As an English teacher I always try to read new "children's" fiction. Melvin Burgess always delivers books which cut to the bone and challenge views of society or at least open our eyes to society and 'Nicholas Dane' does just that. This book is hard hitting - it features abuse, violence, rape and there is a lot of strong swearing - but don't let this put you off!
This book will compel you to ask questions - how did this ever happen and who was responsible for it happening!?! Burgess writes with a total honesty, without gratification.
For anyone that has ever experienced a life like the main protagonists, or for those that haven't, his experiences will resonate far longer than it will take you to read the book. Hard-hitting and controversial it may be, but this does happen, perhaps not to the extent that it did in the 80's amongst care homes, but abuse within domestic situations and within homes is still present and if only 1 person after reading this book commits to changing society then Burgess has succeeded in my eyes.
Be warned: not for younger readers. I would say possibly for 15/16 years +. Strong subject matter and language.