Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Criminal” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.55  ·  Rating details ·  819 ratings  ·  162 reviews
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
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Simon Pulse (first published April 8th 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Criminal, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Kaitlyn Botts I fail to see how this is a question instead of a general review or comment.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  819 ratings  ·  162 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 wh ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
The cover is sleek elegant and gorgeous which initially drew me to it but i wasnt thrilled with the main character Nikki.
Nikki did everything for her boyfriend, i wasnt a fan of how attached she was to him. He was stubborn, bossy or rude at any moment and she was head of heels in love.
Lottie Eve
Nov 07, 2012 rated it liked it
3.5-- A strong, solid novel, but I had a few quibbles.

I believe that there are different ways to love someone. After reading so many books, watching so many movies and T.V. shows, I think that I have found out about many of those ways. But Criminal is the first novel that I have read that features such a dark, startling honest story about the consequences of being utterly blinded by love. But awhile this is a strong and solid story, I did have a few quibbles here and there.

The Things That I Like
Jenni Arndt
Nov 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-ebook
Being a heavy reader I feel it’s safe to say that I have read all kinds of romances. I have read some sweet ones, some boring ones and some pretty twisted ones. CRIMINAL definitely falls into the twisted category. As we meet Nikki and see how helplessly (and unconditionally) in love (or maybe a better word is obsessed) she is with Dee I found myself hating the romance in this book and pitying Nikki so badly, but that’s exactly how I was supposed to feel.

I could not empathize with Nikki personall
May 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Three Stars: A brutally honest look at what happens when you are blinded by love.

Nikki awakens to the harsh tones of the cell phone. The ring seems to be barking doom doom doom.....Dee falters out of bed and answers. The police want him to come in for questioning. Dee insists that Nikki accompany him, assuring her everything will be fine as long as she sticks to the story. They rehearse the story over and over on the way to the police station. But everything is not fine. Soon Nikki's fragile wo
Trae Brookins
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: YA Readers;
Recommended to Trae by: Rebecca S.
I just finished reading the advanced readers' copy of Criminal. Love! (Personal disclaimer -- and bragging rights: Terra is a close personal friend, and so I'm not the most objective reviewer.) Yes, I love it. And the book is about what love can make us do--it's about one of the most common types of love -- the unhealthy type that make us idiots.

While this is the most adult of her books so far, it is still one well-matched to the audience that she's most concerned with: teens and young adult rea
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Review originally published on Rather Be Reading Blog:

Criminal was one of those books I had to hide in another room so I wouldn’t be tempted to keep picking it up way way past my bedtime.

Terra Elan McVoy, queen of summer camp and girls being friends with boys, has created such a tense, horrifying, addicting read in 288 short pages. Nikki is a down on her luck teenager with an addict for a mother, finding a sense of home living with her best friend, Bird, and her baby daughter. But her whole life
Rashika (is tired)
This is not a book for everyone. Not everyone will love it as much as I did and some people will find it boring. But for me this book was so beautiful. I am not sure there are enough words to describe the beauty of this book.

The other day I was trying to explain what happened in this book to someone and I ended up rambling. I am not sure how I’ll manage to write this review.

When I requested this book I was kind of scared because it sounded so intense and I wasn’t wrong. This isn’t YA, its somewh
S. E.
Sep 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
Honestly I didn't even finish the book. Nikki was just so blinded by her love for her boyfriend which made her stupid, in my opinion, not loyal. Just the way she was acting pissed me off I couldn't go through with the book.
When I first read this book (around nine months ago now, Jesus), the only Terra Elan McVoy book I'd read was After the Kiss. That was far from a perfect novel, but the biggest thing that struck me was the realism of it. And here, McVoy continues to show that this is her strength. Her books are extremely realistic - she adamantly refuses to romanticize or dramatize anything. That's easy to do when you're writing about liking boys, but I was a little nervous about something that's much more likely ...more
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Read Review at Bewitched Bookworms

Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy

When Love Makes Blind...

Nikki has a sad life and lives in a part of the city where danger and crimes are just around the corner. Having horrible parents (who are not allowed to be called parents at all) Nikki lives with a motherly friend and focuses nearly completely Dee. She loves Dee with all her heart and this love feels rather desperate as he is the only thing in Nikki's live that feels like a light in the dark. Nikki would do anything for Dee and .. I me
*Actual rating: 2.5*

I’ll start with the positive. Criminal had a really nice cover. When you first pick it up you notice the sleek, simple cover with the bullet cleanly slicing through the title. While you aren’t supposed to judge a book by it’s cover I am totally guilty of doing that and this cover was appealing. If only the inside was as great as the outside.

Now to the negative. I COULD NOT STAND the main character, Nikki. Everything she did was for her boyfriend and even when he lands her in
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Review originally posted on my blog

I am a massive fan of Terra Elan McVoy's books - they're relatable and realistic and fun and moving. So was I a little bit worried at first before I started Criminal. I knew right away that it was going to be vastly different from her previous books and I was nervous that I wouldn't like it as much.

But you guys, Terra Elan McVoy nailed Criminal. It's such an emotionally-wrought story full of bad decisions and confused ch
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a book about what lengths a person would go through for love. It wasn't a brilliant masterpiece but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Nikki was insecure. She needed to feel wanted and adored. And even though her boyfriend, Dee, treated her like shit she did everything he asked her too.

Nikki's best friend Bird warned her he wasn't a good guy. But she didn't care, because she thought they were in love.

Cold, manipulative Dee killed a man and used Nikki as an accomplice. It was painful to re
Apr 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won a copy of this book through a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway!

