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For Your Own Good

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Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the esteemed Belmont Academy, home to the best and brightest.

He says his wife couldn't be more proud—though no one has seen her in a while.

Teddy really can’t be bothered with the death of a school parent that’s looking more and more like murder or the student digging a little too deep into Teddy’s personal life. His main focus is on pushing these kids to their full academic potential.

All he wants is for his colleagues—and the endlessly meddlesome parents—to stay out of his way.

It's really too bad that sometimes excellence can come at such a high cost.

USA Today bestselling author Samantha Downing is back with her latest sneaky thriller set at a prestigious private school—complete with interfering parents, overeager students, and one teacher who just wants to teach them all a lesson…

373 pages, Hardcover

First published July 20, 2021

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About the author

Samantha Downing

5 books4,858 followers
Samantha Downing is the author of the bestselling My Lovely Wife, nominated for the Edgar, ITW, Macavity awards in the US, the CWA award in the UK, and the winner of the Prix des Lectrices award in France.

Her latest novel, For Your Own Good, was released on July 20, 2021 and was an instant USA Today bestseller.

A Twisted Love Story is her fourth novel and will be released on July 18, 2023.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,027 reviews
Profile Image for Samantha Downing.
Author 5 books4,858 followers
November 21, 2020
Hi, I'm the author of this book! For Your Own Good has some of my favorite characters I've ever written, and I can't wait to hear what you think of Teddy...

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Profile Image for Kat.
263 reviews79.5k followers
November 12, 2021
a— 🤢 adults—🤢 adults who dr— 🤢 adults who drink milk—🤢
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,195 reviews40.6k followers
April 18, 2023
OMG! Whoa! Great news my friends! Greg Berlanti and Robert Downey Jr. teamed up for the adaptation this mind blowing book into HBO Max series! 🥳🎉🥂

Thank you so much dear Samantha Downing! You did it again! You fried my last healthy brain cells standing! This is outstandingly smart, extremely high tension, surprisingly twisty! This engrossing, thrilling journey reflects the author’s dark, sarcastic and very smart sense of humor guarantees you sit on the edge of your seat, enjoy your wild ride!

What the hell is happening at one of the most reputable schools of the city? There is a mad scientist lurking around the Belmont Academy to find strangest ways to threaten the well being of teachers, students and poor dedicated parents!

Imagine Walter White chose to stay at school, instead of teaming up with Jess to produce pure meth at the trailer and turning into Heisenberg.

Teddy Crutcher is evil soul twin Walter White, chose English as a major instead of chemistry (he chooses breeding poisonous plants in his backyard as a hobby, just like mixing them in his lovely colleagues’ drinks and seeing the deadly results as cracking up his villain laughter), has a big purpose to punish the privileged, spoiled students who take everything they want without showing enough effort as most of the students come from poverty, fighting tooth and nail
to get a proper college degree just like he was.
You don’t want to be on his sh*t list if you want to get accepted by the colleges you’d dreamt of or have a less problematic high school experience because he can turn your life into hell!

Dear Teddy with bleeding cuticles, unhealthy dairy consumption habit, taking tours around the Belmont Academy, giving fake smiles to his colleagues who were the highly achieved old students and even though he’s been awarded as the teacher of the year, he will be always outsider of this secluded environment.

After mysteriously being dumbed by his wife he’s been married for 13 years, his only focus is helping his students to reach their full academic potential. That’s for their OWN GOOD!

Of course performing his chemical tests on his colleagues seems like his other hobby which gets out of control and results with one of the parents’ death. Oops! Now he has to correct his mistake by poisoning his real target to save the wrongly convicted person.

More lives at stake and no need to worry there’s enough deadly plants to feed his enemies! But his plans can be derailed by his old student Fallon who obsessively blames on him about everything going definitely so wrong with her life! And dear Zach who is the latest victim at his sh*t list has to find his way to get out of this uncontrollable madness!

Let the chemical games begin! Don’t worry about Teddy! He’s never gonna be in danger. He is the one who is danger!

This is one of the best entertaining, smart, riveting, addictive, unputdownable, crazy thing I’ve ever read this year! I loved every second of it! All of the characters seriously suffer from warped moral compass. They’re needy, greedy, self centered and dealing with their insecurities in strange ways which made them more unique,one of a kind, irritating!

The conclusion was deliciously smart and fair. My neighbors can still hear my villanelle laughs!
As always I’m giving my five blazing, clever, dazzling, epic, engaging and enjoyable stars!

As a big fan of the author I can honestly say she never disappoints me with her fantastic works!

Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sharing this digital reviewer copy I have been waiting for in exchange my honest opinions.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
August 12, 2021
No one told him that right and wrong aren’t always what they appear to be. He had to learn that for himself. He also had to learn that lying isn’t an option; it’s a necessity.

This book pulled me out of a reading slump that lasted for months so I'm obviously going to be feeling warm and fuzzy about it. For Your Own Good was such an easy comfort-read for me.

