A captivating debut novel for readers of Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You and Curtis Sittenfeld's Pret, 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 ma 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.
I didn't really know what to think going into this book, but I really ended up enjoying it.
Slight spoilers, but definitely nothing that will give away even 1/2 of the things that go on in this book... seriously, there's lots of layers to this story. Like an
It's written from different POVs as stories, within stories, within stories. You start out with the popular girl in middle school who is different from the other popular kids and is kind of nice (or at least not mean) to the school's outcast (except when she is trying to get the attention of the popular boy). Then we get the POV of the outcast, when everything starts to go downhill...
I liked that the story did't just focus on the students' POV. We also get to see what it's like for the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, straight out of college and a little town in the middle of no where, teacher, who desperately wants to reach her students. First, she just wants to help them learn to feel the way she does about literature, but as she evolves, she just wants to help them.
I also like there we get the POV of the kid who tries harder than everyone else, but his parents still push him as if he's not trying at all. We also get to learn about the guy who doesn't have to try at all and uses his intelligence to make money.
The end wraps up nicely, with the POV of Calista, who started out the book. Not only has she changed her name from Cally to Calista, but she has evolved in many ways, mainly due to the things that transpired in the beginning of the book.
At the end of the book, I really started thinking about the title, which I didn't really consider when I started reading. But by the end, it makes you wonder if maybe the place most people consider perfect is everything but.
This was a great book! I sped through it! Although there were no special powers or creatures, like many of the books I've been reading lately, I really enjoyed it!
I received this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.