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Killing Mr. Griffin

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3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  5,978 ratings  ·  423 reviews
They only meant to scare him.

Mr. Griffin is the strictest teacher at Del Norte High, with a penchant for endless projects and humiliating his students. Even straight-A student Susan can't believe how mean he is to the charismatic Mark Kinney. So when her crush asks Susan to help a group of students teach a lesson of their own, she goes along. After all, it's a harmless pr
...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published 1978)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Erin (*is in a reviewing slump*)
This short, older YA book packed quite a wallop of emotion. Although I am already familiar with Duncan's talented writing, I was still surprised how sad and tragic this book came across. It gives an interesting perspective for that special teacher who pushes kids too hard and doesn't listen to excuses.

Throw in the fascinating mixture of teens - a young, shy girl who is a loner and falls too easily as prey into the grips of others because she's that desperate for attention; a cute girl who has l
...more
Eileen Lepetit
Do you have any friends named Betsey? How about Lana – or even Sue? I’m guessing not. When your little brother is a complete moron, do you suggest that he “hush” – or do you perhaps say something stronger? My money is on stronger.

The story behind Killing Mr. Griffin sounds pretty cool: students hate strict teacher, decide to teach strict teacher a lesson – oops! – something goes seriously wrong. As a reasonably strict teacher myself, I think it’s just common sense to read these kinds of books.
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Jenny
I was thinking about reading this book with my classes during the upcoming six weeks. After reading it, I'm surprised that my school purchased a class set of it. Perhaps, eighth graders could handle it -- but, I know my little sixth graders could not. Multiple instances of cursing, the use of illicit substances and the fact that the entire book is about covering up a murder is a bit much. I'd also feel a knife going into my chest with every Hamlet reference that went completely over my students' ...more
Jess
Man, this book. About halfway through, I tried to piece together the message of this book, and all I could decide on was: don't follow sociopaths that think it's neat to set cats on fire; shit will only escalate from there.

Our cast of characters:

Sue - our wallflower heroine, dull as dirt and socially isolated to an unrealistic degree. Remember that episode of Buffy, when Clea Duval turned invisible because her classmates ignored her? That's Sue without any of Clea's charm.

