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Killing Mr. Griffin

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  9,153 ratings  ·  779 reviews
They only planned to scare their English teacher.

They never actually intended to kill Mr. Griffin.

But sometimes even the best-laid plans go wrong.
Paperback, 223 pages
Published August 1st 1990 by Laurel Leaf (first published 1978)
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GuessAgain Yes, she did. Mr. Griffin was not David's father; they just both had (I believe) Stanford class rings.

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Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,153 ratings  ·  779 reviews

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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

2.5 Stars

This is one of those times where I really wish Goodreads had half stars, because this was a classic case of a perfectly average book. Killing Mr. Griffin went on my TBR simply for the fact that when I Googled “banned books” it was one of the first I hadn’t already read (and that I might want to) that popped up. I have to admit, if I were a teacher and saw a kid reading a title like this, I might want to disappear all the copies fro
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
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
Eileen Lepetit
May 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
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.
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really cool nice superb awesome twist.
Jun 18, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, audiobook
This was kind of crazy and I would have liked it to be longer. It starts with a horrible idea by some high school kids to scare their teacher because they don't like how harshly he grades and how strict he is. Things of course go wrong and suddenly they're covering up a murder. There are five main characters, although Susie, Dave, and Mark dominate the story. I would have liked more time for Dave and Susie to maybe develop a relationship and Mark has so much going on that isn't addressed. The st ...more
Mar 26, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Feb 23, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Oct 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 be. But ...more
Jan 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 23, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan

From The Book:
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 prank, right? But things don't go according to pla
May 25, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am so sorry Lois Duncan. I love Ms. Duncan's books..just not this one.

I really tried but I just found this so distasteful. It was nothing like her other books. It is one that I sort of wish I had not read.

First off..the characters. I could not stand them. I did like Mr. Griffin and thought what the kids did to him was so awful I just could not get int o the story. It was ghastly.

It is odd because 'I know what you did last summer" also has a plot where a grou
Andres Guevara
May 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Trey D
Nov 10, 2009 added it
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
Jun 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Lois Duncan was a fixture in my library hauls as a teenager. Thrillers, horror, supernatural versions of both. It was awesome. I was very sad to hear that she had passed away and so I have a mission to revisit as many of her books as I can get hold of. Killing Mr. Griffin was one of the first books that came to mind so here we begin.

Reading this as a teenager is quite a different experience reading it as an adult. That goes without saying but oh man. There are points of this where I
Eli Salazar
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read "Killing Mr. Griffin" by Lois Duncan. I thought the book was good. It was laid out nicely, but it took too long to get rolling. A great majority of the book was them planning and no real action happening until the last few chapters of the book. They took at least two chapters just planning how they were going to kidnap Mr. Griffin. Once it got to about the last four chapters of the book, I was interested and wanted to keep reading, but by that time, it's to late. Most readers would have g ...more
Nov 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
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
Mar 06, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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
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
Shally Clark
Jul 20, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: june-july-2010
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
Apr 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
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
Apr 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young thrill seekers
Recommended to Apokripos 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.
Pickle Farmer
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read
Classic Lois Duncan; grim, dark, ambiguous characters.
Thomas Schneider
Apr 26, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Zephren Milentz
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Personal Response:
Killing Mr. Griffin was a very good book. At first I thought it was going to be boring, but I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong. While reading the beginning of the book, I thought the characters were going to be boring; but towards the end of the novel, I started to enjoy interactions between the characters. This book was enjoyable, and I will read more books by the same author in the future.

Plot Summary:
Susan McConnell is a normal girl who gets stuck in a horrible s/>Killing
Nov 16, 2017 added it
This book is a very “goodread” and I recommend it to older audiences (14+) for some parts like how Mr. Griffin dies of starvation and how Mark, Betsy, David, and Jeff kidnap Griffin and starve him and deny him medication while he is tied up.
Overall, this book is enjoyable and has a very good storyline. It has all these elements to it that really pull a reader in: cliffhangers, exciting storyline, great use of slowly revealing details. Some chapters end with a cliffhanger and that makes it excit
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Lois Duncan (born Lois Duncan Steinmetz) was 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 grew up in Saraso ...more
“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.” 7 likes
“It's only by facing things that you ever put them behind you.
-Mrs. McConnell to Susan”
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