The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson
This novel is set to be released in 2017.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I would give this 3.75 stars, rounding up to 4.
This book makes me realize, as I've thought before, how thankful I am that I didn't go to junior high/high school now, with the current technology. It was hard enough in the 80s, I can't even imagine now. The worst we had to deal with was someone getting hold of a handwritten note that contained all of our secrets, but even if they did, it wasn't usually worth broadcasting, or to share the information wasn't as simple or permanent.
I thought this was an interesting look at a group of teens as well as the teachers who have the opportunity to influence them. I remember thinking that teachers seemed so old when I was in school, when in reality, they probably weren't that much older (in many cases). I remember being sixteen and in love with a 23-year old soon-to-be-teacher. We'd talk about how he could come to teach at my school and we could have a secret relationship. I look back at that now and just shake my head. It goes to show, people are people and then often don't think about what is wise or harmful. There are teachers who are passionate and want to help students learn and grow, and then there are those who take advantage. But the line can blur, as one teacher finds out in this story... even with the best intentions.
I like how the kids in the book were portrayed. A lot of people say they are stereotypes, but stereotypes surface because they exist. But like The Breakfast Club I think that this went beyond stereotypes to show that each kid had more than one side. The kids were impacted by family relationships. They weathered the friendships that changed over time. They flinch and bruise at the horrible way young people treat each other even while they were in the midst of perpetrating it onto others. And they survived difficulties or tragedies that kids face. And they dealt with the secrets they keep or spill. There is so much complexity going on in their lives, it is a wonder they are able to make it through the work of school at all.
My only complaint about the book is it would have been nice to have some of the loose ends tied up. To have resolution or more information about some of the stories.
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