Review for "The Most Dangerous Place on Earth" by Lindsey Lee Johnson (to be published on 10 January 2017) Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Happy New Year!!! I’ve got a goal of 130 books this year, up from 125 from last year. It’s highly likely I’ll accomplish it, given my classes and my personal schedule. Of course, you guys will be along for the ride, getting all the best of my reading adventures!
Anywho, this book’s four stars. Solid.
This novel begins with a group of young people in the 8th grade living with their parents in a small enclave near San Francisco. They are children of privilege–not Park Avenue or Hollywood Hills rich–but they are definitely living the life of affluence with parents who work long hours in high paying jobs. They have nice homes and luxury cars, high academic expectations. Credit cards given to sons and daughters with no spending limits. As 8th graders, they are learning their place in the world, as well as establishing cliques and pecking orders, of which their classmate Tristan Bloch happens to be at the bottom of. This book follows the next several years of the lives of the students who eventually bully and cyber-harass Tristan to his suicide.
There are also teachers in this novel, and the story follows the stories of two in particular: Molly Nicoll, an idealistic, early twenty-something teacher fresh out of college who can’t wait to teach and get to know her students, and Mr. Ellison, a creep who also loves his students (literally). Miss Nicoll’s evolution throughout the course of her first year of teaching is interspersed throughout the book in short vignettes.
Each student has a chapter that is told from a third-person point of view. Although I liked hearing their voices and backstories, the kids here were nothing more than your classic stock characters in a typical high school drama. There’s the jock, the pretty girl, the bad boy, the plain Jane athlete, the whip-smart drug-dealing slacker, the hippie, and the boy overachiever. Interestingly, the boy overachiever (and the only minority character in the whole book) happened to be Asian. Because all Asians are super-smart, right? Gtfoh.
Despite the lack of character development, the writing here is pretty extraordinary. It’s a quick and engaging read that kept me engrossed for the entire time while reading it. I actually finished this book way ahead of schedule, just because I liked it so much.
Definitely worth a peep. Check it out!
[Note: A free digital copy was provided to me by the publisher, Random House, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]