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The Most Dangerous Place on Earth
The Most Dangerous Place on EarthBeccaFry (4)
I loved this book!

This book took me longer to read than I care to admit. But I loved it! I loved the way it gave a look in to each student's life and every one had their own issues in life but were still all connected together in a way. This book shows how complicated high school can be and when you're just a kid it can be so overwhelming.

MelanieDeal (1)
Agreed! I loved the story being told from each student's point of view, and yet still showed how connected they still were.
The Most Dangerous Place on EarthAriannaSoltero (4)
Changing Views

I really enjoyed this book. You find POV you hate and you love. I really love this writing style and how the language changed with each character. I didn't think I would have enjoyed this book as much as I did. Well played BOTM.

PepperJoel (4)
Me too! I read "The Sun is Also a Star" for one of my other BOTMs and it had a similar premise - the multiple perspectives thing. While I liked the gimmick of that, I found that book way too 'young' for me. This book executed the premise far better and in a way more interesting way. Loved it.
KimberlyBayer (3)
I LOVE perspective novels. Another great one (although even 'younger' than this) is Wonder.
BookBelle (3)
Loved this writing element as well. Johnson did a great job of giving each character their own voice, allowing the reader to get into each person's head for a bit without getting their full story but enough to understand the motivations, fears, and desires to a small degree. Kept it interesting and allowed you to feel anger and sympathy for a character at the same time.
KayleneBell (1)
Just started reading this book last night... kids are cruel.
Elmcon (3)
I really enjoyed this book too. I liked how the style changed with each character. I'm a high school teacher, and Molly's character really irked me. I feel like she was so unprofessional.
The Most Dangerous Place on EarthChrisGray (2)
Who Read This?

Has anyone else read this book?

