We’re familiar with the classic love story --- a young man and woman caught up in a passion that defies societal expectations and the wishes of family and friends. To them, it seems that nothing can tear them apart, even though it looks like everyone and everything is set against them being happy together.
"CRIMINAL is a tough read, not because the story is complex, but because it’s filled with characters facing harsh realities...Terra Elan McVoy does an excellent job of making her characters capable of coping, but still vulnerable."
Or at least, that is what it seems to Nikki, the female half of these star-crossed lovers. She is madly in love with Dee, her on-again-off-again boyfriend. While she knows that some of his answers don’t quite add up, she’s willing to put her doubts aside for the boy she loves, the boy she knows she will always be with, the boy who will never let her down.
But as it turns out, the couple’s situation may not be quite the runaway romance it first appears. After one crazy afternoon that she can’t figure out, Nikki is faced with a new reality. Dee isn’t the devoted boy who wants and needs only her. He is madly in love, but it’s with someone else. As Nikki tries to understand exactly what has been going on since they got back together, she realizes how much of a stranger Dee actually is.
For a long time, Dee had been using Nikki’s love and devotion to protect himself, making her a pawn in an elaborate, and dangerous, game. And as his plan comes to fruition, Nikki is caught in the crosshairs. Unable to dispel her vision of their life together, Nikki endangers others in an attempt to save Dee. When she ultimately realizes his betrayal, she’s already been party to a serious crime --- a crime that could land her in jail for life.
CRIMINAL is a tough read, not because the story is complex, but because it’s filled with characters facing harsh realities. Nikki’s life is filled with dangerous neighborhoods, parents who don’t take care of their children like they should, drugs and alcohol and a heartbreaking desire to hold onto someone who will protect you. Terra Elan McVoy does an excellent job of making her characters capable of coping, but still vulnerable.
Nikki is surrounded by a hard world, but she is doing her best. When that’s not good enough, she faces real consequences. The reality of what Dee has done, and the part that Nikki has played in his actions, is not sugar coated, and Nikki’s realization of her own guilt is a wretched process. The girl at the end of the book is not fully redeemed; she has not been made whole by Dee or by taking responsibility for what she has done. All we know for sure is that Nikki now understands that you don’t have to feel yourself a CRIMINAL to commit a crime.
Reviewed by Rebecca Kilberg on June 3, 2013
- Publication Date: April 8, 2014
- Genres: Young Adult 14+
- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Simon Pulse
- ISBN-10: 1442421630
- ISBN-13: 9781442421639