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May 10, 2013

Review: Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy

Title: Criminal
Author: Terra Elan McVoy
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Publication date: May 7, 2013
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary)
Source: Edelweiss
Format: eARC
Pages: 288
A searing and gripping read that explores the depths of desperation true love can inspire, from the author of Being Friends with Boys.

Nikki’s life is far from perfect, but at least she has Dee. Her friends tell her that Dee is no good, but Nikki can’t imagine herself without him. He’s hot, he’s dangerous, he has her initials tattooed over his heart, and she loves him more than anything. There’s nothing Nikki wouldn’t do for Dee. Absolutely nothing.

So when Dee pulls Nikki into a crime—a crime that ends in murder—Nikki tells herself that it’s all for true love. Nothing can break them apart. Not the police. Not the arrest that lands Nikki in jail. Not even the investigators who want her to testify against him.

But what if Dee had motives that Nikki knew nothing about? Nikki’s love for Dee is supposed to be unconditional…but even true love has a limit. And Nikki just might have reached hers.
Criminal was a novel about a girl who found her self involuntarily being an accessory to a crime her boyfriend committed. This novel deals with how the main protagonist, Nikki, deals with being part of the crime as well as trying to keep her boyfriend safe from getting busted and obsessing over him to no end. In all honesty, I was slightly disappointed with this novel because of several reasons I'll mention below, but overall, it was still a very realistic and honest take on taking advantage of a girl's desperate need to hold on to the one she "loves". 
Nikki ends up witnessing, or a least hearing, gun shots that ended up killing a cop. She also was the getaway car for her boyfriend after he killed the cop. It took a couple of seconds for Nikki to process it all but a couple of days in pathetic denial about what happened during that single minute. I just found it SO frustrating that somehow all Nikki cared about after the murder was Dee.. Dee.. and Dee. I was in AWE. Your lovely boyfriend just killed a guy, a cop, a father, a husband.. and all you seem to care about is whether Dee replied back to your message or when he'll see you? really? I mean, it is not like Nikki has been on the wrong side of the tracks.. she seems to be a pretty stand up girl, so I would believe she at least has a conscious. So to say I was annoyed, furious, and out right disgusted at Nikki is an understatement. 
Of course Dee was another story all together, my instant hate for him mirrored the hate radiating from Bird, Nikki's friend and also the girl who allowed Nikki to stay with her when she didn't have a house to stay in. He was SUCH a charmer (sarcastic tone). Here is when he really won me over, his reply to when Nikki kept on freaking out after the whole murder happening:
"What if I put my fist straight through that mouth of yours, crush your pipes so you can't talk anymore, huh? What if that?"
I do believe that Terra Elan McVoy is a brilliant author for invoking so much emotions towards her characters. I am not denying that some people aren't like Nikki or Dee, but these are the types of people and stories that I don't care much about because people like that frustrate me to no end. However I do believe that Nikki ended up getting burnt extensively for being so naive and lovestruck. Her heart, in the end, isn't full of hate and black blood like Dee. She really did make an honest mistake for trusting Dee and going against her instincts. 
The first half of the novel was the whole Nikki being obsessive over Dee, but when she got busted for the crime, and you see the reality of being tangled up with the wrong people and how your life could be wasted for this tiny mistake, that is when I started flipping the pages like a madwoman, trying to find out what will happened to Nikki, Dee, and the relationship between Nikki, Bird, and even Nikki's mother. The whole trial and court dealings were something I was very interested in and in the end I did enjoy the novel overall. I think the second half redeemed the novel for me and I was glad I stuck through with it to the end. If you are looking for a glaringly honest and realistic story of a girl ending up being an accessory to crime and how that changed her whole life, you should definitely pick Criminal up. 


  1. I actually just finished this one the other day and really need to write my review. I like that it was a really fast-paced read and it was short but the first half of the book kind of sucked for me. I just couldn't stand Nikki's obsession with Dee. Oh well. Great review!

    1. Exactly how I felt! The first half of the book almost made me DNF it but the second half was really good!

  2. I actually heard a slew of positive things about this one, so I'm glad I stumbled onto your balanced review. I'm not sure if I'll pick this up, especially as I'm not one for slow starts, but I'm glad it worked out for you in the end. Fantastic review, Juhina! :)

  3. This one sounds interesting. I think it could go either way for me. I might have to try it out at some point. Great review!

  4. I've seen some mixed things for this book so I'm a little hesitant on picking this book up, especially since you couldn't STAND the main character. :/ I'm surprised that you still enjoyed this book overall. I'm glad you thought the court and trial dealings were interesting. I'm not sure this book would be for me, but perhaps I'll give it a try! Brilliant review!

  5. This sounds extremely frustrating and I'm amazed you were able to stick it out and finish this one! All the characters sound horrible! I'm glad the novel took a turn for you the second half, but still, I doubt I'll be picking this up. Thanks for the honest and helpful review, Juhina. :)

  6. Thanks for a truly honest review. I know that Nikki is frustrating as a character, and I never intended for readers to either like or relate to her. Her growth and understand about what she's done is the key to the book. I'm glad you stuck with it, and ultimately liked it, and am also very glad you're telling the truth about how you felt about her! Thanks very much.

  7. Terra Elan McVoy book! I like the sound of Criminal. It sounds good and even though the first half might've been slow, I'm glad the second half did it for you! Great review, Juhina! :)

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

  8. This book sounds so interesting to me. I like gritty, realistic tales and the fact that it eventually got you to flip pages like a madwomen is appealing too. I'm OK with a slightly flawed book. Great review :)