David - class president
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PurplyCookie
The story is about five high school students who plan to scare their English teacher by kidnapping him, to get even for his strict grading. It all goes wrong when the teacher dies of heart failure while they have him tied up. The plot was very well crafted, especially the details of how their cover-up unravels. It's skillfully written to maintain suspense through the length of the book but it still lags in some parts for me. The difficult characterization of the victim is handled perfectly; you ...more
bjneary
What a great little suspense book for the reluctant reader. It is only 222 pages and really is a page turner. Students have a nasty teacher (well they think he is) and one day after they all get bad grades, someone makes the chance remark, "That Griffin guy is the kind you'd like to kill." The leader of the pack, Mark, gets everyone to believe they will just kidnap him, scare him, and Mr Griffin will become a NICE teacher when he sees what it is like ont he receiving end. Simple, right- NOT---as ...more
Trey D
The book I read was a little easier and the reason I chose it was because intricate plots and twisting action throughout most books can lose me and have me just staring at the page. This book had great character descriptions and during the story their descriptions suited them well as they story progressed. The main action was during the middle of the book and the plot was easily understood, (especially for a terrible reader), but despite its clarity and its extricating plot the author should’ve ...more
Danielle
Oct 25, 2009 Danielle rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of suspense books, all ages
When I found this old thing sitting quietly on the top shelf of the Young Adult section in Borders, next to a couple more Lois Duncan books, I was hesitant. It seemed like one of those generic little suspense books for teens--like one of those wannabe Twilight fantasy books that have overly cheesy premises and even cheesier dialogue. But something about this book made me want to buy all 6 dollars and 99 cents of its glory. Was it the cover? Maybe. Was it the vague description on the back? Could ...more
Beth
As a future high school English teacher I found this book a little disturbing. Five high school students who are tired of being jerked around by their English teacher, Mr. Griffin, plan to kidnap him. Their plan is to kidnap and humiliate the teacher. The participants include the jock, the cheerleader, the class president, the bad boy, and the mousey nerd. Their plan seems to go off as planned, except one little thing: Mr. Griffin is dead! The kids weren't aware that Mr. Griffin had a heart cond ...more
Andres Guevara
This book is called "Killing Mr. Griffin" by Lois Duncan.
The book is about this teenage boy called Mark Kinney. He hates his English teacher. His name is Mr. Griffin. Mr. Griffin is one of those teachers that you hat. He always makes pop quizez, gives a lot of homework and never smiles in class. Every of his students hate him. In purpose, he also gives bad grades to well written papers. So Mark creates a plan of kidnapping Mr. Giffin. He wants Mr. Griffin to suffer. He wants him to have a taste
...more
Shally Clark
What can happen when the only thing a group of high schoolers have in common is hating their English teacher? A cheerleader, class president, jock, a bad boy and a nerd get together to plot how to sabotage their teacher who gives them hard assignments and hands out bad grades. After kidnapping their teacher, the situation gets out of hand when they did not realize their teacher had a heart condition and ends up dying because of tier actions. Now the high schoolers are faced with a serious crime ...more
Amy Y.
The book Killing Mr. Griffin, is about this group of teenagers plotting revenge on their English Literature teacher named Brian Griffin. Mr. Griffin's skills of grading papers triggers the enraged emotions with most of his students. Then, they decided to put a end to this. They wanted to pull a prank on Mr. Griffin is that he could get the taste of his own medicine. However, when the prank had been "pulled" too far...It was already too late. They killed Mr. Griffin! Now, the group of teenagers m ...more
Ashley
I'm really not sure what to make of this book. I don't know whether I liked it or not, whether I'd describe it as "good" or not, but wow. That was intense. I predicted things that were going to happen, and I always like it when I can predict things in books because I always feel smart or special or something, but this time was different. (view spoiler) ...more
Purple
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scott Volz
Five teens decide to kidnap their overdemanding, taskmaster English teacher so that he gets a taste of the anger he inspires in his students (who are unappreciative of the fact that Griffin, in his own rough way, really just wants them to be prepared for college). But the plan goes awry. Griffin, who suffers from a heart condition, has a heart attack and dies. Relying on the guidance of Mark, the mastermind of the original scheme, the group decides that they're in too deep for honesty. Instead, ...more
Dalton
This was an all around good book. I liked the story and I could connect to some of the characters. It starts out with five kids planning to kidnap their strict English teacher. They kidnap him in the school parking lot, then drive him to a remote place in the Sandia Mountains. There they try to make him beg for freedom, but he refuses, so they leave him there for a few hours. When two of the kids go back, they find Mr. Griffin dead. They tell the rest of the gang, and create a plan to get rid of ...more
Becca
This is a quick YA suspense read, with a nice emotional punch. Duncan develops her characters well, and left me wanting to know more about what happened to them. I was struck by the final scene in the book and the elegant way she conveys the devastation of story's events on the main character without overdramatzing or spelling it out.

I read on Amazon that Lois Duncan is in the process of updating her books to be set in the present day, for paperback re-release. Seems like an interesting trend i
...more
Aaron Mcconahay
The genre of this book is a thriller. This story is about a teacher that hates his students and tries to purposely fail them on a regular bases. Then the students get fed up with it and do something about it. Next a group of his from his class gather together and try to scare him, but they didn't scare them. Something goes wrong. The audience is people who hate there teacher.
In my opinion I thought it was a good book. This is because it keep me guessing, the characters felt real to me, and there
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jzhunagev
Aug 03, 2012 jzhunagev rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young thrill seekers
Recommended to jzhunagev by: The "Voice"
Not bad for my first Lois Duncan. However, I think the ending and the reason behind why a certain character acted the way he did is a tad too rushed for my taste. The author's writing is simple and characters are fleshed out splendidly.
Kris
3 STARS

"Mr. Griffin is the strictest teacher at Del Norte High, with a penchant for endless projects and humiliating his students. Even straight-A student Susan can't believe how mean he is to the charismatic Mark Kinney. So when her crush asks Susan to help a group of students teach a lesson of their own, she goes along. After all, it's a harmless prank, right?

