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Criminal Hardcover – May 7, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442421622
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442421622
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,280,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Nikki's love for Dee is unconditional. She needs him and she knows, deep down in her heart, that he loves and needs her, no matter what her friends think or how he might sometimes act. And because he loves her when nobody else does, she is willing to do anything for him. Little does Nikki know how far down a criminal path that commitment will ultimately take her, implicating her in a murder that leads to prison. Told by Nikki, Criminal is not an easy book to read. The protagonist is very complex; desperate to be loved and needed, she is almost totally reliant on the affirmation of those around her. It is her search for self and freedom and finally redemption that readers will invest in. While they may not necessarily agree with her, they can certainly see and, on some level, understand why she does what she does. The story moves quickly and the characterization is particularly strong. McVoy's interpretation of life in the county lockup rings true but is definitely counter to stereotype. It is refreshing to see the bond that develops between Nikki and her fellow inmates. This is a book for any teens who might consider themselves lost and desperate for love and belonging.-Erik Knapp, Davis Library, Plano, TXα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review

*It’s a dark, devastating, and realistic portrait of a girl in over her head in more ways than one. What McVoy (Being Friends with Boys) gets so powerfully right in this novel is the way that love can descend like a fog, impairing one’s judgment and obscuring the truth. (Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW)

More About the Author

I have been reading and writing, basically, ever since I learned how to, and everything I've done has pretty much been connected to those two things. I received my BA in English at St. Andrews Presbyterian College, and my MA in Creative Writing from Florida State University. I have worked as an event coordinator at a major chain bookstore; as a freelance writer; a composition instructor; an editorial assistant at an NYC publisher; as manager of an independent children's bookstore, in Decatur, GA, Little Shop of Stories; and as Program Director of the AJC Decatur Book Festival. When not writing or reading I really enjoy cooking and paper crafts. I live in Clarkston, GA with my husband, Scott.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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From the very first page, I was interested in Criminal.
Zoe
Even though I can't relate with being so obsessed with someone I would go along with him like Nikki did, I felt for Nikki and I wanted Nikki to be ok.
Maggie
I really loved Nikki watching her grow as a character throughout the book.
Crossroad Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Maggie on July 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
When I first started this book I was very unsure. I felt the passion and obsession that Nikki had for Dee and I really liked that aspect. And I desperately wanted to know what Dee had done and what would happen to Nikki. But mostly what I felt was rage at Nikki. She was so naive and whiney and just kind of annoying.

And the more the story unfolded the more and more annoying Nikki became to me. And even when she stepped up and finally made a decision I was annoyed at her. And that's when I realized that I really cared about Nikki. Even though I can't relate with being so obsessed with someone I would go along with him like Nikki did, I felt for Nikki and I wanted Nikki to be ok. My annoyance came out of love.

This book actually reminded me a lot of After, another book I loved, but had a main character that drove me up the wall. I thought of this comparison pretty early on, but the more I read the more and more I thought it was the perfect comparison. The books have a similar story and feel, but they're both unique in their own ways.

Anyway, back to more things I liked about this book. I think this might be one of the more extreme cases of personal growth I've ever read in a book, but I found it to be completely realistic. While the Nikki at the end of the story still wasn't perfect, she really grew and matured and I loved seeing that transformation.

I've searched my memory to find something not necessarily negative, but some kind of criticism about the book, but I'm at a loss. I wish we knew where the story was set (maybe that was said at the beginning but I just missed it?) and I wish the author had described the people and the settings a little more because I like to have really clear visuals when I read, but really those are minor things.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Crossroad Reviews on June 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Criminal was a wonderful book about the issues of loving the wrong person. This is a real to life story of the consequences of being blinded by love. This story will addict you to the very last page! It will take you on roller coster of emotions as well! From anger to celebrating this author knows how to back a punch in her book! I really loved Nikki watching her grow as a character throughout the book. And the side characters were even better! So many books do not put in for the side characters and McVoy did a wonderful job with them! I have read a few other reviews and then stating that they wish the author would have done something more with the ending. Like give us an epilogue about Nikki's future. But I really love the way that the book ended as the future is really what you make of it.
"*I received a copy of this book for free to review, this in no way influenced my review, all opinions are 100% honest and my own."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Criminal is the first book I've read by Terra Elan McVoy and I know it's a branch out from her typical style of writing but I'm definitely planning to check out her other books based on how much I enjoyed this one. It's a quick, gritty read that will leave readers thinking long after they've finished.

Criminal starts off with a bang and while it does fizzle out a bit after that first initial shock, it quickly picks back up and will have readers turning pages as fast as they can. It's not necessarily an action packed story but it's a very gripping read. It's a story full of shocking twists and I didn't see most of them coming. That's what really kept me reading.

The dialogue style threw me off for a little while but I got used to it within the first 30 pages. All of the main characters (Nikki, Dee, Bird) talk like they are uneducated (which they are.) It's not an often used style of dialogue and so I wasn't sure how I felt about it at first. Once I got used to it though, I realized that the story would not have come across the same way without it. It will definitely bother some readers but if you can get past that, the story is worth it.

The characters are not easy to like, at all. Take Nikki, for example. She's blinded her "love" for Dee. All she ever thinks about it what's best for him. She's obsessed with him and it gets really annoying. She completely ignores all his bad qualities and relies on him for her happiness. She gets really whiny and needy when he ignores her (which he does often) and the abusive way he treats her gets completely overlooked. The second half of the story is when I came to actually like her, not a lot, but some. She grows a backbone and finally realizes that maybe Dee isn't as great as she originally thought.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By H. Frederick on May 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I knew the moment that I saw the striking (and utterly perfect) cover of Criminal that it was Terra Elan McVoy, but that it was a very different type of Terra Elan McVoy than readers had ever encountered before. Here, we are not neatly sequestered behind the walls of high school, but very much in the real world. Nikki is a drop out, but one of necessity. She's never met her father, her step-father's in jail, and rather than take care of her daughter Nikki's drug-binging mother only desires to whore her kid out for money. For Nikki, getting a job to support herself and moving in with her friend Bird was a way out and the chance at a future. A future she wanted to spend with Dee. Dee, her boyfriend who had left her once but returned saying he needed her. Dee, the only man who's ever made her feel anything other than used when he touches her.

Criminal is full of sex and desire, the raw and aching kind, not the tender. TEM throws us into the story after the crime has already taken place, when Nikki is set to do anything to protect Dee and very confused and in denial about just what happened when those gunshots went off. This story is a brutal reflection of what people will do when they have passion for another, and the extreme lengths it can take to crawl out of its depths.

What TEM has accomplished so stunningly in Criminal isn't making readers like her Nikki-at least I certainly never did-it's making us feel compassion for her. I can imagine myself seeing a girl like Nikki on the evening news, being arrested for her part in a murder. She may not have pulled the trigger, but she was certainly an accessory. I can imagine myself feeling no pity for that girl and hoping for justice on the part of the victim.
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