Because of the multiple third person perspectives, the reader is in on most of the shenanigans, meaning that there aren't any real twists or a whole lot to discover. Still, though, I found following all the characters, watching them skirt closer to the answers, almost but not quite figure it out, walk straight into a deathtrap... quite exciting. Sometimes knowing stuff the characters don't can be a very compelling narrative technique-- especially when you're screaming "don't go in there!" in your head.
"Entitlement has a particular stench. Pungent, bitter. Almost brutal."

For Your Own Good is set in Belmont Academy, an elite private school where rich parents buy their children opportunities, directly and indirectly. One teacher is Teddy Crutcher and he has a bit of an axe to grind. See, Teddy never got the same opportunities these spoiled entitled brats did and he sees it as his job to impart some real life lessons.

However, things get a little out of his control and mistakes lead to disasters lead to casualties. But this book isn't just about Teddy. There is a complex web of characters and relationships here, motives and ambitions all overlapping and warring with each other. Seems that no one is entirely blameless and everyone has a few secrets they're hiding. What fun!

I've not read Downing's other stuff but perhaps I will now.
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,109 reviews2,792 followers
December 8, 2021
For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing

I've read all three of Samantha Downing's full length novels and enjoyed them all. This just might be my favorite of the three. Downing can write about bad things happening, all the way up to murder, in such a deliciously funny way. 

This year the Teacher of the Year award at Belmont Academy, home of the wealthiest, smartest, cream of the crop, has gone to Teddy Crutcher. Teddy is a dedicated teacher who will do anything for his students, even if it's the last thing his students or anyone else would want him to do. It's all for their own good, even if it hurts when he puts someone in their place. Occasionally he makes a mistake, a misjudgment, and then he needs to correct course but his heart is in the right place and even if harm is done, it's all for the greater good. 

Yes, a parent died, but life must go on. Too bad the death affects his favorite student in more than one very serious way. Adjustments can be made and then the school will be back to setting Belmont's students on the right path. But one thing leads to another and more adjustments need to be made. Naysayers and doubters can be dealt with, it's all part reaching for excellence. Teddy isn't Teacher of the Year for nothing!

Publication: July 20th 2021

Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley for this ARC.
Profile Image for Yun.
513 reviews19.8k followers
December 8, 2021
If the world wasn't filled with so many incompetent people, Teddy would have so much more time to concentrate on the important things. Like teaching.
Teddy Crutcher has just been awarded Teacher of the Year, and it is well-deserved. He always challenges his students to be the best they can be, even if he has to resort to unconventional methods. After all, isn't that why these students pay so much money to go to Belmont Academy?

Right off the bat, this felt like a compulsive read. It was easy to get sucked into the story and to keep turning the pages. With its short chapters, I felt like I could always read just a few more pages, and the outrageous happenings kept me constantly guessing and surprised.

However, this is definitely a book that prioritizes its shock factor above everything else. In particular, the characters are very thinly-sketched, with everyone being some form of crazy, but that is their only real personality trait. As a result, they don't feel fully formed, and I had trouble caring about them. Their crazy actions started to feel random, as if you could swap them between characters and still have the story make the same amount of sense.

Reading this genre can sometimes feel like you're witnessing a race in which books compete to outdo one another in the sheer insanity of their characters and happenings. And because we've seen it all by this point, books have to be ever more outrageous to shock us. And this book definitely deserves to be at the top of that pile.

It's a good one to pick up if you're in the mood for a diversion, and I certainly had fun with it. But with its shallow characterizations and fairly superficial storylines, everything is already starting to blur together only hours after finishing it.
Profile Image for Jayme.
1,139 reviews1,876 followers
August 24, 2021
A+ Samantha Downing!
You are the Valedictorian!

It was SO MUCH FUN to get inside the head of your latest diabolical character, Teddy Crutcher-
TEACHER OF THE YEAR” at the prestigious private school, the Belmont Academy!

He feels the award is long overdue but finally, he is receiving the attention that he so rightfully deserves!

He is truly worthy of the award...he would DO ANYTHING for his students.
That is, the ones he likes.

If you are not the “teacher’s pet” however, he might just have to teach you a lesson.

And, he won’t accept bribes from your “well meaning” parents, either.

At the end of the day, he will watch the news and celebrate his achievements with a nice cold glass of MILK.

I can just picture his “milk mustache” now. 🙄

But, even Teddy can make a FEW mistakes.

And, because there are SO MANY incompetent people in the World, he has to be the one to fix things.

ENTERTAINING from COVER TO COVER, this book is filled with CRAZY surprises and PLENTY of casualties, but I am going to leave this review VAGUE, so that YOU can be just as shocked as I was!

Your assignment? GET a copy of it today!


Thank You to Samantha Downing, and Elisha at Berkley, for inviting me to read an early copy! As you can see, this book went straight to the top of my 📚and it was my pleasure to provide a candid review!
Profile Image for Dorie  - Cats&Books :).
991 reviews2,762 followers
April 23, 2022
Do you love mysteries but also WANT TO HAVE SOME FUN?????

Let me point you, nudge you, ENCOURAGE YOU to read Samantha Downing’s new novel ‘For Your Own Good”.