BookBelle (3)
Great book! I thought it was realistic based on my own high school experience, WAY too many years ago (class of 2000). But Johnson did a great job of developing each character in their own unique way. I disagree that the character of Molly wasn't fully formed; for a 23-year-old teacher fresh out of college, full of ideals and plans but with no idea of who she is or what she's doing, she's a good picture of many freshly minted schoolteachers I've known and encountered. Excellent book. Realistic portrayals, no happily ever after ending, and lessons that can be applied to more than just teens and high schools. 268 pages of time well spent!
Betty (2)
and I agree with your assessment of Molly. Intelligent, great educational background in her discipline, idealistic. The makings of a great teacher. I thought the school administration handled her disciplinary action sensitively, but I would hope they saw the great potential in her and would keep on top of her career trajectory. Too many idealistic, bright young teachers may be going it alone in the classroom in their first couple of years. And thus we lose some of the best and brightest. I am depressed to believe this is a model of teen behavior in our country.
mypaperheart (8)
I finished it yesterday. I read it in two days because I wanted to see what would happen, but I was kind of hate-reading it at times. The way the kids acted sickened me. I liked the idealistic young teacher, but the way she was crushed down at the end was kind of sad. Overall this was a pretty depressing read.
smscott320 (14)
I completely agree with the hate-reading. This was my least favorite book in almost a year of subscribing. I felt like the ending was so rushed and sloppy to have Cally summarize everyone else's story. I would have liked to have seen more about Cally's point of view. I was hoping that Molly would move away instead of just becoming like every other teacher. This book just rubbed me the wrong way. I just felt like she was trying too hard to make a statement.
AndieD (8)
I wasn't thrilled with the ending. I didn't feel as if the Molly character was fully formed. I read the whole thing in one setting. This is my first BOTM and I hope others are better.
Hannah (33)
Stick with it, this was one of the worst books I've read in my life but usually BOTM is good. Excited for this month and I've read some great books like Swimming Lessons and All the Ugly and Wonderful Things.
Sidnee (1)
I completely agree with you. My first BOTM was 'All the Ugly and Wonderful Things" and it is my favorite book I have ever read. My next was 'Dark Matter' and that was terrific too! It really set the bar for every book since then. So I can relate with being disappointed with this selection. However, I am sure BOTM will roll out some awesome titles you will fall in love with!
margiebee (3)
I devoured this book over the course of 3 days. And, I'm ashamed to admit that although I've been a BOTM member since October, this is the first BOTM I finished. I really enjoyed the author's style of writing. The subject seemed like that of a YA novel, but the writing seemed much more mature and thoughtful than most books of that genre. I have a short attention span, so the fact that this was structured like interconnected short stories held my attention. 4/5 stars!
Mina (30)
I'm curious.. which books did you choose and not finish? Just asking to see if our interests match, in which case I'll pick this book up next month!
margiebee (3)
In all fairness, I haven't finished many selections, because I have a truly scattered, inconsistent approach to reading/completing books. I have a hard time sticking with one book at a time, at least up until the point where the book completely has me hooked, so I often am reading multiple books at once. One of the last great books I did finish (not a BOTM selection) was American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin. BOTM selections that I've received, but not finished included: Mothers by Britt Bennett, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Brynn Greenwood, Swing Time by Zadie Smith, and Whatever Happened to Interracial Love by Kathleen Collins. I just need more time and persistence to finish some of these... :)
mqin (2)
I agree, I felt like the plot was very YA originally but as we were taken deeper into he plot it really read as more of an adult book. It personally made me think back to my own high school experience and how much perspective is influenced by your peers and environment. Great read and very thought provoking!
Diana7 (33)
Initially I did't want to read this book because it sounded very YA and quite one dimensional,also I didn't think that I would find the characters worth relating to(I was wrong) the book was so much evolved then I could have ever imagined. Glad I gave it a chance, once I started I couldn't put it down! It made me really think about the impact of social media and how quickly things can spiral out of control. I enjoyed the author's writing style.
kclark1127 (2)
I agree that the changing of point of view really did make this book go by quickly! As a 24 year old high school English teacher, I did find the interactions between Miss Nicoll and her students to be infuriating and entirely unprofessional though. I spent the majority of reading shaking my head!
PaigeHouser (1)
I would have to agree, there were multiple times I felt like she was going to cross a line sexually with one of her students. However, I also felt like it also built her character up and fit what would seem to be expected of her knowing her past. When we was young she was needing attention that was never given to her, not liked by her peers or at least not noticed by them made her grow into an adult teacher looking for that satisfactory of being liked. It wasn't appropriate, but I guess in a way fit her personality. I didn't like how in the end she kind of gave up who she was and became just like all the other teachers.
mqin (2)
I couldn't agree more as a teacher as well! I wanted to like her so badly but became infuriated when she spoke with such delusion.
kclark1127 (2)
We all want to help our kids grow as people and as students, but her need for them to validate her was ridiculous.
Diana7 (33)
I agree, at times it seemed that she was more interested in being likable than sticking to what her job was as a teacher.
margiebee (3)
Agree! I worked at a psychiatric treatment center for teens when I was in my early 20s. The kids wanted to see me as a peer, especially when I wasn't that much older than some of them. I was acutely aware of the need for boundaries, especially with a particularly vulnerable population, many of whom had had their interpersonal boundaries violated through physical and sexual abuse and trauma. Anyways, its interesting how both teachers in this book crossed boundaries in different ways, not without consequence, of course. Tough, but important lesson, for Miss Nicoll to learn early in her career. I work in education law now in MO which has a statute prohibiting students and their current teachers from connecting on social media. I handle enough cases of teacher on student sexual harassment to feel this statute is in place for a very good reason!
Bozzy85 (1)
I was just so glad that in the end, her actions appeared to change and weren't validated. I had a fear midway through the book that after Miss Nicholl justifiably horrified by student/teacher affair, she was going to be looked at as the "gold standard" of a new, inexperienced teacher. I was glad that was not the case. I found the young teacher fascinating (even thought she was also infuriating) - I think many times we believe that brand new teachers have somehow been completely equipped to deal with the social constructs of working in a high school and - while many are - it was interesting to see a new teacher struggle with it.
lbloodworth (7)
I also found the young teacher fascinating, but that's partly because I see myself in her since I am a third year English teacher myself. While I sympathize with her struggles ( and was SO frustrated with her inability to realize that students and teachers should not interact over social media), I was ultimately disappointed by her response to Cally's essay. I think it's supposed to signal to us (the reader) that what Molly did was now the adult approach--don't get too involved. But I'm not sure that's best in reality. The fact that she decided to stick strictly to academics when a student is clearly reaching out for something more is something I can't understand. But perhaps that's because I identify too closely.
SaraHarmon (1)
Molly's feedback to Cally's story also broke my heart. I think because it was Cally's one and only cry for help, or daring to open up to someone else, before she disappeared into a world post-high school where she was just someone else's shadow. I ended the book wanting more redemption or hope for the characters, especially Cally. Maybe she will find some forgiveness/resolution for herself and good will come out of it.
HayleyStenger (13)
I am a former jr. high school teacher and completely agree that her actions were inappropriate. I never have associated with any student over social media despite requests. I quickly learned how to hide accounts. I do feel that Cally was reaching out and there was a better way, yet also professional way she could have written her back.
MadesonSebastian (1)
I read this and really, really did not like it. It felt like the author was trying way too hard to come off as knowledgeable in the lives of teens. I did not like any of the characters. None. This was really hard for me to finish but I pushed through it because I didn't want to waste the money. I would not recommend it.
ShelbySmith (4)
I agree; something about the author's tone put a bad taste in my mouth as well. I hope you have better luck with future selections!
HayleyStenger (13)
I also agree, I felt the characters who had little responsibility ended up with happy endings and the ones who were more responsible ended up with sadder consequences. Although I understand this was a story, I find it unrealistic. I also felt that none of the characters were redeemable after the initial trauma that occurred at the beginning of the story. There was just no way anyone could make up for this.
ShelbySmith (4)
I just finished this book and, while I found the plot interesting and captivating of my attention, I had trouble shaking the feeling that I wasn't really enjoying the book. Now that it's done, I still don't know what bugged me about it but I feel like it may have just been the author's voice (this might come across as rude, which is definitely not my intention). Like so many other people, I was frustrated over and over again by Molly's behavior. I also wish there was more closure in Ryan's story, although I get that none of the characters truly had closure. I enjoyed that the book felt like a brief glimpse into the characters' lives; we only got to see a small snippet of their thoughts before moving on to the next. Overall, I'd give this book a 3/5 stars.