Saturday, January 3, 2015

Gone Too Far by Natalie D. Richards (Review)

Young Adult, Mystery
Publication.Date  January 6th 2015
Published By:  Sourcebooks Fire
AuthorNatalie D. Richards

Gone Too Far on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

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...


My whole day has been a unicorn ride through a field of rainbows.
I open the mirror on my visor. Given the day I’ve had, I’m half expecting a human-girl version of the Kraken. It’s just me though—long dark hair, big brown eyes. Mom says I look doe eyed. Dad says soulful. I think I look like I’m perpetually on the verge of tears. Ironic, since I rarely cry.
My phone buzzes and I fish it from my pocket, expecting Tacey or maybe my parents checking in to make sure I’m okay. But it’s an unfamiliar number.
Do you blame yourself?
I read the words once. Twice. I see Stella’s locker door swinging open and I hear a train whistle, but neither are happening. It’s all in my head. I force myself to take a breath and head outside. This text is a wrong number. It’s not for me, and it’s definitely not about Stella.
And then another message.
Do you wish you’d done something? What if you still could?
I text back quickly.
I think you have the wrong number.
I don’t have the wrong number, Piper.

     Natalie D. Richards' second YA novel tells a story of bullying and vengeance, ignorance and punishment, cruelty and trying to make things right. It's a well written and captivating story, though it isn't quite as intense and unpredictable as Richards' debut, Six Months Later. Still, all things considered, Gone Too Far is a decent mystery/high school drama - a good read for a long Winter afternoon with a cup of hot chocolate. 

     Piper Woods, a senior who prefers to hide behind the lens of her camera, can't wait to be done with all the drama and injustice of high school. She's a good observer and she sees things - she's a photographer after all and noticing things is part of her job. However, witnessing injustice and actually doing something to stop it are two different things, and Piper doesn't want to get into any trouble, she prefers to stay off the radar and keep a low profile. 
Things change when she finds a notebook filled with pictures of fellow students and some of their nastiest, darkest secrets (like cheating, bulling, breaking the law, etc). Disturbing as the notebook is, Piper doesn't think too much about it, not until a popular girl named Stella is found dead after a sex-tape is uploaded to the school website. Piper begins to wonder whether her death was a suicide or something more. Things get even more twisted when she gets a text message from the owner of the notebook asking her to pick a person who deserves to be punished and help make things right.

     Gone Too Far is a classic revenge story with a twist. We don't know who the owner of the notebook is or what his/her motives are - that's something we discover at the very end, though if I am to be honest, I guessed the identity of our mysterious vigilante very early on. I also though the motives for the "big fat Greek revenge" were a bit iffy. But even though I came very close to DNF-ing this book, I pushed through, wanting to find out if my guess was right (it was, but I'm glad I finished the book). 

     Just like Richard's first book, Gone Too Far is well written, well paced and captivating enough to keep me intrigued and turning pages. It's not a unique story, though, the plot line isn't very original and the characters are rather stereotypical and, therefore, unrelatable. Still, it's not a bad book at all. It's somewhere in the middle. If you have read high school revenge stories before (like Gretchen McNeil's Get Even or Jacqueline Green's Truth or Dare), you won't find Gone Too Far especially riveting or surprising. There's nothing here that would make this story stand out in the crowd of similar high school mysteries. If, however, you haven't read anything like this before, you'll probably enjoy it quite a lot. 

     Overall, while I wasn't exactly blown away by this book, I can't say I regret reading it, either. It's a good enough book to kill a few hours with. It's fast-paced and fun to read, and even though its premise isn't the most original out there, I think it's worth reading.

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