There is a large cast of characters but I assure you they are all so incredibly sometimes wickedly different and crazy that you won’t mix them up. But could ANY OF THEM??? SOME OF THEM??? murder a teacher ? murder a parent?

The novel is told from several POV’s, teachers, students, ex students of Belmont Academy:

Teddy Crutcher is the resident nerdy, fastidious HONORS English teacher whom everyone really dislikes, staff and students alike. He makes it almost impossible to score an A in his class, even with parents promising him “perks” to ensure their child gets an A.

But what’s this??? He has just won TEACHER OF THE YEAR !!! Teddy has spent his career yearning for this award. He is disappointed at the lack of extra attention, extra COMPENSATION the school has given him for all of his hard work. But he loves the plaque that he has just received. In fact his walls are bare EXCEPT for that plaque. He should keep close watch on his favorite things!!

A small party is being planned for Sonia, today is her ten year anniversary of teaching at Belmont. She is well liked by staff and students, well with one exception. She is having a great time later at the party when a parent, Ingrid, begins to feel ill and then collapses! 911 is called, but it’s already too late Ingrid has died! Rumors fly, was she sick, could she have been poisoned? The police aren’t much help!

No one can believe that a murder has been committed at Belmont Academy, after all only the best of the best get to go to school here.

The parents here are pushy, entitled, self righteous and sometimes downright mean. Most are highly successful and rich and expect their child to always get A’s and to start thinking of which Ivy League school they want to attend in elementary school. They will do ANYTHING to ensure they receive straight A’s, nothing else is acceptable.

Talk about pressure. Even though these kids are intelligent, no one is perfect all the time. I felt sorry for these kids, WHAT HAPPENED TO FUN???

Something huge is GOING ON AT BELMONT!! It’s on TV, in the newspaper, online at #HomicideHigh, it’s everywhere and that’s not good!

Friends I would love to tell you this story but that would ruin all the fun and surprises that await you. This is a story unlike any other that you have read or heard about. There is amazing writing that grabbed me from the first few pages and never let go. Just when you think you know where this story is going, NO WAY, something else happens and you have to look the other way, and at other characters -- keep alert, remember all characters and take notes if you have to, after all, “IT’S FOR YOU OWN GOOD” !!

This was a buddy read with Jayme and we both loved it!

I had so much fun with this novel and couldn’t help all the laughing, which is KIND OF STRANGE since I was reading a murder mystery !!

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss
Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
401 reviews3,489 followers
January 28, 2023
Teddy Crutcher is Teacher of the Year at Belmont Academy, an elite prep school. He believes that it is his mission to mold and shape his young students into better people instead of the annoying, smug, entitled pupils that they are. But these "lessons" don't earn Teddy friends. In fact, a few people have their sights set on Teddy. Who will win, Teddy or the students?

Coming soon to HBO Max, For Your Own Good was a delightful thriller that was written to be a page-turner. This book had many different twists, and Downing definitely did not play it safe. This book did not follow the traditional thriller plotline so it was very unique. Additionally, I really admired the craftsmanship of the writing, the complexity that must have been involved in mapping out how it would ultimately unfold and not just having a twist for the sake of having a twist, but one that made sense and was also shocking. Also, this book had good character development: the characters weren't all good or all bad, they were human.

Overall, if you love a mystery/thriller, pick this book up! It is chock full of surprises and is a breeze to read.

*Thank you, NetGalley, for a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.

2023 Reading Schedule
Jan Alice in Wonderland
Feb Notes from a Small Island
Mar Cloud Atlas
Apr On the Road
May The Color Purple
Jun Bleak House
Jul Bridget Jones’s Diary
Aug Anna Karenina
Sep The Secret History
Oct Brave New World
Nov A Confederacy of Dunces
Dec The Count of Monte Cristo

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Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
792 reviews12.3k followers
August 3, 2021
Deliciously Devious

“Someone has to save the kids. It’s for their own good.”

The teacher of the year at an elite prep school takes pride in teaching, but when a popular student, a fellow teacher, and a parent get in his way, he will stop at NOTHING to teach them lessons for their own good.

A variety of characters offer their perspectives on the events at Belmont Academy, aka #murder high :

Teddy Crutcher: Teacher of the Year whose teaching methods are less than conventional, as he molds events to fit his desire, even if it means crossing the line into dangerous territory. Most of the book centers around Teddy and his very dark mind.

Zach Ward: Star student who finds himself in Crutcher’s crosshairs.

Sonia Benjamin: A teacher who pushes Crutcher’s buttons.

Fallon: Crutcher’s former student who is out for revenge.

Frank: A math teacher struggling with morality.

The characters are fun to hate. Although there are many narrators, some play larger roles than others. It is easy to keep track of who is who, as characters have distinguished voices and vary on the evil scale. Beware that because the events take place at a high school, there is a bit of a YA perspective at times. I wish we had fewer narrators so that we could get deeper into Crutcher’s mind. He is a fascinating character, and I wanted to know more about him.

