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An unforgettable cast of characters is unleashed into a realm known for its cruelty - the American high school - in this captivating debut novel.
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.
Praise for The Most Dangerous Place on Earth
"A young high school teacher stumbles on buried secrets in this engrossing, multilayered drama." - Cosmopolitan
"If you are cruising for a quality read that's also an unputdownable quickie, reach for Lindsey Lee Johnson's debut novel, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth. It's a high-wire high school drama." - Elle
"The characters in Lindsey Lee Johnson's debut novel affected me in a way I can't remember feeling since I binge-watched all five seasons of Friday Night Lights. . . . You'll walk away feeling like you could revisit a hallway drama armed with bulletproof perspective." - Glamour
"In Johnson's excellent debut, her sharp storytelling conveys an authentic sense of the perils of adolescence. . . . Readers may find themselves so swept up in this enthralling novel that they finish it in a single sitting." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Johnson's polished debut novel puts a human face to the details of today's daily headlines of teen life." - Library Journal (starred review)
"In sharp and assured prose, roving among characters, Lindsey Lee Johnson plumbs the terrifying depths of a half-dozen ultraprivileged California high school kids. . . . 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