DISCLAIMER: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
PUBLICATION: January 10, 2017
High school can be a scary and dangerous place for its tenants. Between all the drama, social castes, he-said/she-said, and planning for a future that may or may not come depending upon the choices one makes, students have a lot of social and mental trials to deal with. Told through a series of loosely connected stories that come together to form a solid, beautiful novel, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth is one of the most fascinating yet sad novels I have read in a while.
The book centers mainly around Miss Nicoll, a new teacher, Damon, a bad boy trying to turn his life around, and Cally, Emma, and other girls who have to deal with relationships in various forms. The book starts with a tragic event that happens in middle school but seems to come up periodically to haunt those involved. As the book progresses, the story continues to follow these students throughout their high school careers and we as the readers have the privilege to watch them make both good and bad decisions. Johnson does a second-to-none job at connecting her readers to these students. Many times I found myself cheering when they did right and disappointed when they made the wrong choice.
Perhaps the story line that jumped out at me the most was between the new teacher, Miss Nicoll, trying to do things differently in an attempt to connect with her students but perhaps crossing the line. This is a very interesting topic in this age of social media. How far should teachers go in social media to connect with their students? When is that line crossed? And who cares if the line is crossed if it connects and educates students?
Lindsey Lee Johnson in a powerfully and emotionally honest writer that really showcases her ability to orchestrate such a concept for a novel that is littered with potential pot holes and traps. Fortunately, she pulls it off almost flawlessly. This was one of those rare books where I found myself wanting to savor every chapter, every sentence just to make sure I didn't miss anything. Johnson has really set the bar high with this book and I honestly cannot recommend it highly enough.
I love to read and to discuss books. My preferred genre is sci-fi but I like to read mostly anything.