I had so much fun reading this! Essentially, it’s a large-scale game of cat and mouse. At times, it’s not clear who is out to destroy whom, which is part of the fun. Who will win in the end is constantly up in the air.

I didn’t love the ending, but I loved watching these crazy and nefarious games play out. If you are looking for depth, you aren’t going to get it from this book. What you will get is an entertaining and sinister read filled with dark minds and lots of twists and turns.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.4k followers
August 28, 2021
this book is a trip, let me tell you what.

there are so many characters, so many POVs, and the chapters are short so theres a lot of switching back and forth, it got to the point where i was half way through and wondering what the heck was going on. lol.

i think the interesting thing about this story is the reader is kept aware of everything that is happening as the multiple POVs provide all of the details. so the story becomes less about the mystery and more about if everyone is going to get away with everything. some readers may not like that but, as a teacher, i found it shocking how much i was actually relating to the messed up staff at belmont academy.

this is a super quick and really fun story that any fan of academic thrillers will enjoy.

4 stars
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,536 reviews9,781 followers
April 25, 2023
**4.5-stars rounded up**

Belmont Academy is a posh, private New England high school that attracts the best and the brightest; in both students and teachers alike.

Teddy Crutcher is an English teacher there and proudly, the recent recipient of the Teacher of the Year award.

Admittedly, he's not always a favorite among the students though. It could be because he does push them, it's true. Sometimes they require a little tough love, something certain spoiled brats don't seem to be getting at home.

Students that seem overly arrogant, like everything will be handed to them, may receive a little special treatment from Crutcher. He needs to show them that the world doesn't work that way.

Zach Ward is one of those students. Just the sight of him gets Teddy's blood boiling.

For Zach's part, he can't understand why Mr. Crutcher seems to dislike him so much. Everyone likes him, teachers, students, other adults, everyone. It's truly puzzling.

When Zach needs to perform extra credit to up his grade in Crutcher's class, Teddy makes sure it will be a challenge, not caring how much it interferes with Zach's other commitments.

The tension rises when a fellow teacher asks Teddy to tweak when the assignment will be due. She has deadlines for Zach at the same time and certainly he can't be expected to complete both.

The audacity; Teddy seems to be the only person at this school with any regard for propriety.

Then tragic events bring the once heralded school to its knees. Parents begin removing their kids, donations plummet; only Teddy can bring it around.

For Your Own Good was an absolute blast to read. My first Samantha Downing novel, but definitely not my last.

It was hella twisted, no one was safe. I didn't know where it was going, or what the conclusion would be.

I absolutely love how Downing crafted this. I never felt like I had enough information to put everything together. I wanted to, desperately, but there were so many pieces to the puzzle and I couldn't get any of them to fit together in a way that made sense.

There were a few twists towards the end that just made me giddy, they were so diabolical. The conclusion was perfection!!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I can't wait to dive into Downing's backlist now.
Profile Image for Michael David (on hiatus).
625 reviews1,536 followers
July 20, 2021

Samantha Downing’s latest novel was one of my most anticipated reads this year so far, and I am thrilled to say it did not disappoint!

English teacher Teddy Crutcher has just won the coveted Teacher of the Year award at the private school where he teaches. He feels he should’ve won it a long time ago because he works so hard at pushing his students to be successful. Not everyone appreciates his approach and methodology, but it’s really for their own good.

After the suspicious death of a parent on campus occurs, someone starts looking into Teddy’s life. He’s not alarmed though. He’s too focused on his students tapping into their potential. If only the students, their parents, and his coworkers started treating him like the gift that he is and stayed out of his way.

I’m keeping my synopsis brief as I believe it’s best to go into this one blind. I absolutely LOVED this book. It’s fun, dark, and twisted...with some wicked revelations revealed along the way. Downing has the most fantastic way of gripping the reader and making them flip the pages as fast as possible. There was more than one point where I said to myself as I read this, “Just one more chapter.”

This is a compulsive and addicting book that ramps up the suspense throughout and to the very last page. I honestly didn’t want it to end, and enjoyed every minute as the bodies piled up. I highly recommend this one, which I have no doubt will be another huge success for Downing.

Thank you to Berkley, who provided me with a widget to download an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This will be published on 7/20/21.

Review also posted at: https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com
Profile Image for daph pink ♡ .
929 reviews3,019 followers
February 4, 2022
this one here is a pretty decent thriller and 3 stars is "GOOD".

I had no expectations from this book because I didn't enjoy Samantha's last book "He started it", honestly the major drawback of that book was the same thing that bothered me here as well. So instead of going through what worked for me let's focus on where this book went slightly wrong.

- I as a reader love when author plays with my head and spins the whole thing around and then gives me gut wrenching answers at the end unlike what happened in this book. We knew what's gonna happen and how EVERYTHING will come to an end coz of the narrative. I am not saying that this bothered me because I really enjoyed how this book is written from bad guy's perspective but changing narratives was a problem.

- anticipation factor was missing. personally when I am reading a thriller i want to be THRILLED but we knew who the bad guy is and what are they doing right from the start so that was a major buzzkill.

