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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

For Your Own Good

ISBN: 0593100972

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: 07/20/21

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars ++

“Wonderfully dark, twisty and compelling.” —B.A. Paris

"A slick and chilling thriller, leading readers on a dark, sinuous journey through the halls of Belmont Academy—the type of place where you’re never sure who to trust, or who to fear."—Megan Miranda

“Dark, sly and delicious...totally original—and totally compelling.”—JP Delaney

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…

Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the prestigious 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 a few mysterious deaths on campus that’re looking more and more like murder or the student digging a little too deep into Teddy’s personal life. His main focus is 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. If not, well, they’ll get what they deserve.

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


“Just finished reading this wonderfully dark, twisty and compelling thriller set in a prestigious private school. I raced through it, desperate to know how it would end.”

—B.A. Paris, New York Times bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors

"Samantha Downing delivers a slick and chilling thriller, leading readers on a dark, sinuous journey through the halls of Belmont Academy—the type of place where you’re never sure who to trust, or who to fear. Suspenseful, surprising, and completely original."

—Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author of The Last House Guest

“Dark, sly and delicious...totally original—and totally compelling.”

—JP Delaney, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before

"I'm a huge fan of Samantha Downing, who is masterful at creating diabolical characters and deliciously chilling plots. An absolutely terrific book!"

—Sarah Pekkanen, New York Times bestselling author of The Wife Between Us

“Samantha Downing is totally the real deal. Wry and dark and witty and clever. I didn't think she could outdo My Lovely Wife but I think this one tops it.”

—Sarah Pinborough, New York Times bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes

"Samantha Downing has achieved something so special in For Your Own Good. A story that is dark as night, sinister as hell, clever, twisting and downright fun."

—Chris Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of We Begin at the End

"Samantha Downing serves up another cast of deliciously mendacious characters in an exclusive private school setting, where the deadly action drives a brilliantly tense, taut and twisty plot. I may never look at my coffee in the same way again."

—Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew

"All the dark fun of Election, but with Downing's signature, diabolical spin. For Your Own Good is so utterly unputdownable, I look forward to reading it again. I think even the novel's own trickiest private school teacher, Teddy Crutcher, would have to give it an A+."

—Chandler Baker, New York Times bestselling author of Whisper Network

“Holy revenge, Batman! This is a delicious page-turner with so many layers of revenge, you won’t soon forget. I absolutely loved watching how this unfolded starting with a jerk teacher at a prep school who thinks it’s his job to punish others into being better… I’m super excited about this one so mark your calendars for July 20th.”


“A slyly plotted page-turner.”—Publishers Weekly

"[A] sly, smart thriller."—StarTribune

"Downing's spare prose packs a wallop as she deftly ratchets up the suspense with every hairpin turn of this lean, mean, surprising, and utterly propulsive thriller."

—Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of The Stranger Insider

"So dark and twisted, so deliciously evil, it'll not only make you frantically turn those pages to find out who's targeting whom, but the wry sense of humor will have you laughing out loud, too. Another phenomenal wild-ride of a read from one of the crime-writing community's most talented authors. Bet you'll never look at high-school the same way again."

—Hannah Mary McKinnon, bestselling author of Sister Dear

"I raced through this, and loved every twist and turn. Brilliant characterisation and ingenious plotting make it an absolute winner."

—Jill Mansell, bestselling author of It Started with a Secret

"No one writes a twisted character quite like Samantha Downing."


My Review


I LOVED #ForYouOwnGood —Darkly hilarious, Samantha Downing delivers her best yet with a leading wicked man, Teddy Crutcher, Teacher of the Year.

Warning: Stay away from those coffee pods. You never know who has tampered with them.

Some students, colleagues, and parents may think of a different title for Teddy. He wants to control everyone and loves to give students a B when he knows their work is brilliant and A+ quality (to bring them down a notch because he can).

OMG! Teddy could be Joe Goldberg’s dad (YOU, Caroline Kepnes) and perhaps a former husband of Jane Harris (The Favorite Daughter, Kaira Rouda). I expect readers will be talking about this cleverly created narcissistic character for years to come.

Teddy Crutcher teaches at the prestigious and elite Belmont Academy. Teddy does not like the wealthy and entitled parents, students, or colleagues.

He thinks he must teach them a life lesson. He also does not care for the other teachers and staff from money or the graduates turned teachers from Belmont.

Teddy lives in an old house with a garden of poisonous plants and drives an old Saab. He says he has a wife named Allison, but no one has seen her lately.

He devises a devious plan to poison a teacher. However, his plan does not go as planned. Dang, the wrong one but no worries, Teddy can kill off a few more for the greater good.

This minor mix-up causes some drama for students Courtney and Zack. Even though he does not care for his entitled students, he still needs to control the situation.

Teddy has made quite a few enemies over the years, including his former student, Fallon Knight.

She was a brilliant student, and Teddy knew this, but again, he had to bring her down—ultimately screwed up her GPA due to his bad grades. Plus, he wrote a false, nasty reference letter saying she was a cheater, which eventually kept her from getting into an Ivy League school. Then her wealthy parents cutting her off and forced her to attend a state school and work dead-end jobs.

She is out for REVENGE. After all, who could blame her? Teddy is not giving her enough credit because she has some games up her sleeve as well. (I loved the Allison twist and the sperm bank).

Over the years, she sends Teddy nasty emails and shows up at Belmont as a teacher. Fallon and Zack are both on his trail, and neither knows they are really on the same side. He must cover his tracks.

In the meantime, there are more deaths by poison and some sleuthing by Fallon and Zack. Watch out for the food left in the teacher’s lounge and those events that include coffee, drinks, and food.

In addition, Teddy also throws the janitor and the headmaster’s secretary under the bus (loved Joe, the janitor, and his banter). Someone steals his teacher of the Year plaque, and Teddy is in an uproar.

The best of all is the math teacher, Frank (former math teacher) turned clergy. However, Frank knows more about Teddy that changes the course of everything. What a twist!

What a fantastic book! Samantha Downing takes a wicked cat and mouse game to a new level!

Highly entertaining! Laugh out loud and just what I needed. Not only does the author keep you guessing about Teddy, Zach, Frank, Courtney, Fallon, Sonia, and the rest, I adored the fatherly words of wisdom sprinkled throughout from Zach’s dad.

#ForYourOwnGood is a creepy, funny, and satirical peek inside the world of the private school sector and its politics, as well as the unfortunate pressure parents, put on their children to make it into the Ivy League school. Then a rotten egg like Teddy can destroy their lives.

This delicious creation was a perfect fun read, clever and devious, a nice change from all the heavy psychological thrillers. It is not like the typical prestigious and elite schools with a lot of drama from the students. So much better.

FOR YOUR OWN GOOD is full of dark humor, where you laugh out loud. I started this one and was at 50% when I looked up. I had to stop for work, came back zoomed through to the end in one day. There is never a lull or dull moment. It is fast-paced, mysterious, and you cannot wait to see what will happen to Teddy, hoping that someone will please poison his dang milk.

Highly recommend!!! I hope we see more books coming like this. Cannot wait for the TV series and the cast of stars. Top Books of 2021!

A special thank you to #NetGalley and #Berkley for an advanced reading copy.

About the Author

Samantha Downing is the author of the bestselling My Lovely Wife, nominated for Edgar, ITW, Macavity, and CWA awards. Amazon Studios and Nicole Kidman's Blossom Films have partnered to produce a feature film based on the novel.

Her second book, He Started It, was released in 2020 and became an instant international bestseller. Her third thriller, For Your Own Good, will be released in the US on July 20, 2021.

She currently lives and works in New Orleans. Website







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