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.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Simon Pulse
Source: Publisher for an honest review
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 world is splintering, and she stands to lose everything. She tries to make it right, but ends up in prison. What follows is a harsh and shocking look at what happens when you are blinded by a bad love. Can Nikki rid herself of her addictive love for Dee and do the right thing?
What I Liked:
- Wow! This book packs a punch! There is nothing feel good or fluffy about this read. It is gut wrenching, brutally honest and sad. The story follows eighteen year old Nikki, a girl who has had a tough life, but somehow she has managed to keep her head above water and she is doing okay for herself. She has a neglectful, drug addicted mother who is selfish and cares for no one. Nikki, though, works at the hair salon and stays with her best friend, Bird. She helps Bird around the house and with her small daughter. The one problem, she is blinded by love for Dee. Her bad boy boyfriend is trouble. Their love is nothing but desperation and need. Dee murders someone and takes the unknowing Nikki along as the get away driver. He cows her into telling lies to the police and uses his love against her. Nikki then ends up in jail and she loses everything. She must face some harsh truths as she fights her way back. Her journey is difficult, raw and it will set anyone straight, but it is also a reminder that sometimes good people get caught in bad places all in the name of love.
- It is hard to watch Nikki flounder and lose her life, especially when it is really not her fault. The only mistake she made was loving the wrong person. How many of us are guilty of that? The romance in this one is not even a romance it is more sex, manipulation, betrayal and heartbreak.
- Nikki's time in prison is a turning point and a period of growth for her. She struggles with the truth of her situation and learns to let go of her addiction to her boyfriend. She has some difficult decisions to make as she must choose between betraying her boyfriend or keeping her mouth shut. I liked watching her grow as she picks up the pieces and finds her way while she is in prison. She basically has no one since her boyfriend is in jail, her best friend abandoned her, and her mother is too strung out to care. It is a sobering experience to think of being in jail without anyone on the outside who cares about you. Her time in jail is eye opening as you learn just how awful life can be without privileges and a few luxuries. Thankfully, Nikki pulls herself up and begins to put the pieces back together.
And The Not So Much:
- Dee remained a mystery to me. There is so little detail on him. I didn't even have a clear picture of what he looked like. He is controlling and has little regard for Nikki, though she doesn't know it. In the beginning, he threatened her with physical violence, but it was not clear whether he ever acted on his threats. Did he hit Nikki? Was that just one more way for him to control her? Was he in a gang? Did he do drugs? I would like this character to be better developed.
- I snatched at any spark of hope, but in all honestly there is pretty much none. The further the book goes, the deeper down the hole things spiral. This book is dark, harsh and certainly not for everyone.
- This is a New Adult book. There is plenty of mature content in it such as: sex, drug use, murder, and prison time. This is definitely for older readers only.
- I wished that there was an Epilogue at the end. It appears that Nikki might be on a good path, but nothing is resolute. The book ends and you don't know Nikki's fate. I would love to know how she ended up five years down the road. My heart hurt for her and I truly hope she makes it!
Criminal is a short, quick read that will have an impact on you. There is nothing sweet or nice about this book. It examines the harsh realities of how detrimental a bad love affair based on lust and control can be. Watch as a young girl's world falls apart as her boyfriend uses her without her knowledge to commit a crime. This certainly isn't for everyone as it is brutal and dark. It is definitely a book that will stick with me for days to come.
"They don't tell you that jail is boring."
"You think you the only one? Sad? Missing? Lonely? Regretful? You're already like an infection. Everybody sees it."
"And just because you're not understood doesn't mean you're wrong."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Armchair BEA Day Five: Keeping It Real
Design credit: Emily of Emily's Reading Room
What exactly does "keeping it real" mean?
For me, "keeping it real" means being honest and reliable. I try to write credible, honest and constructive reviews so my blog readers will feel like they can trust me. In all my reviews, I provide points on what I liked about the book and parts that could be improved. I always try to keep my criticisms constructive, meaning I offer my insight on things that I think can be improved. I am never cruel or scathing in my reviews. Keeping real means constantly striving to provide the best and most reliable reviews and posts that I can on my blog.
How do you not only grow an audience, but how do you keep them coming back for more?
My blog is all about quality. I don't promote books on my blog (i.e. book blasts, cover reveals etc.) unless I have read the book, or I am familiar with the author and have read the previous books in the series. I feel very strongly about the content on my blog. I won't promote something that I can't get behind and approve. That is why you don't see the cover reveals and such on my blog, because I am not comfortable with putting material on my blog unless I have personally read or reviewed it. If it is on my blog, I have read it! I think this will keep my audience coming back for more because they know they can trust me to provide quality posts. My blog is not an advertising billboard and I take it very seriously. This is what works for me, and I realize that what works for everyone else is different. Bottom line: Run your blog how you want and have fun.
If you have been around for years, how do you keep your material fresh? How do you continue to keep blogging fun?
My blog is almost two years old, so I am not an old blog, but I am getting there. I try and keep my material fresh by reviewing new releases. I also try to generate discussion on my posts, especially on Tell Me Something Tuesday where I discuss issues that are pertinent for the day. As far as keeping blogging fun, I am trying to back off from tours and taking on too many ARCs because I find that I seldom have time to read what I want to read and that is frustrating. Taking a step back will hopefully help me clear my schedule so I can enjoy some leisure reading.