- all that was left for the readers to introspect the right or wrong and the role of teachers in society and how school shape the new generation. most of the events lacked sense in general like they were just happening for the sake of thrill what's the ultimate motive?

- the authorities were pretty useless people though like on what basis did they arrested Courtney? honestly she was the only character I liked in the book. Zach was good untill something snapped in his brain the very last moment.

- teddy as the main character is quite boring tbh, he is a physcho for sure but some of his actions are like "meh".

this was equal parts fun and equal parts meh.
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,159 reviews36.8k followers
March 7, 2021
Review posted to blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend...

Well, Snap! Samantha Downing Does it AGAIN!

In this Wholly Original, Wildly Wicked, Absolutely Devious Thriller, Ms. Downing delivers a premise that will rock you to your core. .

The BEST Part?: It is like NOTHING you have ever read before.

Masterfully plotted, with brilliant character development, and a truly deceitful, unscrupulous character, “For Your Own Good” is a novel full of cheating, duplicity, deception, and falsehoods.

Oh and Murder. Let’s not forget that!

It’s a novel chock full of Murder too. From that, you can’t run or hide.

When it comes to what takes place at Belmont Academy, what is real and what is not?

Who can you trust to have your best interests at heart, if not those in charge at an Institution of Higher Learning? One word of advice, if I may, however? Be alert. Be very alert.

Oh, and one more: If you’re reading this, go into it blind. Your enjoyment of it will grow exponentially.

A tad sick and seriously demented “For Your Own Good” may just be my favorite of Samantha Downing’s novels to date (even though I LOVED “My Lovely Wife” and believe I described it as “A Brand of Crazy All its Own”). Why do you ask? Because the premise of this is unlike anything I have ever encountered. So engrossed was I, that once I started this I was unable to come back up for air until I read the last page.

Mind-blowing, and utterly fabulous, “For Your Own Good” is the best thriller I’ve read all year. I highly recommend this masterful novel to one and all. A new addition to my Goodreads Best-of-List for 2021!

A buddy read with Ms. Kaceey that both of us loved.

Thank you to Ms. Elisha at Berkley Publishing Group (and NetGalley) for the arc.

Published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram.
Profile Image for Holly  B (Short break!).
812 reviews1,862 followers
March 9, 2021

This comedy of errors is a murderous mashup!

Uh-hem, the teacher knows best and Teddy is the teacher, so have a seat and definitely don't be a smarty pants !!

The bodies are piling up at Belmont Academy and the teachers and students are all on pins and needles. Except one of them, no reason for panic when you know best. Just calm down, people die every day (at least at Belmont). They are even trending #HomicideHigh....

The showy behavior of this teacher, had me cracking up! Teddy takes the cake, and I'm giving him the cake. The whole cake! After all, he is Teacher of the Year, and he has the plaque to prove it!!

I had so much fun reading this wild, campy, vindictive and murderous mystery! If you enjoy some outrageous characters and writing that flows page after page and like to solve murder mysteries, give this one a try. You've been warned!

Thanks to NG and Berkley for my advanced review copy! OUT on July 20,2021
Profile Image for Debra .
2,283 reviews35k followers
July 29, 2021
"Being loved is one thing, being hated is another, but there is nothing worse than being ignored."

School is in session! Grab your pencils, make sure your laptop is charged, and be prepared to learn because Samantha Downing is at the board, teaching us all how it's done!!!!!

Teddy Crutcher is teacher of the year at the esteemed Belmont Academy. He teaches the best and the brightest. But they must earn their grades. He can't be bought or influenced. He is tough on his students - but it is for their own good. He wants them to excel, to succeed, to have bright futures. What else would one expect from the Teacher of the Year?

I don't think I have had this much fun reading a book - EVER! There are quite a few characters which distinct and contribute to the story. Their POV's give us more insight into their thoughts, motivations and relationships with others. We also get to see what they say vs. what they know. With the various characters there are minor subplots being told as well. All come together brilliantly in the end.

Downing had me on my toes the entire book! Like her other books, For Your Own Good was well written, compelling and had me glued to my seat, completely immersed in this book. The pacing is spot on, there is never any down time, the characters are interesting, annoying, devilish, devious and so fun to read. Teddy was a character I loved to hate. I'm purposely not mentioning other characters as I feel it is best to know only the bare basics going into this book.

Will you get schooled reading this book? Readers know a lot, but we don't know everything! Downing has her lesson plan, the bell has rung, you better pray you are the teacher’s pet, because by the time class is over, you will be dazzled by her brilliance.

What a deliciously, diabolical, delightful and fun read!

The hype is real!!!

Highly Recommend.

Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,067 reviews3,609 followers
February 28, 2021
Ok, everyone! Take your seats! Class is about to begin!

A prestigious prep school.

Where the expectation is that all the students here will all go on to Ivy League schools. The parents will see to it. The pressure on the students and faculty is mounting. Somethings got to give. Who will break? And what will the consequences be?

Told from multiple perspectives including students, former students, and teachers. Here is your opportunity to put on your detective’s cap🕵🏻‍♀️ and see if you can find enough clues to solve this mystery.

