- Blurb -
Top Girl is the tell-all, true story of a grammar school girl turned county lines drug dealer. Danielle has a safe, happy childhood growing up in West London, but her bright future fades as she turns her back on school for gang life and crime. Betrayed by the police after a brutal gang rape, she finds protection under the wing of organised criminals and falls in love with the local ' top boy' . However, her allegiances bring terror to her doorstep when gun-toting rivals target her flat - and the authorities answer by taking away her baby. Heartbroken, Danielle spirals deeper into gang life and becomes a key player in a sprawling county lines operation, running drugs to satellite towns all over the UK from the gang' s London HQ. The Harrods shopping sprees, designer handbags and hedonistic lifestyle are the envy of her friends, but the good times and cash mask the grim realities of her life. A turning point comes when Danielle is arrested and - with the help of a probation officer - she begins to question whether she really is ' top girl' after all. But after five years deep in the high-earning street hustle, can she really leave it all behind? Danielle' s gritty, emotional, no-holds-barred memoir lays bare the reality of a county lines insider and reveals the truth about life on the frontline of Britain' s biggest drug threat for a generation.
- Reviews -
"I finished Top Girl last night. Whoa! Incredible read and had to remind myself that this isn' t Crime fiction but Crime fact. Harrowing but also inspiring. " * Joy Kluver, author of Last Seen, Broken Girls, Left for Dead * "Myth busting and destroying the stereotypes of who and what a drug dealer looks like and where they come from. You don' t sign up for a gang, they are your friends. An eye opening account of how involved Danielle was in the start of the county lines operation. The ripple effect of one decision. I found the book fascinating and illuminating, a brutally honest account that does not hold anyone else responsible for the decisions that Danielle made. An important book for the younger generation. " * Netgalley * "Danielle Marin' s memoir lays bare the underworld of drug ' trapping. ' I devoured this book in a few days, each page, turning quickly one after another. The tales laid out on the pages are at times incomprehensible and the events ' D' gets involved with are really quite hard to come to terms with. The writing is raw, gritty and so very honest. " * Netgalley * "Top Girl is a non-fiction, candid account of Danielle Marin, a grammar school girl turned county lines drug dealer. Danielle gives a powerful, raw, no holds barred account of life as a gang member and drug dealer. It isn' t a glamorous story, in fact it' s an ugly one, but it' s also an important one, as it shows how bad choices, mixing with the wrong crowd can lead someone down a dark and dangerous path where violence is the everyday norm. Groomed by a gang member from the young age of twelve, it doesn' t take much imagination to see how a young girl could be manipulated and get caught up in the gang life. I really liked the fact that Danielle doesn' t paint herself as a victim. She takes ownership of the path she chose. Danielle is very honest and admits that money was her motivation for drug selling, but she highlights the actual dangers associated with selling drugs, and gives a brutal insight into how and why kids get involved in drugs and drug dealing. I was in awe of Danielle' s strength of character, and that she could make a conscious decision to turn her life round. Top Girl is a powerful story that applies to today' s younger generation. I think every school-age child should read this book as it' s a lesson in the consequences of making bad choices. Highly recommend. " * Netgalley * ' An unmissable insight into the true lives behind the county lines gangs. You should read this. ' * Pippa Crerar, Daily Mirror Political Editor * "I have a feeling this is going to be one of THE books of 2022" * Linda Hill, blogger * "I' m forever grateful to Mardle Books for giving me the opportunity to read some amazing books and this one is quite possibly my most favourite yet. It packs a punch and left me feeling every emotion under the sun. I felt sad, happy, proud and broken but what a journey I went on. Thank you Danielle for allowing us to learn about your life so far. " * Karen and her Books, Blogger * ' This was a gritty and revealing tell all about a girl' s insidious drift into gangs. Growing up on council estate, academically able Danielle leaves her peers behind and goes to grammar school, where she never quite fits. Attracted always to the naughty kids, aged 12 Danielle meets a cool older guy who is a drug dealer. Through him she meets others and gradually becomes embroiled into a normality involving drugs and ganglife. Old before her years, Danielle has a plethora of experiences while still a child and I had to constantly remind myself how young she was, she also reminded us but aspects of the book were truly shocking and more so when reflecting that this was a school girl. The brutal attack mentioned in the description was graphically described and difficult to read about. The response