This controversial YA novel about heroin addiction won the Carnegie Medal. Now considered a trailblazer, it was published in 1996 by Andersen Press. The American title is Smack. I remember seeing the edgy cover when browsing the teen section of the bookshop. It showed a syringe with a dandelion at the tip of it. The significance of the dandelion isn’t obvious unless you read the book. I first read it in 2002. It would have been from the library. When I re-read it in 2016, I was impressed with the realism and boldness of the writing.
I can see why the story would divide opinion. It might give impressionable readers some unwise ideas. On the other hand, they should be able to read fiction which reflects their interests and behaviours. Junk also serves as a warning against trying heroin. By the time I first read it, drugs awareness was increasing in secondary schools in the UK, following the highly publicised death of 21-year-old Rachel Whitear.