time with her family, fiancé, and friends.


Background: Stacy was a Presidential Scholar at Wentworth and on the Dean’s List. She attained tutoring certification in 2009 through The International Tutor Association. Additionally, she was featured in Who’s Who Among American High School Students (2001), Cambridge Who’s Who for Young Professionals (2009), and Marquis Who’s Who in America (2018). She was awarded the Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 and the Academic Achievement Award for having the highest GPA in Miss Teen Southern New England (2000). In 2016, Stacy was selected as a featured author for Barnes & Nobles’ Teen Book Festival, where she signed copies of her novels and interacted with young adult readers.


Stacy’s Mission Statement Video

 

Stacy Padula’s latest TV interview with BossLady News June 6, 2015

Charlotte Silverman is a senior at Needham High School in Needham, Massachusetts. Below she shares her opinion of a young adult book “The Right Person,” which is the first book in Stacy Padula’s Montgomery Lake High Book Series, which is frequently listed as an Amazon best seller for YA books dealing with peer pressure and substance abuse.

Charlotte Says:
The book “The Right Person” by Stacy Padula is an excellent novel for adolescents going through the stress and pressure of growing up. The book describes the story of a group of teenagers who undergo the numerous changes of a growing teenager. The story focuses mainly on Chris: an athletic, partier who has spent the past two years reliant on alcohol and drugs. He is influenced by his new girlfriend Courtney; a girl who is firm on her morals and opposition to drugs and alcohol. Courtney, however, intrigued by this new surrounding becomes absorbed into the party scene of Chris’ friends and sacrifices her values to fit in. Along with the two main characters, each character experiences a different aspect of growing up whether it is learning how to overcome peer pressure when faced with temptation, choosing between maintaining moral values and being popular, and managing making and losing friends. The book provides an accurate description of how difficult life can be during middle and high school and emphasizes the importance of sticking true to yourself and maintaining the same moral values. This story is a great read for adolescents as it is extremely relatable as they may be going through the same struggles as the characters in the novel.
As a teenager, I can personally relate to this story as it emphasizes the struggle of being a teenager with trying to fit in, reject peer pressure, and retain the same moral values. During middle and high school, it is extremely difficult to find friends who will want to be with you if they do not share the same moral standards with you. Additionally, kids in middle and high school can be extremely pressuring when it comes to drinking/ doing drugs, and may only want to be with people who endure in that kind of behavior. As a teenager, part of growing up is learning how to make friends who will accept and you and respect your moral values and it is important not to get too caught up in pressure and stress from social hierarchy.
Overall, I highly recommend this novel to any teenagers who may be experiencing these same challenges as they undergo the changes of becoming an adult. Additionally, I feel it would be very beneficial for parents of adolescents to read as well in order to get a sense of the perspective of a child this age, and know how easy it is to slip into the wrong habits. I feel it is extremely relatable and provides a great insight into what life is like during high school, and can provide advice about how to handle specific situations.

Providing a teen’s perspective on Montgomery Lake High #1: The Right Person, Caroline Forbes is about to begin her senior year at Needham High School in Needham, Massachusetts…
What do you believe influenced Courtney to turn away from her morals in order to feel accepted?

I believe tht Courtney turned from her morals because she wanted to experience high school with a carefree and crazy outlook, just like the other freshman she was around. Clearly this is thanks to Chris’ bad influence as well. Courtney also may have turned away from her morals in order to impress Chris, and to even be more like him.

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

The theme that often came up while reading was a coming of age/growth. Especially in Chris’ case, he begins to grow as a teenager, and realizes that he must mature in order to become successful later in life. Chris’ growth is also thanks to Courtney’s strict religious morals, making him shape up in order to stay with her.

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

A. I relate to this story personally because sometimes in the past I have tried changing myself in order to fit in with other groups of girls. I would do things that I didn’t feel comfortable doing just so I could fit in with a group of girls that weren’t like me, even though I wanted to be like them.

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Other Articles by Caroline Forbes
The Right Person
Starting high school and becoming a young adult can present many challenges and difficult choices. At this time, you are trying to find yourself and choose what kind of person you want to be. The Right Person, by Stacy Padula, tells the story about a group of incoming high school freshman at Montgomery Lake High School. Alcohol, peer pressure, and partying causes lots of drama and decisions throughout the book, which relates to many high schoolers today.

The story focuses on Courtney, a religious, good girl who begins to break her morals when she starts dating party-crazy Chris. Although, Courtney’s religious values start rubbing off on Chris, and he begins to want something more than just drinking and partying in his life. The opposite begins the happen to Courtney, as she begins to wonder about the partying lifestyle, and starts to lean farther away from her stern morals.

I recommend this book too pre-teens and teenagers who will begin to go through these troubling years soon. Seeing Courtney and Chris’ point of view on entering high school is a good way to prepare yourself. Sticking to your morals is a huge lesson throughout the novel, as well as trying to change your bad habits when entering a new environment.

– Caroline Forbes, Needham High School Class of 2019

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Other Books in the MLH Series