A Twisty YA Thriller

Young Adult - Thriller
212 Pages
Reviewed on 08/27/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite

Crush is a psychological thriller written by Niki Keith. Phoebe Hall is having many problems coming to terms with her father's death. Her school problems are just as problematic, with Laura Preston welcoming her as the newest member of the volleyball team and newest Pink Lady, much to the chagrin of the student crushing on her, Mimi Sanchez. When death threats start filling her phone, Phoebe wonders who is suddenly stalking her but quickly solves that mystery when her tires are slashed. Laura's ex-boyfriend, Zander, seems obsessed with Phoebe and fantasizes about many sick things, including murder. A new teacher, Liam, befriends Phoebe after almost running her over at school, and his nephew, Ethan, develops a crush on Phoebe, presenting problems. News of Phoebe's favorite teacher's murder turns the school's rumor mill on its head. Murders surround Phoebe at every turn, leaving her questioning her sanity while pointing fingers at anyone who appears suspicious. When the killer is finally caught red-handed, all hell breaks loose.

Well... I haven't cried that hard in a while from reading any book. Niki Keith presented an incredible (yet terrifying) tale of a murderous psychopath with one hell of an agenda. The friendships between the students and teachers at the school are bizarre and quite complicated. It took the entire duration of the book for me to learn the killer's identity, their reasons, and their back story, which finally put the missing pieces into place. So many criminal elements are mentioned in the book, from rapes and murder to neglectful parenting and convicted felons who are innocent of the crimes that led to their imprisonment, all of which had me on the edge of my seat. I find myself going to bed tonight mourning for a book character who I feel deserves a funeral. I recommend Crush to all fans of the teenage murder mystery genre and feel this book should be stocked in all good town libraries and bookstores. I hope to read more from Niki Keith in the future.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Crush by Niki Keith is billed as a twisty young adult thriller. Phoebe is ready to make a new start and leave her past behind. Joining Richmond High as the new girl, she soon makes friends and gets involved in the volleyball team and the cheerleader squad. What she wants, though, is to be part of the Pink Ladies club. When she receives an invite from Laura to join, Phoebe is over the moon, but she’s not prepared for what happens. The more popular Phoebe becomes, the more jealous Laura gets. Laura is meant to be the number one, and there’s no room for another. Laura will do what it takes to get rid of Phoebe. She’ll do anything, and she won't stop until she destroys Phoebe.

Crush by Niki Keith is a thrilling story, a real page-turner that will keep you on your toes all the way through. The twists and turns will take you on an edgy journey, the suspense building until the end. It’s an unpredictable plot, the best kind, as there’s always something to thrill you. This is a strong narrative with an action-packed plot and some amazing characters. These girls are high school at its best or worst, as the case may be. If you’ve ever watched Pretty Little Liars, you’ll love this book. The characters are entirely believable, and you’ll either love them or hate them. This isn’t just a thrilling account, though. It also covers topics like mental illness, lack of self-esteem, jealousy, and bullying - everything that girls of that age experience. It’s not a story for the faint-hearted, but it is a gripping, enjoyable tale that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Pikasho Deka

Crush is a gripping young adult thriller novel by Niki Keith. Phoebe Hall is the new girl at Richmond High. Plagued by trauma over her father's untimely demise, Phoebe is determined to begin anew and joins the cheerleading squad, which leads her to the Pink Ladies Club (PLC). Soon, she becomes a part of the popular clique led by the reigning queen bee, Laura. However, as Phoebe's popularity rises and she draws the attention of the school's star quarterback, Laura wants payback. After the shocking murder of the school counselor, Phoebe unwittingly becomes embroiled in a murder investigation. Meanwhile, she begins a relationship with a boy named Ethan. But when students start becoming the victims of a deranged killer, everyone's eyes turn toward Phoebe. Can she figure out the killer's identity and clear her name?

Crush is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that will have you biting your nails every step of the way. Author Niki Keith delivers a pageturner of a novel you simply don't want to put down until you've finished reading. The plot twists and turns its way to a scintillating climax, with plenty of thrills, teenage romance, and drama along the way. Keith's narrative is thoroughly captivating, featuring characters with underlying layers to their outer personas that make them riveting to read. Phoebe is a complex protagonist who isn't devoid of flaws of her own. It makes her feel like a real-life teenager. I really enjoyed the inner politics between the members of the clique and their cruel games. All in all, this is a fantastic thriller for young adult readers.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

Niki Keith brings Richmond High to life in Crush. Phoebe had risen to become one of the most popular girls in the school, excelling at her work and gaining positions on both the cheerleading and volleyball teams as well as being admitted to membership of the exclusive Pink Lady Club. Her life seemed to be back on track after it had taken a dramatic turn when she hallucinated and attempted suicide following her father’s death. After a few disturbing texts, revealing videos, and catty remarks, her elite position at the school crumbled when some members of her group died. Phoebe looked at her list of remaining friends and acquaintances, searching for the one who could be the murderer.

Niki Keith has done a brilliant job of lining up vibrant personalities in her novel. Reading Crush was like watching a movie or television series as the characters and scenes came to life. Everyone had secrets, and none of them was as perfect as the façade they presented. From a lover’s triangle and queen bee gossip to back-alley hookups and shadowy murderers, this is a story you will not want to put down. Hidden clues are scattered throughout the narrative, but readers will find a unique twist at the end. Everyone is a suspect, and no one is safe as Keith kills off her characters without apology. This fast-paced thriller will keep you on your toes. With hints of romance, mystery, and murder, this young adult tale will be top on your list.

Alma Boucher

Crush: A Twisty YA Thriller by Niki Keith describes how Phoebe tried to commit suicide after her father’s death. Phoebe was trying to put her past behind her when she started at Richmond High. Phoebe talked to Miss G about her past and was given a journal to document her journey as she took back her life. Phoebe became a cheerleader and joined the volleyball team, but her greatest accomplishment was becoming a part of Laura’s club, the Pink Ladies. Laura gave Phoebe a bracelet as a welcoming gift. Jealousy soon developed in the club, and someone wanted Phoebe to suffer. She received a threatening message, and that was the start of a series of nasty events. Would Phoebe be able to find the truth before she lost herself?

Crush is complex and exciting. Niki Keith addressed themes such as bullying, assault, violence, mental health, and sexual harassment. It was a fast-paced and concise read. I was hooked from the beginning. The suspense kept me on the edge of my seat, and I could not put it down. With all the twists and turns, I never knew what to expect next. I could not predict who the guilty person was, and I was guessing until the end. The characters were well-developed and authentic. The story revolves around Phoebe but is told from different perspectives. The chapters flowed into each other and were easy to read. The story was well written, and the ending was a big surprise. It was a major twist, and I did not see it coming.