But things don't go according to plan. When one "accident" leads to another, people begin to die. Susan and her friends must face the aw
...more
Josh
I read the book Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan, the book was about a small group of high schoolers that have an English teacher that is tougher then trigonometry. The teacher Mr. Griffin pushes the teens to the edge until they can’t take it anymore. I believe that Duncan writes this story to express past feelings about a teacher or superior that was similar to Mr. Griffin. Duncan was trying to write to a younger audience that is in school; with teachers that seem impossible to impress. The a ...more
Sophie
For the most part, I really enjoyed this book. I like how the author shows us Mr. Griffin from the kids' point of view, so we understand why they dislike him so. And I like how she then shifts to show us Mr. Griffin's world, so we understand what motivates him, and realize how wrong the kids are about him. I liked the build-up to the event and then how the author shows us how different the kidnapping is than what the gang thought it would be, and how the cover-up slowly unravels around them. Wha ...more
Garrett Zecker
Killing Mr. Griffin was written in the last great era of juvenile literature prior to the one that is sweeping our youth today. I believe this era to have existed somewhere in the areas of 1975-85, when authors like Duncan, Andrews, and Cormier led the YA vanguard toward today's resurgence. There seemed to be a lull somewhere in the 85-95 time period in my opinion, where books seemed dumbed down and a little more tailored to serial stories and writer-based genre work (but in all fairness, Andrew ...more
Becky
I'm sure this book must have been quite the blood-chiller in its day, and if I'd read it as a teenager it probably would have occupied my darker daydreams for a while. But reading it as an adult, in 2008, I found it silly and nearly impossible to believe.

First of all, if the medicine is so important, why on earth doesn't Griffin speak up, appeal to the kids not to touch it? Why doesn't he just tell them what its for, in the hope of scaring some sense into them?

Because then there wouldn't have
...more
stars
There are some books that are banned that I think, "There really isn't anything [that I can see] that would make me want this book banned..or to even see why it would bother people." This is an exception. I can see why this one would be banned. I know during my school years I got angry at certain teachers...what kid hasn't? But there ARE people who would go to extremes, and I think that is why this book would be banned. It's creepy to think that this could happen, and that is where most of the t ...more
Writingmachine
I was overall disappointed with this book. Back in middle school my reading class was on a Lois Duncan fix ever since we read one of her other novels They Never Came Home, which I enjoyed very much. I've know about this novel since middle school, but only read it recently as an assignment in my college literature class.

They story is about five high school students, who plan to kidnap their very strict English teacher for a prank and unintentionally kill him when he is unable to take his angina
...more
Jenna
This was another "wonderful" book I was stuck reading in English class. Ugh.... I could just say "no comment" and be done ,but I feel like I have to explain why I rated this so low. Here are some of the reasons why I didnt like this book.
1. The main climax is given away in the title
2. The main character ,Sue, is pitiful and is extremely weak-willed. Even though she is a good, smart girl she easily turns to bad just because a boy she likes asks her to. :0....What? That she makes such a bad deci
...more
Cornmaven
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kari
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pk Devan
​ Mr Griffin is a drag to all the students at Del Notre High! They think he finds joy in humiliating them and gives out way to much work. Susan a straight A student is asked to play a prank on Mr Griffin with a bunch of other kids. The story is told by a narrator. Susan and the rest of the high school class hate their English teacher Mr. Griffin who is way to strict and expects way to much out of them. One day a kid named Mark comes up with a plan to play a prank on Mr. Griffin to teach him a le ...more
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Lois Duncan (born Lois Duncan Steinmetz, April 28, 1934) is an American writer and novelist, known primarily for her books for children and young adults, in particular (and some times controversially considering her young readership) crime thrillers. Duncan's parents were the noted magazine photographers Lois Steinmetz and Joseph Janney Steinmetz. She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but gr ...more
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“It's only by facing things that you ever put them behind you.
-Mrs. McConnell to Susan”
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“The best things in life are simple. Simple things work. They don't foul up. It's the complicated things that get twisted around on you.” 0 likes
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