I’m telling you about this novel early. It’s on at least one of the many must-read lists for 2017! Yes, there are already lists.
This is the second 2017 novel which makes me so grateful that I’m no longer a teenager: that my time in that virtual hell-pit, known as high-school is long behind. Trust me, it wasn’t a cake walk, but we didn’t have social media to contend with. Today’s kids have to toughen up pretty early age if they’re going to swim among their fellow students, or sharks.
In Lindsey Lee Johnson’s debut novel, THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH, young, bright, rich and extremely entitled kids are groomed at the Mill Valley Schools, in Northern, California, to take on the world like their wealthy parents.
There’s Ryan, the pretty, party boy; Nick, brilliant and always running a scam; Damon, destined to be locked up; Calista, bright, but hides her intelligence and acts like a hippie: Emma, the dancer and party girl; Elisabeth, the most beautiful girl in school who everyone hates.
We meet everyone in eighth grade, when a boy named Tristan, a target of the cool kids finds himself mercilessly bullied after writing a “like note” to popular girl, Calista. She shows the note to her friends and Tristan is tortured at school verbally and on-line. There is nowhere safe for him to go. Eventually Tristan sees no alternative, but to commit suicide and tragically jumps off the Golden Gate bridge. A couple of kids are suspended, but most don’t fully understand the enormity of how cruel they were and what happened.
By Junior year, a new teacher, Miss Nicholl arrives. She’s a first year teacher and finds these students vulnerable, as they open up to her, and herself wanting to protect them. But are they really seeking her guidance, or are they playing her? How much could they have changed since eighth grade? A fellow teacher fills Miss Nicholl in on the history of her students and she struggles to understand the cruelty these teens are capable of.
Johnson takes us into some of the darkest places of the teen psyche and exposes what exists, despite the masquerade. Her narrative is chilling as it reveals the way these teens are able to act out without conscious, or fear of consequence. Congratulations on such an amazing debut novel. I can’t wait to read what Lindsey Lee Johnson writes next.
Lindsey Lee Johnson holds a master of professional writing degree from the University of Southern California and a BA in English from the University of California at Davis. She’s taught writing at USC, Clark College, and Portland State University and has served as a tutor and mentor at a private learning center, where her focus has been teaching writing to teenagers. Born and raised in Marin County, she now lives with her husband in Los Angeles. THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH is her debut novel.
You can contact Lindsey at her website http://www.lindseyleejohnson.com or on twitter @lindseylee
THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH will be published January 10th. Be sure to pre-order your copy at your favorite independent bookstore.
Thanks to NetGalley for providing an advance copy of THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH for an honest review.
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