I received this book for free from Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Gone Too Far by Natalie Richards
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on January 6, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, YA
Source: Sourcebooks Fire
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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...
You guys know how much I like my revenge stories. There’s something that feels really sweet when mean and awful people get a dose of their own medicine. The best one I’ve read to date is Gretchen McNeil’s Don’t Get Mad duology, which had an amazing cast of female characters (who totally kicked butt and whose different personalities really made both novels shine), so I was kind of expecting to feel the same intensity in Richard’s. Unfortunately, while I liked the idea of the premise (which wasn’t all that original, sadly enough…), it didn’t feel like it was executed greatly enough.
So, the story starts with Piper finding a notebook filled with cryptic statements about what people have done to other people. She witnessed someone get bullied in school, a victim who was later found dead, having jumped into the train tracks. Feeling guilty for not having done anything about it when she had the chance to do so, she seeks the help of a vigilante to exact justice on those who “deserve” it. As the title suggests, she later finds out that perhaps the retribution she was going for was going too far.
To be honest, the way the narration style was told left me quite exhausted. It felt so all over the place and so… detached, somehow, lacking the emotion and intimacy needed for a 1st person point of view. It felt like it talked about so many things while not talking about anything at all. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t “telling than showing” at all, quite opposite in fact, but it just lacked the substance somehow. This is quite unfortunate considering this is a book about REVENGE and JUSTICE and RIGHTING BULLYING but the connection with the reader just wasn’t there, leaving it lacking in intensity as well.
I also was left disappointed with the “retribution” done. The book keeps saying that they were so DAMAGING and everything, but they felt amateur-ish at best. It lacked the “bang” that Get Even was full of, making me roll my eyes throughout the book. Add to the fact that Piper’s 1st person narration was very disconnecting, I didn’t feel the impact of the action done at all. In fact, they felt more superficial than anything else. The acts later become more heavy later on, but they just didn’t “heavy” enough as the narration keeps insisting they were.
And the romance was just… ugh. Insta-love once again makes their cameo here. Piper is your photographer who has a bit of social anxiety, and then all of a sudden, this popular guy takes an interest in her and putting the moves on her in such obvious ways? It was disappointing how their romance lacked the build-up and the transition for two people who “seemingly” come from different worlds in high school heirarchy. I kept rolling my eyes whenever she would get flutters in her stomach and she was all, “I wonder what was that? Oh, it was probably nothing.” and I’m like ughhhhh blech.
I did like the messages this book promoted and its fight against bullying and social ostracization. We need more of those these days.
2.5 Hot Espressos