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The Killing Jar

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  513 ratings  ·  78 reviews
In her stunning debut, Nicola Monaghan lays bare the gritty underbelly of life in Nottingham, England.

Very early on, Kerrie-Ann begins to dream of the world beyond the rough council estate where she lives. Her father is nowhere to be found, her mother is a junkie, and she is left to care for her little brother. Clever, brave, and frighteningly independent, Kerrie-Ann has
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 3rd 2007 by Scribner (first published April 25th 2006)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  513 ratings  ·  78 reviews

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Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pub-2006
Just look at this cover. It has a pretty girl and a butterfly. I wonder what this book might be about?
As it turns out it’s about drugs, sex, violence, murders, abortions, prostitution and suicides. Aw, that’s cute. The only thing missing are ponies.

This is how the narrator describes the birth of her little brother:

“I shrugged. Mam’d always slept a lot and I’d never thought much of it. I looked at the baby, his mouth open and tongue wriggling as he screamed. I noticed he used his whole body to c
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This story is gritty, painfully realistic, sad, uncompromising and hard hitting.

It is the story of Kerrie-Ann Hill, a young girl forced to survive in a world dominated by drugs from the day she was born.

It is set on a housing estate in Nottingham, England. She lives with her mother and brother to start with and she tells her tale shedding and adding people as we go along.

This is written in the voice of Kerrie-Ann so if you struggle with local dialects you may not like this one but I personally t
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Addictive (intended) reading! This is a gripping story about addiction to drugs, live as an addict and a dealer. And about escape! Impressive!
Ilyhana Kennedy
Nov 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the most outstanding book I've read in a long time. I give it 6 out of 5. A stunning piece of work, more so as it's a first novel. Obviously a gifted and intelligent writer.
The story is terrible in the truest sense. Original in Nottingham accent from page 1 to the end, the story is steeped in authenticity, horrific as it is. The events steer inevitably towards a crescendo of fear.
Having said that, I recommend it as mandatory reading for this day and age that we live in. The poverty drive
Jan 17, 2016 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: books-i-wrote
I won't rate this book, as I wrote it myself so might be a little bit biased. However, since you are allowed to review your own book on Goodreads, I thought I'd say a few words. I started this book in the middle of my MA studies at Nottingham Trent University. I'd lived away from my home city for about a decade, and just moved back. It made me see the city in a new light; as both an insider and an outsider, which was really quite strange. A writing exercise where we were asked to draw a map insp ...more
Nov 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
This stunning, darkly disturbing novel gripped me from the opening page, with its strong voice and its fully-realised world. I was changed by reading it, I can't stop thinking about it, and if this is not the mark of a great book, I don't know what is.
Jan 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant - bleak as hell but worth it. At last an English female writer with a real edge.
Jim Sullivan

I liked this book at lot. It was hard hitting, disturbing, in a horrible society but had uplifting tones to it.

Kerri-Anne is a girl who grows up in a drug fueled society where drugs affected every facet of her life from the earliest age. Drugs, rape, violence and murder are the norm. Kerrie-Anne is abused by the environment and also inflicts abuse on others. Aspects of her though have merit and we see the good emerge from the evil.

Initially I struggled reading this book because of the colloq
Jan 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not for the faint-hearted
Once you've read far enough into this book not to notice that it's written "Irish like", you won't be able to put it down. In fact, I was even wondering whether Kerrie-Ann (or Kez) actually lived and had this extremely tragic life. Fortunately the cover insert tells you that Monaghan is a college graduate, i.e. not someone that's high on "E" and living with a junkie for a boyfriend ... which in a "pupae" is what this book is about. Because of the symbolism of a killing jar though, there is much ...more
Richard Bromhall
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was unlike any other I have read - it's gritty and uncompromisingly realistic. It's edgy, dark, and disturbing, but I never felt like the author was purposefully manipulating the reader's emotions. In other books, there are certain scenes that are obviously written to force the reader to feel pity, disgust, anger, etc. While the book definitely inspires some of these emotions, it all seems authentic. The main character is expertly written - she grows and changes over the course of the ...more
Jun 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
UGH, most of the reviews of this book say that in real life, if this girl were in this situation, it would not be that bad, and that the author has exaggerated the effects of this type of life on a person. This is a grave misconception. Not only would the life of someone in this situation be "that bad" it would likely be much, much worse.
If Kerrie Anne were in the same situation she is in this book, there would have been similar events. She would likely to have been raped multiple times, and h
Feb 09, 2008 rated it liked it
This book is not for everyone-it is very compelling but a very tough subject. The main character, Kez, tells her story of growing up the un-cared for daughter of a heroin junkie in London. She is smart and dreams of escaping from her awful situation, but just gets deeper and deeper into it. She grows up way too fast, dealing and using drugs while still in elementary school. You keep rooting for her, hoping that the spark of humanity within her isn't completely snuffed. This particular story is f ...more
Jul 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book came in perfect timing.
Jul 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Alan by: my daughter
Shelves: novels
My 18 year old daughter passed this on to me, and I enjoyed it, if 'enjoyed' is the right word. Powerful, gritty, as other reviewers have said. A good read!
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
When I first began reading this, I couldn't work out what accent our narrator should have. Once I figured out where the story took place and learned the lingo, it was much easier to get into. I guess I didn't pay much attention to the synopsis of the book, because it says where the story takes place in the very first paragraph.

