Per my post on LCSH Watch 2009, Week 51, I discovered this book via its subject heading, FEMALE JUVENILE DELINQUENTS—FICTION. If I were assigning subject headings, I wouldn't necessarily have picked that one, though. I might have gone with one of the cataloger's other choices PROBLEM FAMILIES -- ENGLAND -- NOTTINGHAM -- FICTION, but more to the point, CHILDREN OF DRUG ADDICTS. Essentially, I would have been more loving to the book's protagonist, Kerrie-Ann (Kez) Hill, whom we follow from the age of five to eighteen. She does a lot of illegal things and more than her share of drugs, but I don't see her as a delinquent, and neither does author Nicola Monaghan.
This is a young adult novel, and as such, you might expect a wayward-youth-discovers-the-error-of-her-ways-and-overcomes-her-problems or a wayward-youth-gets-what's-coming (perhaps after discovering-the-error-of-her-ways, to make it all the more tragic). I don't want to spoiler this for you, so I'll just say that while our heroine does learn something, there's nothing trite about it. The characters, even the kind of evil ones, are shown understanding, if not quite forgiveness. You can tell that Kez's world is one Monaghan knows well, and neither romanticizes nor despises. If I gave stars to my book reviews, The Killing Jar would get a lot of them.