Monday, December 19, 2016

So Is This Really the Most Dangerous Place on Earth??? (review)

TITLE: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth
AUTHOR: Lindsey Lee Johnson
PUBLISHER: Random House
PUBLISHING DATE: January 10, 2017

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 THOUGHTS: So, wanna know where the most dangerous place on earth is located - it's apparently a privileged high school in California. Now I pretty much believe high schools are probably more dangerous now than they ever were when I was in school, but being the most dangerous, I probably beg to differ.

"The Most Dangerous Place on Earth" tells the story of a group of privileged, bratty teenagers attending Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California. When the group was in 6th grade, a tragedy occurred in which a fellow bullied classmate commits suicide and all of our main characters had some role in what happened. We then fast forward to high school to see what affect this tragedy has had on them. Let's just say there are no humanitarian awards in these kids' futures. Add in Moly Nicoll, a young new teacher on the scene who is naive and wants to save everybody and you pretty much have the entire cast. This book has it all - drugs, alcohol, slut-shaming, bullying, class "wars," and illicit sex with a teacher. It's good that the author isn't afraid to tackle these subjects and I believe they do need addressed. However, who is primarily missing are the parents, who have ignored their children for years, bought them off with money and other materialistic things, and who have shaped these children in more ways than they will ever know by their missing presence.

I really struggled with this book at times. I don't have a lot of patience for bratty teenagers in my life and that's all this book contained. I'm sure I was probably supposed to be feeling sorry for them, but all I could think of was children who struggle for everything in life and still never get into the trouble these ones do. The book alternated chapters between the various juvenile cast and Ms. Nicoll and as I continued on, the chapters about the teenage angst were getting so much longer that I basically prayed for the book to end. I actuality, this book is probably closer to 2.5/5 than 2/5 but since Goodreads doesn't allow 1/2 point ratings, it is what it is. I'm sure plenty of people will like this book and I have read some really favorable reviews, it just wasn't the book for me. Oh well, better luck next time.

I received this book from the Penguin First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.




  1. Sorry to hear this one didn't entirely work. I think the excessive angst might have bugged me too, frankly. I mean it's fine and realistic in small doses, but can be overdone. The premise is kind of interesting but if I do read this I'll make sure I get it from the library rather than buying. Thanks for the review!

  2. The missing parents, especially when their absence is a glaring hole and they should be there, bug me. As do bratty teens. Boo. I had hoped this was better.

  3. This is the kind of book I'd hate-I hate bratty teenagers and teen angst in my books so will not be going near this one! Excellent review.