Posts Tagged ‘stacy a. padula’

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

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.

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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.

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)

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.

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.