Size Doesn’t Matter (130): The Most Dangerous Place on Earth; See You in the Cosmos; Flipped

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (130): The Most Dangerous Place on Earth; See You in the Cosmos; FlippedThe Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 10 hrs, 56 mins
Published by Random House Audio on January 10, 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-stars

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.

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth is the awkward, more uncomfortable cousin of DC Trip, which I read last month. Both books lie somewhere between adult and young adult, centering on a young, idealistic teacher, but also telling the stories of many of her students. The Most Dangerous Place on Earth basically runs with the premise that kids are assholes, and that middle and high school are fucked up and scary.

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth opens with cyber bullying leading to the suicide of a bright, neuro-atypical child, and that very much sets the tone for this novel. Aside from the teacher Molly Nicoll, each character has one third person POV chapter; Molly has several chapters running through the story. It feels more like a collection of connected short stories than a cohesive novel most of the time.

In these different teen POVs, Johnson highlights many of the dangers facing teens. Cyberbullying, teacher-student relationships, drugs, drinking, drunk driving, cheating, cyberbullying, suicide are main subjects. One of the chapters even describes how a popular student ends up working in gay porn. Molly’s POV meanwhile shows how optimistic teachers are taught by the system not to get too involved or to truly care for their students. Basically, nothing good happens ever. There are more horrors in this life than in a Lifetime movie.

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth isn’t really a Christina book, but the audiobook was fun, and there was certainly enough shit going down to keep my attention as I did chores and drove around.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (130): The Most Dangerous Place on Earth; See You in the Cosmos; FlippedSee You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
Narrator: Kivlighan de Montebello, Brittany Pressley, Graham Halstead, Michael Crouch, Jason Culp
Length: 6 hrs, 10 mins
Published by Listening Library on February 28, 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
four-stars

A space-obsessed boy and his dog, Carl Sagan, take a journey toward family, love, hope, and awe in this funny and moving novel for fans of Counting by 7s and Walk Two Moons.

11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan—named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he’ll uncover—from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.

See You in the Cosmos was pushed on me at ALA MW by an eager and enthusiastic publicist. To be honest, I wasn’t that excited about it, because middle grade. And this didn’t look like one that would have a ship. However, that publicist did me a solid, because this book is a truly fantastic debut.

The audiobook of See You in the Cosmos is magnificent. There’s a full cast, as well as some background sounds. It’s like listening to a play. Random House actually hired a kid to play Alex Petrovski, and he does an amazing job. I can rely on Random House to do a great job with their audiobooks, but See You in the Cosmos stands out.

Alex Petrovski has an amazing voice. He’s intelligent and has this incredibly positive outlook on life, despite the fact that he’s dealing with some tough circumstances. Alex embraces those around him, and he never holds their flaws against them. He’s a little baby cinnamon roll that you just want to protect. I didn’t really bond with the other characters so well, but Alex is a delight.

If you’re thinking about reading this one, I highly recommend this stellar audiobook.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Size Doesn’t Matter (130): The Most Dangerous Place on Earth; See You in the Cosmos; FlippedFlipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
Narrator: Ryan Gesell, Tara Sands
Length: 7 hours, 1 min
Published by Listening Library on January 10, 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-stars

This special audiobook of the classic he-said-she-said romantic comedy includes essays written and read by Wendelin Van Draanen.

The first time she saw him, she flipped. The first time he saw her, he ran. That was the second grade, but not much has changed by the seventh. Juli says: "My Bryce. Still walking around with my first kiss." He says: "It's been six years of strategic avoidance and social discomfort." But in the eighth grade everything gets turned upside down: just as Bryce is thinking that there's maybe more to Juli than meets the eye, she's thinking that he's not quite all he seemed.
Bonus content includes: Wendelin Van Draanen on her sources of inspiration, the making of the movie of FLIPPED, and why she'll never write a sequel. Narrators Ryan Gesell and Tara Sands read a selection of the amazing fan mail Wendelin has received.

Flipped actually came out when I was a teen, back when the only YA I read was Ann Brashares and Meg Cabot. I was not aware of its existence. Basically, Flipped is old, and as you might expect, it’s a bit dated.

The audiobook performance in this new audiobook is excellent. Gesell and Sands do a really great job, and the production’s great. I got really into the back and forth. It’s fun to see the same moments from the lenses of both Juli and Bryce. I’m not sure how much I would have liked the writing in print, but it worked on audiobook.

Flipped could have been a super cute hate to love romance. When Bryce’s family moves in next door to Juli’s, she’s sure this boy with the beautiful eyes who’s just her age was sent for her. She immediately developed a huge crush on him, and she pursued him with abandon. Bryce can’t stand her, freaked out by her obvious devotion in an age when that shit is embarrassing. A lot of the book takes place in a more middle grade age range, and I think the book will have a bit more appeal for younger readers.

However, Flipped ends right when the romance is actually about to be a thing. The audiobook was just suddenly over and there were only bonus materials and I was like EXCUSE ME WUT. No wonder I didn’t read YA in high school if it was just going to end before the ship got together. Jesus. There’s also some awkward intellectual disability rep, or at least it was mega awkward on the audiobook.

As a listening experience, Flipped was fun. Had I not been listening to the audiobook, I suspect this would have been a 2 or 2.5 rating at best, but I did like listening to it.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

One response to “Size Doesn’t Matter (130): The Most Dangerous Place on Earth; See You in the Cosmos; Flipped”

  1. The Most Dangerous Place on Earth sounds like a Megan Abbott book (which I love her) and I also love Cassandra Campbell so I may be giving this one a shot.

    I LOVE full cast audios… Cosmos is definitely going on my TBR. Stellar audiobook. lol I see what you did there.
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Stacking the Shelves (166)My Profile

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