Five-year-old Kez, short for Kerrie-Anne, spends a lot of time with the woman next door, an elderly german entomologist. This is where she learns about a world outside of
Mar 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Liked this alot. The dialect takes a bit of getting used to but once you get into it, it begins to flow. The author jumps right into the disturbing details of life in a very tough neighborhood and introduces death right away. It's about destruction, and how difficult it is not to self-destruct in a world that basically pushes you in that direction. Doing what you have to do to survive no matter how wrong it is, how hurt you get, what horrible things you need to do. But also shows a glimmer of ho ...more
May 13, 2010 rated it liked it
I had such mixed feelings about this book. It's a quick read and it definitely sucks you in, but it sometimes seems so over-the-top. Set in a British housing estate, it tells the story of a young girl who's born into a life of drugs and crime. I found it hard to believe that some of these events could really take place. But the narrative voice was so strong I was hooked and kept reading.
I also had mixed feelings about the ending. I felt like it was heading in one direction, but then it went a di
Sep 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The Killing Jar is the story of a young girl, who grows up in house filled with drugs, violence and addiction. Her slow transformation from young girl who still believes in a different life, into the life of a psychotic addict is mesmerizing and disturbing. Perhaps the most effective element of this novel is her utter likability, even as she commits a series of increasingly violent crimes as she tries to escape the lifestyle.
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I found this book absolutely riveting. Perhaps because I grew up in Nottingham so could relate up many if the places in the book but I just loved the hope triumphing over desolation element of the story.

The main character was faulted but you just couldn't help rooting for her and wanting her to have a better chance in life.
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Considering the dark nature of this story, it's actually a quick read. It is gripping at times and you also feel sorry for Kez because of the upbringing she's had. I live very close to the Aspley estate in Nottingham so I could picture myself in Kez's place as she wanders the streets to the shops and to Six ways. Overall the story was good.
J Danz
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a powerful read by an author with an authentic, brutally honest voice.
P.A. Pursley
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: okay
I am not sure where or when or even why I purchased it. It is not my usual kind of book. I also feel bad about giving it a 2-star rating and I only give it that because of how depressing it is. The story line is interesting but dark. It is a book of hope but through some very troubling issues. And Monaghan wrote this based upon real lives growing up in the low income housing of England. It is very well-written and beautiful but heart-wrenching.

This is the story of Kerrie-Ann who is being raised
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This one took me by surprise. I found it in a box of books on clearance and was no disappointed. Though the name implies something sinister, I still had no idea how captivated I would be with this book. The only issue I had was that it was written from the point of view of the main character and in an accent which took me a while to figure out.
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this because it's set in the area that I grew up in so a lot of the streets and places were known to me. I also loved that it was (partially anyway) written phonetically because I felt a greater connection to the characters... They sounded just like me!
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic read, recommended.

Jane Bohannon
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this, but maybe as I am from Nottingham, where the book is based, so the language suited me. story thoughful and well presented, it is of our times, so a recommend.
Amber Jerome
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
Okay, this book. Where do I even begin? Well, if you read my blog then you know that I say this for every review. I am a character driven reader. I need characters that are so developed and so well written that I feel like they are an old childhood friend. I need that relationship with the characters in order to love a book.

Well, Nicola Monaghan, hats off to you. You did such an amazing job with Kerrie-Ann. Within reading just pages in, I wanted to hug her and protect her as her five year old se
It's tough when a book comes highly recommended to you and you don't like it. I always feel a bit guilty. But this book was so tedious and vexing that there is no way I can even pretend to like it. It wasn't the dark subject matter than turned me off. True, it isn't my usual type. But I don't mind the occasional dark and gritty novel if it is well written. But this was a debacle from start to finish.

To start with the colloquial slang made ease-of-reading almost nonexistent. I've read other thin
Nov 21, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
Kerrie-Anne Hill lived a full life before the age of 18. Raised in Nottingham estates by a junkie mother who ran out when Kez was 16, a series of "uncles" in and out of the house, and a little brother left to raise...all Kez could do was find ways to fend for herself. Her junkie boyfriend moved in shortly after her mom left. Living the drug life, of dealing, using and a series of murders, Kerrie-Anne fights to be set free reguardless of the price.

I picked this book up simply because it was a ha
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Nicola Monaghan won a Betty Trask Award, the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award and the Waverton Good Read for her first novel, The Killing Jar. Her latest book is The Troll: The Boy with the Sliver of Ice in his Heart and is the first in a trilogy. She also wrote The Night Lingers and other stories, Starfishing and The Okinawa Dragon and has been published widely in newspapers, magazines and an ...more

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