Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Review: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson

Blurb from Goodreads:
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. 
My Review:
This is another one of those books that presumably exemplifies the adage: write what you know. As with most books that are usually debuts and start with this adage: this is about whether you can ever grow out of, or escape, the place in which you are raised and whether you should even want to leave. We enter Mill Valley, California and its high school filled with spoiled and wealthy teenagers. This one was told in an interesting manner - starting big where we get a flash of the characters to come and then devoting various chapters to different characters throughout universal events and moving forward between Junior and Senior year.  It's a fast read and mostly I enjoyed it.  It felt a bit heavy handed at times if only because it is definitively about #whitepeopleproblems. I am very familiar with Mill Valley and have been many times - this is likely an accurate depiction of current teenagers in this place but I'm not sure it is a place that should be romanticized or idealized, especially given so many other, diverse stories being written.

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth came out last week on January 10, 2017 and you can purchase HERE. I definitely recommend this one if you like a novel that feels a bit like a collection of short stories and/or those books we all know that challenge the place in which we grew up - this reminded me of a great debut from last year, Desert Boys, in both respects.
In some ways, her students knew so much more than she did, possessed vast, secret stores of information, codes and connections, that she felt helpless to understand.  When she circled the room, she'd peer over their shoulders at the phones in their palms, catching flashes of photos and texts. What were they doing? She wondered. What lives were they living on those little screens? 


  1. I have to be in the mood for this kind of book but it sounds interesting enough!

  2. Sounds interesting even if heavy handed at times. Great review!!

  3. You always have great reviews! I'm going to have to read this book. It sounds good.

  4. Sounds interesting, Eva. Seems like it's told in a unique way, too, but I'm not sure there's enough there to really grab me.


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