The Best Kind of People

The Best Kind of People

A Novel

Book - 2017
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A local schoolteacher is arrested, leaving his family to wrestle with the possibility of his guilt, in this exquisite novel about loyalty, truth, and happiness.

The Woodburys cherish life in the affluent, bucolic suburb of Avalon Hills, Connecticut. George is a beloved science teacher at the local prep school, a hero who once thwarted a gunman, and his wife, Joan, is a hardworking ER nurse. They have brought up their children in this thriving town of wooded yards and sprawling lakes.

Then one night a police car pulls up to the Woodbury home and George is charged with sexual misconduct with students from his daughter's school. As he sits in prison awaiting trial and claiming innocence, Joan vaults between denial and rage as friends and neighbors turn cold. Their daughter, seventeen-year-old Sadie, is a popular high school senior who becomes a social outcast--and finds refuge in an unexpected place. Her brother, Andrew, a lawyer in New York, returns home to support the family, only to confront unhappy memories from his past. A writer tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men's rights activist group attempts to recruit Sadie for their cause.

Provocative and unforgettable, The Best Kind of People reveals the cracks along the seams of even the most perfect lives and the unraveling of an American family.


"A compelling exploration of the ways a crime implicates all of us." --Kaitlyn Greenidge, author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman

"I am obsessed with this book." --Samantha Irby, author of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life

"In our post-Harvey Weinstein world [this book] feels more timely and urgent than ever. . . . It draws an elegant line between rape culture, patriarchy, and privilege." --Claire Cameron, The Millions

"Every character is fully rounded, flawed, and achingly human. It puts me in mind of a twenty-first-century Ordinary People ." -- Kate Harding, author of Asking for It

"Sure to provoke debate and send book discussion groups into overtime." -- Library Journal (starred review)

"A powerful page-turner." -- Cosmopolitan
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, [2017]
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 9780399182211
Branch Call Number: F Whit
Characteristics: 430 pages ; 22 cm


From the critics

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Jan 07, 2018

I was very intrigued by this book and the subject matter had some familiarity to me so I was not really surprised by the ending; I was kind of expecting it. It's the wide-ranging fallout from these incidents that are so rarely thought of and I thought this was handled well in the story. There were some problems with details and continuity in the writing and I could almost pick the exact spot in the book where the author changed the location from Canada to the US and hastily went back and edited. I began to wonder if the novel being written by a character in the book was a "novel within a novel" and if this book was also based on a true story where characters and locations needed to be altered.

samdog123 Oct 20, 2017

What would you do if your husband was suddenly arrested for attempted rape and improper conduct with a minor? Would you believe they were innocent and support them, or would you turn your back on them? These are the issues that Joan, Andrew and Sadie Woodbury face when George is suddenly arrested. An agonizing dilemma make for a good read, but I expected more reaction from the main characters than what there was.

Oct 17, 2017

I read this book because my stepfather is a pedophile and my mother, who knows, has stayed with him. I found her actions the hardest to forgive and impossible to understand. There are no books about "women who stay with pedophiles".

Perhaps this is too much information; I mention it because I believe the ending is perfect. It is what actually happens, especially when there is no criminal prosecution. People go on, even after being ripped up, and the ones who rip up others still need their emotional needs met and still have intimate connections that they crave.

Some, not all, of the ones who were ripped up cannot form connections with new people because part of them is broken, but in a way that jives with the one who broke them. Bad love is better than no love for some, and is just as strong.

This was an amazing book, the complexity and the nuances were as ephemeral as reasons for why people do the things they do.

Aug 06, 2017

I was really enticed by this book most of the way through, but was thoroughly disappointed by the ending, which is arguably the most important part of a book.
There was a lot of good struggle and some personal development for certain characters. It was really the ending that ruined it for me.

Jul 05, 2017

Found this clunky and rather pointless. Characters are without merit so I really didn't care what happened to them. Pacing was very slow.

Apr 20, 2017

I really enjoyed this novel about a respected and highly regarded teacher in a small town that is accused of attempted sexual assault by several of his students. The nightmare that his wife, son and daughter must now endure through the ostracization of those that were once colleagues and friends is thought provoking. The ending may not be to the liking of some but I respect the author not giving us a predictable closure.

Apr 08, 2017

** spoiler alert ** It has been a while since I have read a book that I could not put down. I wanted to find out what happened. I can't say I really enjoyed it, the subject matter is difficult and I so wanted the wife Joan and the daughter Sadie to pull out of the nightmare their life had been throughout the year before the trial with some dignity and a promise for a fulfilling life. But the impression is that Sadie is still conflicted and Joan eventually goes back to George. And life in Avalon Hills is back to normal, like nothing has happened!

Mar 15, 2017

This book is an insightful look at what happens to the members of a family when the father is accused of the attempted rape of a minor. I thought this was very well done for the most part and a great study of character. The book also touches on many current day social issues and handles them thoughtfully.

Akmcgill Feb 21, 2017

I was really excited to read The Best Kind of People. The blurb sounded great and the very few chapters were really interesting. But then the unlikable characters and boring story line took over. I couldn't wait to finish this novel just to get it over with.

Feb 02, 2017

Great book ! Finished in aday

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Aug 08, 2017

libraryeri thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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