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.
The Most Dangerous Place on Earth is aptly high school. Throughout this book we’re shown all the real world issues that kids and teens go through on a regular basis. There’s bullying, social media, drinking and drugs and then there’s the less regular but still real drink driving, grooming and rape. The broad range of topics in this book is astounding when looking back, but then again, that’s probably the intent of Johnson.
The books subject matter is so immensely important, and I would recommend school libraries to stock it and for teens to read this book because it covers so many issues. But it’s very clearly a book being written to tackle these difficult topics and often borders being over the top and dare I say it? Preachy. Each character got their own chapter and it felt very much like an after school special about the dangers of X, Y and Z.
Although the topics at hand were heartbreaking, the characters weren’t people that I could feel for. They felt like hollow stereotypes written for this book which was awkward to read as I wanted to feel bad for these characters. By the end I was enthralled and wanted to find out what bad thing could happen next. But this was more of a not being able to look away than me being connected to the stories being told.
+ So many real world issues discussed
+ Completely enthralled when reading
– Lot’s of cliches and stereotyping
– The format was similar to multiple short stories attached to one another
I received The Most Dangerous Place on Earth* by Lindsey Lee Johnson from the publisher. This is an unbiased and honest review.