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The most dangerous place on earth : a novel
2017
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Molly Nicoll (Female), Teacher, English teacher; intrigued by hidden lives of her privileged students; unaware of a former student's suicide the previous year
Calista Broderick (Female), Student, Blames herself for the suicide of a fellow classmate who had liked her
Genre
Fiction
Thriller
Psychological
Coming of age
Topics
Guilt
Teenagers
Adolescence
High school students
Cruelty
Cyber bullying
Wealthy lifestyles
Upper classes
Popularity
Peer pressure
Teenage angst
Suicide
Teachers
Setting
California - West (U.S.)
Time Period
2000s -- 21st century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Johnson's debut novel centering on a high school in a wealthy suburb of San Francisco is a compelling story to which almost everyone can relate. Strong characters, issues ripped from today's headlines, age-old teen angst, and an idealistic new teacher bring life to an unforgettable story that is heartbreaking on so many levels. The main teen characters' lives were forever changed by a tragedy in middle school that they all played a part in, and now in high school, they are finally coming to terms with it. Told from a variety of viewpoints, this novel pulls emotion out of the listener, flaying the open wounds with which everyone escapes high school. Cassandra Campbell, as always, does an extraordinary job differentiating among the many teens and adults, without going to extremes. Verdict Destined to become a book club sweetheart. ["Johnson's polished debut novel puts a human face to the details of today's daily headlines of teen life.. This bleak, potent picture will scare the pants off readers": LJ 10/15/16 starred review of the Random hc.]-Donna Bachowski, Orange Cty. Lib. Syst., Orlando, FL © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

In a wealthy California neighborhood, a middle school case of cyberbullying leads to tragedy. Three years later, the now-high-school-aged kids are each dealing with their own stresses and personal issues: average student Dave suffers from his Asian parents' insistence that he get straight As and become a doctor; Abigail falls into an affair with a predatory teacher; troublemaker Damon goes to mandatory drug rehab and struggles to get his life together. Campbell's narration is empathetic, layered, diverse, and nuanced. Every character has a distinctive voice, and her acting is spot-on, even when multiple characters are having a conversation. Her choices are well-thought-out and astute: in the initial chapter on cyberbullying, her voice is neutral and factual, which makes the horror all the more chilling. A Random House hardcover. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
An unforgettable cast of characters is unleashed into a realm known for its cruelty--the American high school--in this captivating debut novel. <br> <br> The wealthy enclaves north of San Francisco are not the paradise they appear to be, and nobody knows this better than the students of a local high school. Despite being raised with all the opportunities money can buy, these vulnerable kids are navigating a treacherous adolescence in which every action, every rumor, every feeling, is potentially postable, shareable, viral.<br> <br> Lindsey Lee Johnson's kaleidoscopic narrative exposes at every turn the real human beings beneath the high school stereotypes. Abigail Cress is ticking off the boxes toward the Ivy League when she makes the first impulsive decision of her life: entering into an inappropriate relationship with a teacher. Dave Chu, who knows himself at heart to be a typical B student, takes desperate measures to live up to his parents' crushing expectations. Emma Fleed, a gifted dancer, balances rigorous rehearsals with wild weekends. Damon Flintov returns from a stint at rehab looking to prove that he's not an irredeemable screwup. And Calista Broderick, once part of the popular crowd, chooses, for reasons of her own, to become a hippie outcast.<br> <br> Into this complicated web, an idealistic young English teacher arrives from a poorer, scruffier part of California. Molly Nicoll strives to connect with her students--without understanding the middle school tragedy that played out online and has continued to reverberate in different ways for all of them.<br> <br> Written with the rare talent capable of turning teenage drama into urgent, adult fiction, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with sorrow, passion, and humanity.<br> <br> Praise for The Most Dangerous Place on Earth <br> <br> "Alarming, compelling . . . Here's high school life in all its madness." -- The New York Times <br> <br> "Unputdownable." --Elle <br> <br> "Impossibly funny and achingly sad . . . [Lindsey Lee] Johnson cracks open adolescent angst with adult sensibility and sensitivity." --San Francisco Chronicle <br> <br> "[A] piercing debut . . . Johnson proves herself a master of the coming-of-age story." -- The Boston Globe <br> <br> "Entrancing . . . Johnson's novel possesses a propulsive quality. . . . Hard to put down." -- Chicago Tribune <br> <br> "Readers may find themselves so swept up in this enthralling novel that they finish it in a single sitting." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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