The Gripped Book Series – Now Being Adapted for TV!

“Invigorating, engaging and a must read. The characters in The Gripped Series diligently tackle the essence of forces that can limit greatness within.” 
– LaTonya Pinkard of Netflix’s Emmy Winning Docuseries Last Chance U

Gripped 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.

Gripped 2: Blindsided

Fourteen-year-old Chris Dunkin is known for being the life of the party and everyone’s favorite friend. Despite his amicable nature, he carries around deep-seated pain from his childhood that he frequently numbs with alcohol and drugs.

After hosting a party, Chris wakes up with a strange vibe running through his body and no recollection of the previous night. When he learns the horrifying truth of what his night entailed, the trajectory of his life is changed forever.

Gripped 3: The Fallout

After a near-death experience, Chris Dunkin begins surrounding himself with positive influences and putting his efforts towards living a clean lifestyle. However, the night before school starts, his best friend Jason convinces him to host a party that shows Chris more about himself than he actually wants to know.

Meanwhile, Marc Dunkin has received word from a detective that his oldest brother Taylor is a person of interest in a highly confidential case headed by the Boston Police Department. They know Taylor’s clean; they know he wants out of the game; and they want to help make that happen. However, their “help” will come at a cost—one that may put Taylor and his entire family in grave danger. Taylor is trying to get his life back in order after an opiate addiction wreaked havoc on his once promising athletic future. Getting clean was a difficult feat, but breaking free from the Bilotti crime ring will present an even greater challenge.

Gripped 4: Smoke & Mirrors

Taylor Dunkin is used to high stakes. As an NCAA star quarterback, he performed under pressure to lead his team to victory, but his football career came to an abrupt halt when an injury sent him spiraling down a dark hole of pain, depression, and addiction. Now he finds himself playing a game with even higher stakes because his life, his reputation, and the safety of everyone he loves are all on the line.

Taylor’s two younger brothers, Jordan and Marc, have been at odds for years, but they are brought together to decipher the mysterious clues Taylor is leaving regarding his whereabouts. As secrets are revealed, the Dunkin boys’ relationships will be changed forever.

In Taylor’s weakest moment, he made a deal with the devil, and now there is a reckoning. But who will pay the price?

Gripped 5: Taylor’s Story

Taylor Dunkin is missing.

The last message Jordan Dunkin receives from Taylor leads him to Taylor’s abandoned Jeep. Each of Taylor’s family members holds a piece of the puzzle, and as the Dunkins begin putting the details together, they are awakened to the possibility they may never see Taylor again.

No one can find Missy Kent.

Missy’s boyfriend Luke Davids last saw her dancing with their friends at a nightclub, but she hasn’t responded to anyone’s texts or calls for hours.

Everything is connected.

Taylor and Missy’s friends are dangerously close to learning the truth, but their ignorance might be the only thing keeping them safe. Every clue is leading them closer to peril.

The fifth book in the Gripped series moves through details at a thrilling pace. Secrets are revealed and lives are at stake. Taylor, Missy, their friends, and their families must figure out who they can trust before it’s too late.

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The Montgomery Lake High Book Series

Mackenzie Wells of University of Georgia Reviews Stacy Padula’s MLH Book Series

MLH #1: The Right Person

Growing up in the shadow of two NFL-destined cousins, Chris Dunkin has high hopes for his own future in football. However, a drug addiction threatens to destroy everything he has worked hard to attain. When Chris meets Courtney Angeletti–the mayor’s straightedge Christian daughter–he believes she could be the source of inspiration he needs to overcome his destructive lifestyle.

Courtney, however, has other ideas.

The desire to rebel has been tugging on Courtney’s heartstrings for some time, and Chris’s “bad-boy” reputation draws her to him like a moth to a flame. After all, he is a central part of the most popular clique in her high school. Will Chris pull Courtney away from her faith or will Courtney inspire him to overcome his rebellious lifestyle?

Jason Davids has not slept in thirty-seven hours. He glances at his clock: 7:20 p.m.

MLH #2: When Darkness Tries to Hide

You can do this, Jason, he says to himself. Just get up and go. Go tell them the truth. Tell everyone at Alyssa’s party that you found Andy’s body. Tell them that he looked dead. Tell them about the horror in Chantal’s eyes when she came rushing up the stairs. Make sure you tell them that it is all your fault.

One day after a tornado strikes Montgomery, Massachusetts, Andy Rosetti is in a coma with life-threatening injuries. Jason Davids and Chris Dunkin devise a plan to help Andy and unite the students at Montgomery Lake High School. However, no one—not even Chris—knows Jason’s secret about the day of the storm.

MLH #3: The Aftermath

At age fifteen, Jason Davids appears to have nearly any worldly thing that promises enjoyment at his disposal. Despite this, there is a persistent emptiness inside his heart. After failing to fill the void with achievements, relationships, and illicit substances, Jason finds himself intrigued by Jessie Robins: the daughter of a local pastor. How is it possible that she stands for everything his lifestyle opposes yet possesses the one thing he has been searching for all along?

