Gone Too Far
by Natalie D. Richards
Author: Natalie D. Richards
Genre: Young Adult
Age Range: 14+
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...
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.
Guest Post from the author:
By Natalie D. Richards
So here’s the weird truth. My schooling was a weird mix of everything. A little public, a little private, a little homeschooling…I tried it all and liked not very much of it. Homeschooling—very different those days—felt very lonely for my extroverted self, but traditional school (both public and private) had the whole social silliness that was equally annoying.
Thing is, as a teenager, I was so obsessed with finding myself I think I should have had a major in high school and it should have been navel-gazing. I hung out at coffee shops wearing very red lipstick and listening to angry, emotional music while I read Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass over and over. (So help me, I had an underlined, highlighted copy. I still have it somewhere in my basement!)
At any rate, my teen years were a desperate pursuit of self-discovery.
It was absurd. I was absurd.
And between my identity focus and my ever-changing school situation, I never found a particular slot that I filled in one specific group. I drifted through social circles at a variety of high schools my friends attended, bouncing around from goth groups to theater kids to book worms. I wasn’t unpopular, but I was often a black sheep, a weird seventeen year old convinced my maturity stretched years, maybe even decades, beyond my actual age.
Like I said, absurd.
Thing is, Piper’s got a little bit of that in her too. She knows exactly who she is and what she wants. Her future isn’t just a dream, it’s a plan and she’s taking all the right steps to make it reality. Piper is many things I wish I was in high school, but she’s
still caught up with some of the same trappings because she’s convinced she’s above all those immature high school social games.
But the truth is, she’s perpetuating some of that childishness herself. Just the act of deciding she’s more mature than everyone else puts her in a clique of sorts. The seventeen-going-on-twenty-seven-year-olds. The we-think-we’re-above-this kids.
We all end up in social groups, some that we choose and some we don’t. With very few exceptions, those groups inevitably consider themselves better than some other group out there. That’s the problem, isn’t it? It’s the same world all around us, but the view depends on where you’re standing.
Gone Too Far takes a hard look at social groups and the good and bad that can come out of them. It was hard for me to write, because I had to be brutally honest about my own past, and how that past continued to shade my perceptions. It wasn’t always fun, but in lots of ways, writing Gone Too Far opened my eyes to a whole new world. It was a journey and I was a traveler, sometimes just hanging on for the ride. Being a travel enthusiast himself, I like to think Walt Whitman would have approved. ;-)