Title: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth
Author: Lindsey Lee Johnson
Date finished: 2/5/17
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Pages in book: 288
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Blurb from the cover:
An unforgettable cast of characters is unleashed into a realm known for its cruelty—the American high school—in this captivating debut novel.
The wealthy enclaves north of San Francisco are not the paradise they appear to be, and nobody knows this better than the students of a local high school. Despite being raised with all the opportunities money can buy, these vulnerable kids are navigating a treacherous adolescence in which every action, every rumor, every feeling, is potentially postable, shareable, viral.
Lindsey Lee Johnson’s kaleidoscopic narrative exposes at every turn the real human beings beneath the high school stereotypes. Abigail Cress is ticking off the boxes toward the Ivy League when she makes the first impulsive decision of her life: entering into an inappropriate relationship with a teacher. Dave Chu, who knows himself at heart to be a typical B student, takes desperate measures to live up to his parents’ crushing expectations. Emma Fleed, a gifted dancer, balances rigorous rehearsals with wild weekends. Damon Flintov returns from a stint at rehab looking to prove that he’s not an irredeemable screwup. And Calista Broderick, once part of the popular crowd, chooses, for reasons of her own, to become a hippie outcast.
Into this complicated web, an idealistic young English teacher arrives from a poorer, scruffier part of California. Molly Nicoll strives to connect with her students—without understanding the middle school tragedy that played out online and has continued to reverberate in different ways for all of them.
Written with the rare talent capable of turning teenage drama into urgent, adult fiction, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with sorrow, passion, and humanity.
My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5
My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about quite a number of people, centering mostly around Miss Molly Nicoll, a new teacher at the high school in Mill Valley, and her junior level English class. Molly is fresh from graduation and eager to make her mark on her impressionable young students’ lives, thinking that she might be able to provide something to these rich and spoiled students that they had been lacking up until now. But Molly doesn’t know the history behind her class, does not know what happened to them in eighth grade that affected each of them in different ways. And while she things she understands her students, she soon finds out that she doesn’t really know them at all. The book tells the story alternating between Molly’s point of view and that of her students. Each student is featured in a chapter where we learn more about their personal life and learn a little more about the story line with each.
Overall I liked this book. The story line was interesting if a little scattered. I liked hearing about the story from the point of view of different characters but at the same time hearing about so many people’s stories left me feeling like none of the story lines were particularly resolved. There were so many bad things that happened to these kids and I just felt so bad for all the mistakes that left them so screwed up. This did a great job of portraying how quickly bullying can get out of hand when its done online. And I also thought the author did a really great job of putting the reader into the shoes of the high school students, making the reader feel that desperation that comes with being a teenager in overcoming each new obstacle. This was a good book and I liked it, I would recommend it.
The bottom line: This book was ok, I found the cast of characters engaging but I didn’t see much point with the story line. And there was a lack of closure with each person’s story since we jump from one character to the next. Overall it was an interesting read though and I would recommend it.
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page