(3.75 STARS)

I ended up enjoying this story way more than I thought I would. The first quarter of the story was a struggle for me because I just couldn't take how blinded by love Nikki was for Dee. It irked me. But as I read on, the story picked up, and I kind of understood her thick-headedness when it came to this stupid boy. I was pleased to see her grow up and take responsibility for her shit as the story progressed. Good rea
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: racist
A whole lot of Yikes.

Also, you'll probably have multiple hearings to attend when you're accused of a felony crime and multiple times to change your plea? Georgia's criminal justice system surely isn't that different from Florida's and I remember the process well.

See, four guys broke into my family's home, beat the shit out of my brother, and stole a bunch of our stuff in 2009. Three quickly pleaded guilty and one kept holding out. That guy nearly went to trial and had multiple hearings over the
Gretchen Hohmeyer
I will be the first person to admit that I’m a fairly easy to please reader in a lot of big ways. Sadly, though I appreciated this book’s brutal honesty and unflinching storytelling, it failed me a couple of big ways.

The book opens up with a phone call. Dee and Nikki wake up to the news that the police want to talk to him about something. He tells her to follow, and she dutifully does. They make up a story on the way there to hide the truth: a cop was killed, Dee killed him, and Nikki drew the g
Feb 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, for-review, edelweiss
Originally posted at City of Books

Criminal is an enjoyable YA crime novel, with great writing and an intriguing backstory. This book is similar to others I’ve read this year, but at the same time very different. It addresses some pretty important issues, and I think the way Terra has done that is really effective.

However, the fact that I simply detested the characters dampened my enjoyment of the novel. I felt no connection to any of them. I spent most of the novel yelling at Nikki inside my hea
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Nikki's head is a sad and confusing place to be, but that is where the reader must remain throughout Criminal. I, for one, am glad that we only got her point of view because I'm not sure I would have felt so much sympathy for her had we watched it from the outside. That whole inside view of the evolution of poor decisions, desperation, and tragedy is what made this book so gripping. I think that if you grow up in a house where you are loved and valued, you take for granted how much that confiden ...more
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
By Terra Elan McVoy.

“Crimes” was published in May 7, 2013. Nikki's life is far from perfect, but at least she has Dee. Her friends tell her that Dee is not 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. N
Kelly Hager
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Terra Elan McVoy's first novel, Pure, is one of my favorite books ever. Her next two were good but nowhere near as great as Pure was (I haven't read her fourth novel, the one before this one). And so when I was accepted for the blog tour for Criminal, I was excited and nervous. I wasn't sure if she'd ever write something I loved as much as I do Pure.

This one isn't up to Pure status, either, but it was close.

Reading this as a grownup, I wanted to shake Nikki. It was SO OBVIOUS that Dee is bad new
Rhiannon Johnson

With no family to lean on, Nikki is newly 18 and mixed up with Dee. Blinded by love she makes an irreversible mistake and lands in the middle of a homicide investigation. When police start putting pressure on her only friend, Bird, Nikki knows it's time to start talking. Speaking to the police, she doesn't confess the events of August 24th, not exactly. But the police have information that she doesn't know.

It is uncomfortable hearing Nikki beg Dee for attention or to call her because one can re
Jeff Crompton
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Okay, I know Terra McVoy, and sometimes play gigs with her husband, who is a fine musician. But I hadn't really planned to read any of her books - I'm 55 years old, and not exactly her target audience, since she's a "young adult" writer. But the reviews of Criminal intrigued me, so I decided to give it a try.

Well, talent wins out. I quickly became drawn into the story, almost against my will. Criminal is realistic and satisfying, if not "happy." Some of the other reviewers are annoyed by how muc
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ok, disclaimer, I have met the author and so therefore feel predisposed to like her books. That being said this book is a great read. We meet Nichola a street smart young woman, whose boyfriend asks her to lie to the police. She gladly does this, because she loves her boyfriend and sees them having a future together. As the book progresses Nichola wonders why he wants her to lie & what really did happen on that Friday night. She needs to make choices about what's right & wrong and does h ...more
I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. Is "enjoy" the right word? Maybe it's better to say that I appreciated it. While Nikki's story takes her need for male approval to an extreme most girls wouldn't, I was struck by how much I recognized her logic from thoughts I've had myself. The book was more graphic than I would prefer (maybe should be labeled New Adult?), but the message is one that I wish every young woman could internalize.
Julianna Helms
May 12, 2013 marked it as to-read-or-not-to-read
I want to read this, but I have a feeling that I'll hate hate hate the main character. I know this type of stuff happens, and I'm not being ignorant towards it. It's just that from the reviews I have a gut reaction that this one is going to frustrate me to no end, so I'm probably going to pass on this one.
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
A good read. I think it is a YA book recommended to me by the author when I stopped into the children's book store she managed before becoming a full time write. If you like Orange is the New Black, you will like this.
Beyond the Pages
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Powerful and raw! This book will grab your attention and keep it. It was a different type of read, but terribly profound on so many levels.
Lily Cox
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am still very interested into the book and it is getting better and better as I dive deeper into the book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Manicpixiedreamgirl
  • Uses for Boys
  • Then You Were Gone
  • The S-Word
  • Over You
  • Me, Him, Them, & It
  • The Corner of Bitter and Sweet
  • White Lines
  • 17 & Gone
  • That Time I Joined the Circus
  • Five Summers
  • Burning
  • Undercurrent
  • Thorn Abbey
  • Our Song
  • Canary
  • The Vow
  • Fault Line
See similar books…
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 went to college at a small, fantastic school (with a super writing program) called St. Andrews Presbyterian College. I got my Master's degree in Creative Writing from Florida State. I have worked as an event coordinator at a major chain bookstore; ...more
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »