Killing Mr. Griffin

Ah! Honestly,  I didn’t know if I wanted to read this book… I saw the movie trailer once and it kind of gave me the creeps. Students going after a strict teacher just doesn’t seem right… and it’s not like I don’t have a choice in the matter. The instructor gave us a long, looong list of novels to choose from, so why did I choose it?

Killing Mr. Griffin caught my attention because it is a book students might be tempted to grab. It’s edgy and rebellious which is what initially would draw them in.  My class is called Trends in Y.A. Literature, so I figured this is a book that will likely be trendy among young readers.

Killing Mr. Griffin


Each character in the book has their own personality traits…Susan is the meek nerdy girl desperately wanting to find somewhere to fit in, Betsy is the spoiled and manipulative cheerleader, David is the class president golden boy who works hard at school so he can support his single mother and grandma, Jeff is the star basketball player who doesn’t think for himself and then there is Mark. Mark is Jeff’s “best friend” who does all the thinking.

He is the mastermind behind the plot to get revenge from the strict English teacher. Throughout the novel you can tell something just isn’t right with Mark. His lack of morals and poor character is apparent, but it is magnified by Susan’s burden that what they are doing isn’t right.

Somehow Mark is able to convince them all to participate in his scheming and continue to follow him as the plan spirals out of control into murder and conspiracy.

Throughout the book I am fighting for the characters to realize the seriousness of their plot, yet I watch them fall deeper into Mark’s deception. Susan is the only one who maintains her innocent complex throughout the text. She pleads to go to the police, but Mark continues to control the rest of the group like puppets on a string.

Eventually the plan is brought to scorching halt, and Mark’s life as a diagnosed psychopath brought into the light.

A young adult reader, can pick up on the lack of guilt, morals, and mental instability displayed in Mark, and would know something isn’t right. In my opinion a typical teen would relate more with the other characters in different situations: the nerdy out-of-place Susan, or the David that is just trying to successfully make it out of high school, the jock depending on his athletic ability or Betsy, the cute cheerleader who is used to getting everything, and they are all faced with peer pressure, deceit, and the desire to fit in.