Friday, September 27, 2013

Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy

Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy
Published by Simon Pulse; May 7, 2013
Hardcover, 288 pages
Borrowed from library

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.

- Description from

Despite all the great things I'd heard about Criminal before reading it, I was still rather skeptical. Terra Elan McVoy was an author I knew for writing fun, light reads so Criminal was a far cry from her usual books. In addition, I didn't particularly love her light reads (see The Summer of Firsts and Lasts) so going in, I didn't really expect to be blown away. But my god, this book was great! I mean, is this even the same author that wrote The Summer of Firsts and Lasts? The writing seemed completely different. Nikki was a strong narrator who managed to tell her story very matter-of-fact but also with a lot of emotion...if that makes any sense.

The actual storyline of the book, I have to say, is rather dull which is fine because it's NOT the storyline that makes this book so great. For me, the main attraction of this book was the idea that not everything is black and white. Lines are blurred in reality and they are in this book. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to feel bad for Nikki or not. On one hand, she did totally assist a murder and I don't really think that 'love' was a solid excuse for that. Not that you could call what Nikki and Dee had 'love'. It's more of an addiction as Nikki says, a need to be wanted. Which I can accept because who doesn't like to be wanted? But gosh, Dee was such a dick - not to mention completely shady. I really wished Nikki listened to Bird about Dee. It would have saved her going through a lot of crap. 

But at the end, I couldn't help but feel proud of Nikki. She has gone through so many crappy things and the fact that all those things happened to her and she could still be positive? I think that really says something about the character development in this book.

While this wasn't the strongest book, I loved the themes McVoy touched upon in this book. Definitely dark and gritty but incredibly eye-opening!


  1. I got a review copy of this a while back and never picked it up because of the negative reviews I heard for this book, but it looks like I'll have to rethink that! Nikki seems like an interesting character that really grows in Criminal. Gritty, you say? Hmm.. I like. Great review, Annie!

  2. Huh, I haven't read any negative reviews for it. Which is good because I don't think I would have picked it up if I had read them! One of my favourite parts of the book was seeing how Nikki grew. She's a character that I think you're supposed to have conflicting feelings for but who ultimately you can't help but cheer for.

  3. I'm glad that you enjoyed this book, Annie! "I couldn't help but feel proud of Nikki." <--- Yes, yes, yes! I mean, I might have wanted to smack her a few times on the head because of how blinded by "love" she could be, but when she grew and stayed positive even in her sucky situation, I just felt so proud of her.

    *Spoiler Ahead*
    And when she stood up to Dee, I was basically yelling in my head "YOU GO, GIRL!"

  4. I loved that part! I think that really defined her development in the story and I, like you, was so proud of her!