Review: For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing

I absolutely loved Samantha Downing’s first novel, My Lovely Wife. In fact, I even read it twice because I thought it was such a great read and my book club loved it too! Her second novel He Started It, just didn’t grab me like the first one. I haven’t read it yet but the description just didn’t sound as exciting or interesting as My Lovely Wife sounded when I first heard of it. But when I saw this one was coming out—her third thriller—the description sounded so excellent and I just couldn’t pass up!

I love novels about darker academia and this book sounded like it would be a perfect summer thriller read so it was an easy yes for review from me! I also saw that it was recently announced that Robert Downey Jr and HBO Max have teamed up to option this stunning new thriller for the streaming service in the coming year!

If that bit of news doesn’t grab your attention then I don’t know what will! I was already interested in this novel based on the name Samantha Downing but adding in one of my favorite actors to potentially produce and create this book into a series sounds absolutely irresistible to me! I cannot wait to see what the vision is for this book when it comes to the HBO Max series, after reading the book I think it’s going to be a perfect book to bring to the streaming service! You should definitely run out and secure a copy of this book now, it’s going to be a hot read this summer!


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… (summary from Goodreads)

Bodies are dropping, Ivy League admissions are rolling in, and unexplained poisonings are on the menu at New England’s prestigious Belmont Academy.

Academic excellence comes at a high cost in bestselling author Samantha Downing’s forthcoming thriller, FOR YOUR OWN GOOD (Berkley Hardcover)– on sale in a month, on July 20th.

As announced this morning in The Hollywood Reporter, Robert Downey Jr. and Greg Berlanti’s team at HBO Max (also behind The Flight Attendant) are teaming up to bring bestselling author Samantha Downing’s newest twisted thriller onto the small screen.

In FOR YOUR OWN GOOD, the very person who has the power to shape a student’s future knows it. Teacher of the Year Teddy Crutcher doesn’t just push his students to their full academic potential—he wants them to learn how to be good people. Much better than their privileged, meddlesome, entitled parents. After all…it’s for their own good.

Amazon and Nicole Kidman’s Blossom Films are adapting Downing’s debut,My Lovely Wife,as a feature for the streaming giant.

Advance Praise

“Downing’s thrillers are…an awful good time.” Entertainment Weekly

“[Downing is] a writer who deserves to be a superstar.” –Criminal Element 

“…the new queen of fiendish ingenuity.” New Orleans Advocate 

“…dark and bold.” –Shelf Awareness

“Downing’s mind is truly twisted—and we love her for it.” —Hello Giggles

“…immersive, albeit chillingly dark.” —Booklist

“…one bold and fearless author…” —CrimeReads


When I read My Lovely Wife for the first time, it was love at first page. I instantly fell in love with Downing’s prose and characters. I felt uneasy throughout the book and the nameless narrator was chilling. So my expectations were high going into this third book. As mentioned before, I haven’t read the second book she wrote, mostly because I was afraid it wouldn’t stack up the the debut. The debut was solid and sometimes the subsequent books just don’t measure up—-well after reading this book I can firmly say that is NOT the case for Downing. I actually think this book was executed better than even her debut novel and now I am on the hunt for the second book she wrote so I can devour that one too!

This book boasts a lot of characters in it’s plot which at first might be overwhelming for readers but for me, I found a lot to immerse myself in. The characters are all interesting, layered, and none are really all that straight forward which makes them fun to read about. As an educator myself, I love reading books about the darker side of academics especially when it comes to elite prep schools. The world of academics is so crazy even at public schools, and worse in the elite private sector. Now you are talking about families with money, influence, and entitlement which only makes things even more competitive so this book had a lot to hook me and draw me in but also for me to find relatable! I loved the setting and the characters so much! You should read this book simply for that reason alone!

Downing could have written a book purely on darker academics alone, but throwing in a little murder made it even better. At it’s heart, this is a murder mystery and one readers won’t soon forget! I loved the mystery and was engrossed in all the details of the story. I read it in a couple of days and was sad when it came to an end because it was such a great read. This book definitely lived up to the hype for me and cemented Downing as a new auto buy author for me! If you only pick one thriller to read this summer, let it be this one! I have even recommended it to my book club for a fall read and I think I will read it again because it was just that good! I don’t want to give away too much of the plot and story so I will simply say that the characters and plot/setting are excellent and you will not be disappointed! Easily 5 stars for me!

Book Info and Rating

Format 384 pages, Hardcover

PublishedJuly 20, 2021 by Berkley

ISBN 9780593100974 (ISBN10: 0593100972)

Free review copy provided by publisher, Berkley, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: thriller, mystery


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