An unforgettable cast of characters is unleashed into a realm known for its cruelty the American high school in this captivating debut novel for readers of Celeste Ng s Everything I Never Told You and Curtis Sittenfeld s Prep.
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.
Written with the rare talent capable of turning teenage drama into urgent, adult fiction, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with sorrow, passion, and humanity.
Advance praise for The Most Dangerous Place on Earth
In sharp and assured prose, roving among characters, Lindsey Lee Johnson plumbs the terrifying depths of a half-dozen ultraprivileged California high school kids. I read The Most Dangerous Place on Earth in two chilling gulps. It s a phenomenal first book, a compassionate Less Than Zero for the digital age. Anthony Doerr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of All the Light We Cannot See
The Most Dangerous Place on Earth is a deftly composed mosaic of adolescence in the modern age, frightening and compelling in its honesty: a terrific debut, and one that I didn t want to set down. Julia Pierpont, New York Times bestselling author of Among the Ten Thousand Things
Johnson s gripping debut novel leads us into the moral freefall of a group of privileged Marin County students following a dark incident in their shared past. Beautifully inhabited and written in supple, confident prose, this novel of adolescent violence and vulnerability is a knockout! Janet Fitch, author ofPaint It Black and White Oleander
An astonishing debut novel, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth plunges the reader into the fraught power dynamics between (and among) high school teachers and students with both nuance and fearlessness. Megan Abbott, author of You Will Know Me and Dare Me
In her superb first novel, Lindsey Lee Johnson deftly illuminates a certain strain of privileged American adolescence and the existential minefield these kids are forced to navigate. Seth Greenland, author of I Regret Everything and The Angry Buddhist"