of police was equally shocking and the depressingly familiar tale of ' slut shaming' and implications that ' she asked for it' were made all the more disappointing when recollecting how lod those involved were. Interestingly Danielle repeatedly mentioned the notion of gangs being an external concept and not the view held by those involved. This was curious and got me thinking about the criminalisation and stigmatisation of certain groups - yes this group were absolutely breaking the law, but for Danielle they were also looking out for each other, affording her some protection and earning a living. The story was fascinating and I felt offered a strong insight into what we call, ' gang life' and the establishment of county lines. I was impressed with the author' s honesty and her ability later to turn her experiences into something positive. I was equally impressed by her resilience as so many aspects of her story were sad and traumatic. I think this would be a useful read for those working with young people, if nothing else but to remind that despite appearances and behaviours, children are children. If I was to raise a criticism it would be that at times found some of the language used, the dialect a bit jarring and I think often ' slang' talks struggles to be translated to the written word, but this was a minor point and at times this served to give voice to the author. Thank you to the publisher for the gifted proof copy of Top Girl. I do enjoy memoirs and am very interested in books such as this one, and I was glad that this did not disappoint. Would I recommend this one? Absolutely, it offers a remarkable insight into experiences of children on the margins, vulnerable children and anything that helps them to be better understood and thus helped is invaluable in my opinion. ' * I Loved Reading This, blogger * ' I absolutely loved this book and read it in one day cos I just couldn' t put it down. ' D' gives a true insight into what life as a gang member/drug dealer is like and she tells it in her own words. Its raw and honest. It isn' t a glamorous or a pretty story but I really liked ' D' and the honesty with which she told her story. I liked that she took responsibility for her own actions and didn' t try to play the pity card and even though in a lot of ways she was a victim she didn' t play the victim either. I was born and raised in South London, Brixton to be exact so her story is familiar to me, I' m just glad that I didn' t get drawn into that lifestyle. I' m glad that ' D' found her way out and is now helping other girls and young women, I hope that she has managed to heal from all the trauma in her past and that one day she manages to reconnect with her son. ' * Netgalley * ' I was gripped to Danielle' s story from page one. I felt every emotion possible reading this story of a highly intelligent girl who had everything going for her falling into a different path and making some bad life choices. Some parts were hard to read and deeply upsetting as a mother and a woman, and in honesty I was frustrated with her priorities on a few occasions; that said it is easy to judge when you' re looking in. By the end I was rooting for Danielle. This book is a prime example of how one bad decision or traumatic event can effect your life so dramatically, and a remainder to never judge or label someone. A truly fantastic story. Honest and raw. You deserve every success Danielle, you done your boy proud. ' * Netgalley * ' There are some books that stay with you forever and Top Girl will be one of those for me. Vivid, insightful and extremely powerful, I have thought about this book every day since reading it. Danielle has opened my eyes to a world on my doorstep that I have never seen before. And I feel that I am coming away from it a more informed person. It is truly a must-read for everyone. ' * Jenny Proudfoot, Marie Claire UK Features Editor * ' I found Top Girl to be a heart-breaking tale of how some bad choices or difficult periods in a childhood can snowball and derail a promising child' s life. Should be required reading for those making decisions about the futures of young people, many of whom have little understanding of what these lives are truly like. I suspect in the end Danielle will get every success and bit of happiness she deserves - she just took a slightly longer route to get there. ' * Linda Boa, blogger Crime Worm * ' Top girl is a factual book about a young girl groomed to become a county lines drug dealer. Manipulated and groomed at the age of twelve Danielle is soon drawn into the seedy underworld of drugs. 8 years and up should be offered this book to read as it can show how easily they can be pulled into this world by a few kind words and treats. It is extremely well written, dangerous, and explicit. What a brave lady she is for giving us an insight into the daily life of drugs, the power people have over others the violence they dish out and the strength of Danielle to overcome her ordeal and write a very strong story. I really enjoyed this book and thoroughly recommend it. Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this book. xx' * Netgalley * ' A harrowing read. A good girl gone bad memoir and it definitely shocked me! Danielle is a smart student who attends a grammar school but quickly goes awry. I read this very quickly. Would recommend. ' * Netgalley * ' Top Girl is the true story of how Danielle Marin went from Grammar School girl, to County Lines drug dealer. Danielle, with her working class background, feels like a fish out water at her school and is literally seduced by the apparent glamour of gangs, drugs and easy money. Finding out the hard way that she' s swimming with Sharks, Danielle' s life is one of turmoil and constant clashes as she finds the reality of violence within the gang culture, comes to the attention of the police and finds herself alone with a baby after her family move overseas without her. Hooking up with one of the local "Top Boys" Danielle finds herself heavily involved in the dangerous but highly lucrative world of drugs, guns and dealers. Danielle doesn' t pull any punches, this is raw and often quite shocking as a true story of life for many of London' s young people, beatings, stabbings, shootings, theft, drugs and quite horrific violence casually meted out for what most people would see as very little reason. It is quite a frustrating book as the reader sees Danielle building up to yet another bad choice and shaking their head thinking, "don' t do it", which is exactly why it' s such an important book. The supposed glamour of the gangs and easy drug money is shown to be a squalid, dirty and dangerous business, not least for impressionable and naive young girls. A great read, and a book that should be widely available to teenagers to show the reality of life choices that might seem attractive but really, really aren' t. ' * Netgalley * ' This was a deeply raw, honest and moving memoir of a young girl who grew up in a loving home, had a good childhood, was well educated ended up as East London' s top girl of drug dealing. It showed me how easy it is to get involved with that lifestyle and how quickly things can turn. There were times when I was conflicted in how I felt about Danielle and her life choices however this book shows how not everything in life is black and white and there are many shades of grey in between. This is a particularly poignant tale especially with everything that is happening concerning county lines and gang culture right now. ' * Netgalley * ' I don' t normally read autobiographies but I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could relate to life growing up in London. Danielle was bought up on an estate. A smart girl who went to grammar school but lured into too much too soon. Mixing in a bad crowd, experiencing things from an early age and going down the wrong path. Put into care and then losing her own child. This is a must read. ' * Netgalley * ' Beautiful. Poignant. Phenomenal. This was a beautify read and I learnt so much. I cried and I smiled and there was nothing more that I wanted from this book. Truly a gem. ' * Netgalley * ' I genuinely think that this book should be available in comprehensive schools up and down the country. This searing, moving and , at times, gut wrenching memoir pulls literally no punches in the way Danielle describes how she fell into the county lines culture, the drugs and gang lifestyle, and the systems set in place to help her which did the complete opposite, and drove her deeper. It is a twenty first century cautionary tale told with grit, authenticity and a brutal sense of self awareness that honestly humbled me when I read it. This is a woman with integrity looking back, at identifying the key periods in her life where she was failed by societal structures which should have pulled her away from the lifestyle which she was gradually pulled into. I have a daughter the same age as Danielle was when she got involved in the gang lifestyle. And I had to stop reading several times because it was so very brutal and there is a dignity in how Danielle describes her traumas, it is not something exploitative or graphic which makes what happened to her all the more powerful. It is an incredibly moving , powerful testimony to a woman who has lived a life. She has lived, survived, and sets out her experiences without flinching, without pity, just putting it out there which accentuates how courageous she is, to this reader' s mind. I finished this book in tears, and in awe, wanting to applaud this woman for her strength and the way that she continues to use her experiences to contribute to a justice system which is deeply flawed and not fit for purpose. ' * Rachel Read It, blogger *
- Author Bio -
Danielle Marin grew up in London with first generation immigrant parents. She was accepted into a grammar school, however her life changed completely after a brutal attack led her to involvement with ' gangs' and drug crime. She later enrolled at university and graduated with a 1st. She has since advocated within the criminal justice system for many women: "the hidden victims and participants of organised crime" - and begins her Masters in September 2021.
- Full Details -
|Published: ||3 Mar 2022|
|Published In: ||United Kingdom|
|Imprint: ||Mardle Books|
|Publisher: ||Ad Lib Publishers Ltd|
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