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Stacy Padula


Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told

A young athlete’s future is jeopardized following a horrific knee injury, by author Stacy Padula

Taylor Dunkin was a talented young athlete. With a college scholarship and an ESPN ranking, he was destined to play in the NFL. But, following a sports injury and several knee surgeries, he becomes addicted to prescription painkillers, and his future as a professional footballer is put in jeopardy. As he becomes more dependent on painkillers, he becomes severely depressed, which causes him to miss classes. He eventually loses his college scholarship, and he spirals further into the depths of depression and addiction.

Taylor hurts his loved ones and loses everything important to him. He later becomes involved with the notorious Bilotti crime ring, and turns to dealing drugs to the teens in Montgomery, to support his own drug habit. When Taylor’s brother, Marc, finds him passed out in his apartment, and discovers signs of escalating drug use, the family try to support Taylor and get him into much needed rehab. But Taylor’s activities are spotted by the Boston Police Department, who are investigating Bilotti and his criminal associates. Detectives see Taylor as a ‘weak link’ and try to recruit him as an informant, in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Taylor has a difficult decision to make, as he knows betraying the gang, would ultimately risk his life.

Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told, is a tragic tale of one young man’s descent into a vicious cycle of depression and drug addiction. The book shows the devastating impact of drug addiction, not only on Taylor, but on everyone around him, his friends, family and loved ones, as well as the wider community. This is a compelling and gripping novel, with an important message. Unfortunately, Taylor’s story is not uncommon amongst teens in the United States, and the book highlights the desperate need for greater investment in mental health provision, drug rehabilitation, and support services for young people.

The book shows the stark reality of life as a teenager, the many pressures they experience growing up in today’s society, and the deadly opioid epidemic that is sweeping the nation. An essential read for any young person or adult.

Star rating: 5 Stars

Summary: A compelling and gripping novel about one young man’s descent into a vicious cycle of depression and drug addiction.

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