MLH #4: The Battle for Innocence

Jon Anderson and Chantal Kagelli are trying to live moral lives, but temptations are plaguing them in and out of school. Will they continue to be lights in their best friends’ lives or will they get pulled into the darkness?

MLH #5: The Forces Within

After being trapped inside his own body, unable to communicate with anyone but his own thoughts, Andy Rosetti finally wakes up from the coma that controlled his life for one month. But upon awakening, Andy finds himself and his friends in an unfamiliar setting: a mansion riddled with secret passages and supernatural forces. As his friends fall prey to the entities surrounding them, Andy must figure out if the darkness lies within the mansion’s walls or within the people surrounding him.

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The On The Right Path Book Series

Co-authored with NBA Coach Brett Gunning and illustrated by Maddy Moore, On The Right Path is a children’s book series based on the principles of Brett Gunning’s non-profit. For complete information please visit the series’ page: “On The Right Path” by Brett Gunning & Stacy Padula


About the Author

College counselor, award-winning author, and entrepreneur Stacy A. Padula of Plymouth, Massachusetts has accrued years of experience working with adolescents as an educational consultant with extensive experience in the fields of college counseling, tutoring, and standardized test preparation, as well as a mentor, life coach, and youth group leader. For roughly eight years, she was the director of a private education company in the metrowest of Massachusetts where she managed a staff of thirty tutors and developed all company curriculum. In 2016, she left the metrowest and founded South Shore College Consulting & Tutoring based in Plymouth, Massachusetts. In 2019, she founded a publishing company that uses a portion of its proceeds to support animal rescues: Briley & Baxter Publications LLC.

Publications: Stacy Padula is the author of ten Young Adult novels and two children’s books. Her first novel, “The Right Person,” was published in 2010. In 2011, “When Darkness Tries to Hide” was published, and it was followed by “The Aftermath” 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! In 2016, Barnes & Noble chose Stacy to be a featured author for its teen book festival. 

In 2019, she released a new book series titled “Gripped,” that takes place in the same “world” as Montgomery Lake High but focuses on different main characters. “Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told” was released in February 2019, and “Gripped Part 2: Blindsided” was released in July 2019. “Gripped Part 3: The Fallout” was released in November 2019, and “Gripped Part 4: Smoke & Mirrors” was released in May 2020. In 2019, Stacy Padula also wrote her first screenplay, an adaptation of her novel “The Aftermath” and worked on writing a pilot for “Gripped” that is currently being considered for a TV show by Hollywood producers. 

In 2020, Stacy began writing a third book series with NBA Coach Brett Gunning. Geared towards children ages three through eight, Stacy and Brett’s “On The Right Path” book series has been endorsed by Joel Osteen, Mike D’Antoni, and Kevin McHale as a series that belongs in every school, library, and household.

Awards: Stacy Padula was featured in Marquis Who’s Who in America (2018, 2019, & 2020) for excellence in literature and education, Marquis Who’s Who in the World (2018, 2019, & 2020), and Cambridge Who’s Who for Young Professionals (2009). In 2018, she was awarded the Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2019, the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP of New York, NY) chose Stacy Padula as its Top Educational Consultant of the Year.” Then in 2020, she was named “Empowered Woman of the Year” by IAOTP. Each of her novels have risen to best seller status in a variety categories on Amazon from 2010-Present. From February through March of 2019, “Gripped Part 1” was the #1 New Release on Amazon Kindle in its category. In November of 2019, “Gripped Part 3” was the #1 New Release on Amazon in Paperback and on Kindle in 3 different genres. In May and June of 2020, “Gripped Part 4” became the #1 New Release on Amazon in multiple genres as well. In November of 2020, Stacy Padula was named a “Social Impact Hero” by Authority Magazine for her support of animal rescues through her publishing company. That month, she was also chosen to be featured on the cover of T.I.P. Magazine, an international business publication.

Background: Stacy was a Presidential Scholar and on the Dean’s List at Wentworth, where she studied Architectural Engineering and Interior Design. After graduation, she worked at an architecture firm in Boston from 2006-2008. Although she enjoyed her work, she felt something was missing–she wanted to spend more time helping people grow academically, personally, and spiritually. For close to a year, she split her time between tutoring, writing, and working at a design firm in Plymouth. When she fell in love with tutoring, she left the A&D industry completely and took a full-time position with a private education company in Dover, Massachusetts. She attained tutoring certification in 2009 through The International Tutor Association. Her career took off, and within one year, she was promoted to Director. Stacy knew she had found her niche! During her eight years with that company, she received multiple promotions and held a variety of titles, including Manager of Curriculum & Instruction and Director of Operations. In 2016, Stacy founded South Shore College Consulting & Tutoring. Then in 2019, she founded Briley & Baxter Publications—a publishing company that uses part of its monthly proceeds to support animal rescues. Stacy is currently enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School’s online Entrepreneurship Specialization to pursue her passion for business. In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, taking online classes, following the stock market, attending Bruins games, playing fantasy sports, reading about psychology, hosting Bible studies, taking her dogs to the beach, and spending time with her family, husband Tim, and friends.

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