Teddy – The teacher of the Year! He is very selective on who he wants to see succeed. Warning to all students…don’t get on his bad side.

Zach – A straight-A student bound for his Ivy League School until he has Teddy as a teacher.

Fallon- A former student of Teddy’s. Has she moved on from high school or is she back to seek revenge.

So many characters, each with their own agenda. And no one’s walking away unscathed.

“Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey I’m gonna get you too
Another one bites the dust”
Songwriters: John Deacon
Another One Bites the Dust lyrics © Queen Music Limited, Queen Music Ltd

You are going to be rooting for (most) of the students, (some) of the faculty, and (all) of the craziness!

Samantha Downing knows how to write the best thrillers that draw you in immediately and take you on a ride right to the end.

I’ve read a lot of prep school-themed books lately, BUT none of them compare to this madness!

A buddy read with Susanne that we both loved!

Posted to: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend...

Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing via NetGalley for an ARC to read and review.
Profile Image for Kat (on hiatus).
226 reviews540 followers
July 21, 2021
Teddy Crutcher has been a very naughty boy.

He doesn’t think so.

Sure he’s Belmont Academy’s Teacher of the Year, and he’s only wanting the best for his students. It’s just … well … sometimes you have to help things along … make them better … right the wrongs. It’s ‘for your own good’, he might say. A little collateral damage is just the price you have to pay, right?

I’m going to leave things there as far as the plot goes, because every moment of discovery in this story is a treat to be savored. Samantha Downing worked some serious magic with this book, and I was mesmerized from page one. The characters were so well-developed, the plot so perfectly crafted, and the twists and reveals were handled with just the right amount of subtlety and restraint as to bring a smile to my face each and every time.

It’s dark humor at it’s finest and it’s a great example of how to write a thriller. I’ll definitely be reading her other books, and I’ll be eagerly waiting for any new ones!

Go grab yourself a snack and a big glass of cold milk and dive into this one as soon as possible. I promise you it’ll be delicious.

And no … I won’t say it … but it really is … for your own …

Well, you get the point.

Thanks to Elisha at Berkley Publishing Group, NetGalley and author Samantha Downing for this ARC in exchange for my honest review. It will be published on July 20th, 2021.
Profile Image for JanB .
1,143 reviews2,503 followers
August 6, 2021
Oh, Teddy, you absolutely deserved the Teacher of the Year Award, and have the plaque to prove it. If only you received the respect and accolades you deserve. You devious, cunning man! You just took 1st place for my favorite psychopath!

What better place to use your finely honed skills than a private elite school? No one escapes your solution to problems. You will do anything for your students. At least the ones who deserve it. It’s all for their own good, even if they don’t understand. Right? Whoops, you sometimes make a little mistake but collateral damage is nothing to worry about. You will fix it.

And that’s all I will say about the plot! It’s such fun to discover it for yourself. Just know Teddy isn’t the only devious character at play here at #HomicideHigh

It was SO FUN to be inside Teddy’s head, and listen to his thought processes. The other characters were just as fun and over-the-top as Teddy, and kept me laughing at the dark humor. I haven’t had this much fun reading about a group of characters in a very long time.

I listened to the audio and the narrator was EXCELLENT in the role, making a terrific book even better. I struggled to press pause and went looking for projects around the house just to get more listening time. This unique and deliciously devious story grabbed me from the beginning and didn't let go until the very last page, and then I was sorry it was over.

I don’t give out 5 stars lightly, and this will be on my list of top books of 2021.

* thanks to Regina for pointing out the narrator is David Pittu, who also narrated The Goldfinch, another book I could not stop listening to. He truly is incredible!

• This was a buddy read with Marialyce and one we both loved!
Profile Image for Regina.
1,136 reviews2,999 followers
August 17, 2021
For Your Own Good, Samantha Downing’s latest and (IMO) greatest novel, is a 3D thriller. It’s deranged. It’s devious. It’s delicious.

If you read a lot in this genre, you begin notice that authors have to come up with increasingly ridiculous scenarios and character motivations to top anything previously written. What’s great about this one is that Downing went ALL IN and bought a first class, one-way ticket on the crazy train. This prep school-set story is so over the top that anything goes, and thus readers never have to deal with pesky “that would never happen” thoughts. At the fictional Belmont Academy, you better watch your back. (Well, and your beverages. And the food. And the air you’re breathing. Heck, better just watch everything.)

I kinda loved it, and if you want to escape to a world that’ll make our real one seem like candyland, I think you will too.

Blog: https://www.confettibookshelf.com/
Profile Image for Julie .
4,026 reviews58.9k followers
November 21, 2021
For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing is a 2021 Berkley publication.

Wickedly Good!

The prestigious Belmont Academy takes a shocking downward turn when a student, Courtney Ross, is accused of killing her overbearing mother.
Enter Teddy Crutcher, the newest recipient of the ‘Teacher of the Year’ award, a man harboring some deep resentments towards his successful and affluent students- and Zach Ward, Courtney’s best friend.

