A captivating debut novel for readers of Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You and Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep, The 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.
**The Most Dangerous Place on Earth generously provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.**
3 "Nothing ever goes back." Stars
Upon reading the blurb for this book on NG I was immediately intrigued. The twisted nature of high school, cliques, mob mentality, and growing through those unsettling times always fascinates me in stories. With The Most Dangerous Place on Earth this holds true for the plot and premise of Lindsey Lee Johnson's debut novel.
Impressive is her third person writing and the easy way she hooks you in the beginning. There's a very mature quality to her writing that I find admirable. Her writing hails as descriptive prose and immersive for the reader. This story is told from succinct chapters from different characters. In between those new characters is a chapter from a newly minted, young English teacher. The arc of the story is woven through all of these mindsets. The thought of this is brilliant in my opinion. However, this method of storytelling ended up giving me contradicting feelings. I felt as though my connection to the characters was stunted. There was always this feeling of something big on the horizon with each of them but it never really culminated for me.
Her illustrations of high school in an affluent area outside of San Francisco were equally as intriguing as the plot. I thought the setting really lent itself to being pertinent to the story she telling. And each character are ones, in some capacity, that you’ll recognize from your own teenage life which I found important while reading as it gave me a small sense of connection. Overall, I enjoyed this story. It held my attention and provided a solid plot. There were a few areas where I wished there was more depth and richness from certain characters definitely but it was enjoyable.