The Killing Jar by Nicola Monaghan
Five-year-old Kerrie-Ann Hill has an unusual neighbour. Mrs Ivanovich collects butterflies - she shows Kerrie-Ann how to catch them, how to take care of them, and even, with a jar and some strange-smelling liquid, how to kill them. Kerrie-Ann loves looking at these beautiful, delicate creatures in their cases, and imagining them flying free...This is Kerrie-Ann's story. She doesn't know who her father is, and her mother is a junkie. By the age of 10, she's sent out to sell drugs in school playgrounds. By the age of 12, she's been beaten up by a customer, hidden stolen guns in the dump behind the estate, done time in a girl's home, and already has a taste for whizz. And then there's Mark...her only true friend and the one person she can really trust. Their friendship turns into a powerful love and together they are invincible, riding the euphoric highs of the 80s rave scene. But in their world of dealing and violence, addictions become all-consuming and it's easy to lose control. On this drug-riddled estate with an atmosphere as leathal as the killing jar of the title, it seems that Kerrie-Ann doesn't stand a chance. Unless she can make use of what Mrs Ivanovich taught her all those years ago. In this truly outstanding first novel, Nicola Monaghan has created a scary, unforgettable and original voice in a character who tells her story straight, with courage and control and without self-pity. She perfectly recreates the bleakness, the surreal violence of this world, but makes it human, and shows that love and hope can exist in the most poisoned places.