Zach and Teddy have butted heads in the past, but each of them is determined to help Courtney, which triggers a domino effect… and bodies just keep piling up… which garners the school its own hashtag-

#Homicide High

If you like dark humor and smart, twisty psychological thrillers, you will love this book!

Downing examines the dark side of teaching, private school politics, parental involvement, and the way students become pawns, at the mercy of those who hold their futures in their hands..

For their own good...

I love Downing’s writing style and how seamlessly she can switch between first-person narratives, giving the reader the viewpoint of both the teachers and the students. I found myself gasping out loud one minute and laughing out loud, the next.

Overall, a thoroughly entertaining psychological thriller from the first page to the last!!

4.5 stars
August 6, 2021
3.5 stars.

Wild, shocking and twisty!

If you’re looking for a fun, creepy, bonkers book to get lost in, this is it! It’s compulsively readable and highly entertaining in the most addictive, silly, crazy and ridiculous way!

This novel revolves around a prep school with devious and conniving staff and students. Every character had a sneaky, deceitful, evil side that kept me shocked and curious to see how they would fit into the twisted tale. I simply cannot pick who was the worst!

I loved the short, tension-filled chapters that were easy to breeze through. This book is one where you can simply sit back and be entertained without having to think too much. The story unfolds through third person narrative which I had trouble connecting with as I felt it kept me at a distance from the storyline. I also have issues with implausible scenarios and this novel had many which kept me from feeling fully invested. However, the characters are so extremely crazy and unlikeable that I just HAD to know what would happen next. Though this wasn’t a huge winner for me, it is well-loved by many early reviewers and I can completely understand why. Give it a try and see what you think - I promise you’ll have fun with it!

Thank you to Berkley for my review copy!
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,438 reviews78k followers
November 7, 2022

"Entitlement has a particular stench. Pungent, bitter. Almost brutal."

I will say this: Samantha Downing has a way of writing unlikable characters that makes you unable to turn away. The age old "can't stop watching the train wreck" is entirely true here, and between the short chapters and the constant shifting of views that give birth to plot twist after plot twist, For Your Own Good is a compulsive read. Her mysteries are fun to try and solve, because all her energy isn't poured into one outlandish twist near the end of the book; instead, she spreads her talent over the course of the novel and gives readers little surprises along the way, which in my humble opinion is much more entertaining and intelligent. Whether you completely solve the case or not isn't of concern; it's the journey along the read that's important, and Downing delivers in that aspect.

Teddy is Teacher of the Year at Belmont Academy, and he cares deeply for his students and the institution. If he has to go the extra mile to ensure they get the most out of their education and simultaneously knock them down a peg, that's just collateral in the big picture. You know from the first chapter that Teddy is some sort of sociopath, but is he a murderer? And what other sociopaths will cross paths with him along the duration of this story? I really enjoyed how brief and edgy each chapter feels; there are many different narrators along the way, and this added a really cool element to the story that would have been missing if we hadn't received certain information through a particular character's lens.

I think my main concern is that the big climax felt rushed and not wholly satisfactory, which is very likely to be the point. I just wish we had received some answers to a few more of the questions I had; the problem with having such a large cast of characters is that you have way more to wrap up by the end, and the conclusion here is pretty abrupt and sparse. Again, this was likely done on purpose and is purely a personal preference on my part. Another thing that caught me off guard was a major continuity error on the first page of chapter 55 in the finished hardcover copy. Grammatical errors don't tend to bother me, and I really don't point them out in reviews, because it's just not my style and I'm typically reading an early, unfinished copy any way, but this was kind of a major error that I'm surprised made it past editing, especially since I had to go back and reread that page a few times to ensure I wasn't missing some major plot twist. 😂

Overall, an enjoyable read! I'm looking forward to whatever Downing cooks up next.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,600 reviews24.8k followers
July 24, 2021
Samantha Downing writes an outrageously bonkers, blackly comic, psychological thriller, a non-stop murder fest, set in a highly esteemed school, the Belmont Academy, with its privileged and entitled students with their wealthy demanding parents that expect the school to ensure their cosseted little darlings attend Ivy League universities, piling the pressure on teaching staff and students. English teacher, Teddy Crutcher is intensely proud of being awarded the teacher of the year award, the pinnacle of his teaching career so far, although in his mind it doesn't truly address just how remarkable a teacher and person he is. He himself comes from a significantly more modest background and schooling, meaning he is not as lauded or part of the privileged family of Belmont students who returned to teach, such as the popular Sonia Benjamin.

Teddy's resentments know no bounds, he is just the man to teach the likes of the over-privileged Sonia and some of his students, like Zach, lessons for their own good and he is not letting on that his wife, Alison, has left him and seeking a divorce. He feels entitled to exercise his extreme judgements, so okay his plans misfire a little, he sighs at other peoples failures as he tries to put right the consequences that arise, so what if students and others die, it is all for the greater good. As Belmont trends online as #HomicideHigh, woe betide anyone who crosses Teddy, like a former student, Fallon Knight, whose life was ruined by Teddy, now returned as a teacher, and he wants Frank Blackwell who keeps wanting him to pray with him to just go away.

