Review & Excerpt: Gone Too Far by Natalie D. Richards


On tour with Sourcebooks.


I was pretty much blown away by Natalie Richards debut title, Six Months Later (see my review here), and am looking forward to sharing with you her sophomore release...

Gone Too FarGone Too Far
by Natalie D. Richards
YA Suspense
Paperback304 Pages
January 6th 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire

Summary

Keeping secrets ruined her life. But the truth might just kill her.

Piper Woods can't wait for the purgatory of senior year to end. She skirts the fringes of high school like a pro until the morning she finds a notebook with mutilated photographs and a list of student sins. She's sure the book is too gruesome to be true, until pretty, popular Stella dies after a sex-tape goes viral. Everyone's sure it's suicide, but Piper remembers Stella’s name from the book and begins to suspect something much worse.

Drowning in secrets she doesn’t want to keep, Piper’s fears are confirmed when she receives an anonymous text message daring her to make things right. All she needs to do is choose a name, the name of someone who deserves to be punished...
    Chapters/Indigo  

My Review

Gone Too Far was intense and mysterious. It was a story about two kids who think they can correctly judge their peers and that they can create just punishments for what they see. The problem is that they don't see the whole picture. They walk a fine line between what is just and what is just plain wrong. The story had lots of high school drama with the different in-crowds and those not so "in" and with a strong revenge plot. It was also full of friendship, second chances, and perceptions, along with some sweet romance (that I really liked).

There was so much going on in this story. You have Piper and her group of friends that all have their own problems, both outside and inside of school. Then you have Nick and the popular group of kids as well as some others that also have their own issues. There were mean kids and bullies. There were the smart kids, the geeks, the artists, the jocks, etc. What Piper saw was only a small portion of who each of these individuals were. She didn't see the abusive homes or the other issues that these kids were facing. I feel like that was the biggest point of the story. That individuals are humanly flawed and can't normally be taken at face value. Piper had issues with her peers and perceived many of them in one way. These issues come to a head for her when she finds a notebook and begins receiving anonymous texts.

There were a few things that just didn't quite work for me. I didn't like how much control Piper gave the mastermind behind all that goes on. I didn't like that she went along with things, that she was so worried about what would happen, that the notebook make her almost obsessive, that she didn't want to tell anyone, which all just tangled her up more. It was a little overly dramatic in that way because I thought that most teens wouldn't have cared so much. It just made everything so much worse. Having said that, it definitely showed how Piper's peers and the whole setting in high school had such a huge impact on her thinking and actions.

There were also several things that I really liked about the story. I really liked that it was difficult to figure out who was behind everything. It kept the story suspenseful and drove the plot. I literally did not know who the vigilante was until the very end. I also liked how things became so tangled up and how the end just blew up as all the pieces came together. It was an intense, edge-of-your-seat climax to the story.

I also really, really loved Nick! I loved how he challenged Piper and her perceptions. I loved that he showed her how he felt and didn't let her off easily. I also loved that he was willing to be there for her and to listen. There was a definite instantaneous attraction between Piper and Nick, but it worked for me. Their relationship was sweet and I liked how it all played out between them. I also liked that the romance didn't overtake the story.

I also loved how I came to know all the different characters and their lives. I liked the friendships, some of them longstanding. I also liked seeing the glimpses into several of the characters' families, even though most of them weren't perfect. I liked that the characters didn't feel one-dimensional to me. They felt real and pulled me into their stories. It made me want to cheer them on.

Gone Too Far was a bittersweet, heartfelt, and in the end an intense story. It was a story of love, friendship, revenge, and forgiveness. The story pulled me in with likable characters and kept me engaged with the need to know who was behind everything and who would endanger Piper's life in the end. It ended up being crazy, heartbreaking, and sweet. I'm definitely curious to see what Richards writes next.

Content: Some innuendo, crude dialogue, violence, and quite a bit of swearing.

Source: I would like to thank the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, for my complimentary review copy through NetGalley, which did not affect my review in any way.

Excerpt

I unzip my bag, rifling through stuff that’s worthless right now: proof sheets from the homecoming dance, my history textbook— might be useful if I hadn’t already taken that test—an extra lens cap. My fingers close around a slim, spiral-bound spine. That notebook I found.

I pull it out. Maybe, by some stroke of cosmic luck, it’s someone else’s AP chemistry notes. Fat chance, but I’m desperate.

I open the book and frown at the three large words handwritten on the inside of the cover.

Malum Non Vide

Great. Latin notes. I think it’s Latin, anyway. Regardless, it’s useless to me.

I sigh, running a finger down the cardboard pocket insert that protects the first page. Funny. I’ve never seen anyone use these stupid things, but I can feel a thick lump in this one. I pull back the cardboard far enough to see what’s inside—pictures. A whole stack of them. A photographer not checking out a stack of prints is about as likely as a cat resisting an open can of tuna. It’s not exactly snooping, more like creative curiosity.

I slide a couple of photos out by the edges. Poor quality black and white snapshots taken around the school from what I can tell. I straighten the top photo to get a better look. It’s Isaac Cooper…but it’s wrong.

Isaac’s eyes are empty. White sockets glare out at me, windows to a place where Isaac’s soul used to be.

I feather my thumb over the face, feeling the jagged scrapes and tears in the photo. The eyes weren’t just colored over—they were gouged out. And someone took their time about it, picking out bits of iris and pupil, leaving nothing but a pale oval framed by his eyelids.

A chill ghosts up my spine, nesting in the hair at the nape of my neck.

Who would do this? I try to picture it; someone hunched over with a needle, scratching away. The image sends my stomach into free fall.

I flip to the next picture. Anna Price. Her eyes are gone too. I keep flipping—Kristen, Ming, that guy who always seems to be dating one of the cheerleaders. Three more pictures. Six more gaping holes where eyes should be. My heart beats faster, pushing ice into my veins.

I put the pictures back with shaking hands.

What the h*** kind of book is this?

About the Author

Ohioan and Double RWA Golden Heart Finalist NATALIE D. RICHARDS won her first writing competition in the second grade with her short story about Barbara Frances Bizzlefishes (who wouldn't dare do the dishes). After getting lost in a maze of cubicles, Natalie found her way back to storytelling, following the genre of her heart, teen fiction. Natalie lives in Ohio with her amazing husband, their three children, and a giant dust-mop who swears he’s the family dog.

3 comments

  1. Cali Willette12/30/14, 12:10 PM

    Good review and excerpt; I like this book. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm glad you do! :) I had rather high expectations going in because her first book really blew me away. I'll definitely be grabbing whatever she writes next.

    ReplyDelete
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