Book review: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsay Lee Johnson


'A captivating debut novel for readers of Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You and Curtis Sittenfeld's PrepThe Most Dangerous Place on Earth unleashes an unforgettable cast of characters into a realm known for its cruelty and peril: the American high school.

In an idyllic community of wealthy California families, new teacher Molly Nicoll becomes intrigued by the hidden lives of her privileged students. Unknown to Molly, a middle school tragedy in which they were all complicit continues to reverberate for her kids: Nick, the brilliant scam artist; Emma, the gifted dancer and party girl; Dave, the B student who strives to meet his parents' expectations; Calista, the hippie outcast who hides her intelligence for reasons of her own. Theirs is a world in which every action may become public: postable, shareable, indelible. With the rare talent that transforms teenage dramas into compelling and urgent fiction, Lindsey Lee Johnson makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with the sorrow, passion, and beauty of life in any time, and at any age.'

To cut straight to it this was a beautifully written book. Starting off with the suicide of a boy who was cyber bullied by his classmates this jumps forward to catch up with the class involved as well as a new teacher who takes them on. 

The chapters alternate between Miss Nichol and then a chapter per student. The chapters dedicated to each student read like a character study of the teen, looking at their life and their thoughts and feelings. You get a deep insight into what makes them who they are. I also really enjoyed the chapters told from Miss Nichol's point of view. She starts off wanting to care and help her students, but soon becomes disillusioned with her job. I felt like she was a really interesting and relateable character. 

I really savoured this book as I wanted to pour over and enjoy every word. I got really attached to the characters and felt connected to what was happening. 

Although the kids were privileged and had everything at their feet they were as lost as anyone and the way some of their stories progressed was quite emotional.

Overall I found this a compelling and beautifully written read. I recommend to anyone who enjoys coming of age stories that are real and honest.

On Goodreads I gave this 4/5 stars.

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth is available in paperback Aug 24th here


[Huge thanks to Veronique at Hodder for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.] 

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