This is a fun, twisty and entertaining read, jam packed with dislikeable characters, suspend your sense of disbelief, and jump aboard to enjoy this rollercoaster of a thrill ride as the body count soars to unimaginable heights at the Belmont Academy. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.
Profile Image for Allison Faught.
304 reviews142 followers
August 16, 2021
If you’re looking for a fun yet thrilling read, look no further!
I was drawn to this book for a couple of reasons:
1. My husband used to teach high school so I thought reading this could be reminiscent in a satirical way about his teaching days.
2. I went to a private school literally my whole life so I was curious to see how the author portrayed private school kids.
3. The overwhelming amount of 5 stars my GR friends gave this book sold me pretty much instantly. Keep those honest reviews coming. It’s because of you all why I find such great books! 😄

Teddy was so completely cynical I couldn’t help but literally laugh out loud a few times because of how crazy of a character he was. A few times I inwardly gasped at how morbid (yet kind of funny) his comments were. (The milk scenes cracked me up. 🥛🥛🥛) He honestly was such a well written character and everything about him made my skin crawl.

This was my first book by Downing and it certainly won’t be my last. 🙌🏼
Profile Image for Hilly.
701 reviews1,261 followers
August 31, 2021
2.5 stars

2021 is the year almost all my favorite authors have disappointed me in one way or another. Can we skip to 2022 please??

This book left me so unsatisfied it’s unreal 😩

I can’t say I completely disliked it because it still had amazing tension, but after having read My Lovely Wife and He Started It I was sure this was going to be another five stars and that I would love the unlikable characters. Maybe it’s my fault for expecting something along those lines instead of noticing right away that this book is a bit of a departure from those earlier books. Though in my defense, I also called this one boring halfway through, and that’s definitely not on me.

I can pinpoint exactly what didn’t work for me in this book: the multiple povs and the way pretty much nothing was kept from the reader. I feel like having that many povs made everything slower and less impactful. All of these characters meant something to the plot, and that’s fine, but they also had a lot of stuff to say that wasn’t exactly needed.
Having Teddy’s pov made the book drag too. I think this book would have worked better without it. Reading about him from the outside would have probably made the plot more intriguing, especially because I wouldn’t have had some info from the get-go.

Nonetheless, I still enjoyed the twisty way this book unraveled in typical Samantha Downing fashion. My favorite character was Zach, I found him fascinating because he was a perfectly built character. His contrasting behavior and relationship with his parents sparked my interest in him from the beginning. I can see a pattern here because in every one of her books I always love this SD character type.
On the other hand, I was never really interested in Teddy because I found him too annoying and a bit cartoonish, but the plot still managed to keep me on my toes for a while. Until the ending lol. I’m not a fan of how this book concluded. It wasn’t shocking or insane, just very confusing and eye roll-worthy, It’s probably going to be a very divisive ending and I’m curious to see where other readers stand on this when the book comes out.

Thank you to Micheal Joseph for the arc, I’m so glad I got to read this book early! ❤️


I will read literally anything this woman ever writes.
Profile Image for Sheyla ✎.
1,813 reviews474 followers
September 27, 2021
Talk about a nutso teacher!

Teddy Crutcher is a teacher at a private school, the Belmont Academy. He has won the Teacher of the Year award but kids don't enjoy being in his class. He can be sarcastic and when he thinks a student is too privileged, he decides to make him suffer. He believes that by making them sweat he is doing them a favor.

Enters Zach Ward, a 17-year-old student. He has the looks, he comes from money and he is liked by everyone. Zac is smart and has good grades and his family is a power couple. That is enough for Teddy to give Zac a B on his latest paper to bring down his GPA.

Besides, picking on a student, Teddy also has a secret pastime. A pastime that Teddy believes is his duty. Some teachers need to be more mellow, some need to be more alert, and some need to die!

Just when Teddy thinks he is getting away with everything, an ex-student Fallon is back to watch him.

Was Teddy narcissistic and unrepentant? Sure. Was he a psychopath? Sure. Yet, I was avidly awaiting the next chapter and devouring every second of his craziness.

Once again, Samantha Downing has done it and For Your Own Good takes you on a rewarding thriller ride.

I know, with so many books out there sometimes you just have to pick your poison. Grab this one, it's worth it.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Berkley via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for Kay ☼.
1,965 reviews671 followers
August 26, 2021
An enthralling academia thriller. Teddy Crutcher is a Teacher of the Year at prestigious Belmont Academy, a prep school for rich kids. Belmont is trending ➜ #HomicideHigh. 👩‍🎓👨‍🎓

Oh, what fun!! What is this subgenre? Chillax thriller? I can't remember the last time I read a book and anticipate who's dying next or how the killer will off someone. Pure entertainment. As a matter of fact, I secretly wish the killer doesn't get caught. It's highly possible because the detectives are pretty worthless in this book. At 98% I still didn't have a clue how it'll play out!

This is my third book by S. Downing and I'm loving it more than the last.
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