You know it's funny. I have been writing "Hard Times" and I base it a lot on my life growing up.
I can't say I had quite the same experience as my main character (and I was probably more like Savannah) anyway.
However, many of the people, places and attitudes are ripped right out of my own observations. There are things my brothers and step-dads have said and I am like "ooh, say that again slower, I need to write that down" that have been great inspiration for the story.
I think the story at it's root begins with little naughty dares between cousins. I want to say that there so many of us have these experiences and find them relatable it is almost like a genre unto itself.
The story slowly escalates and the main character finds herself doing things that would seem over the top.
They WOULD seem that way if not for the fact that reality sometimes is even more over-the-top. There are videos online I have seen of people doing stuff that I wouldn't write into my story at all because people would say "Oh C'mon, that would just never happen!!"
So there is this: