Book Review: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson


Have you forgotten how terrible high school was? Well, let Lindsey Lee Johnson remind you! The Most Dangerous Place on Earth takes you back to the deepest, darkest corners of high school and will leave you thanking your lucky stars that you're an adult now. (If you are still in high school and you're reading this, please let me offer my condolences.) 

This book leads you down the windy dark alleys that your Mom warned you about walking down at night. Some of these stories are spot-on. Some of them are highly sensationalized. But all in all, it's a fantastic read.

[Full disclosure: I had a great high school experience. Mostly. ;)]


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.

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.

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.


Title? * *   Style? * * * *   Characters? * * *   Relationships? * * *   

Story? * * * *   Setting? * * * *   Page-turner? YES  Originality? * * * 

Bechdel Test? PASSES   Diversity? *   Plot Twists? * * *   

Overall Reading Experience? * * * *

> Note: All of these opinions are my own. Thank you to Netgalley for providing the ARC!