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Nicholas Dane

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  493 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
When fourteen-year-old Nicholas Dane's mother dies, social services sends him to a home for boys where intimidation and violence keep order. After a number of fights and brutal punishments, Nick thinks that life can't possibly get any worse . . . until he realizes that the home's respected deputy head, who has been grooming him with sweets and solace, has something more fr ...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published December 7th 2010 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published June 4th 2009)
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CEF Not sure if you even still need an answer, but both kindle and nook have e-book versions of it, and I bought this book in stores (B&N). It was…moreNot sure if you even still need an answer, but both kindle and nook have e-book versions of it, and I bought this book in stores (B&N). It was quite a while ago though, so I don't know if it's still sold in stores or not..(less)
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Community Reviews

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Cate Levinson
Jan 06, 2013 Cate Levinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The day started out like any other: Nick's mother banging on the door, begging him to get up, get ready for school, and get out the door. When Nick does finally emerge from the warm embrace of his comforter, his mother's giddy weirdness has him cramming his breakfast as quick as he can so he can escape her odd, giddy energy. But tragedy strikes only moments after he is out the door. It turns out she was eager to get him out of the house so she could unwind with an "old friend"-- heroine. She die ...more
Harold Smithson (Suicide punishable by Death)
After reading Nicholas Dane I had an insight: An author writing a book with a message must have some conception of what kind of person would require that message. Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak is for people who have been raped, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy is for Christians, C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters is for atheists, and so on so forth. Many authors who decide to insert morals into their works do so because they feel what they have to say deserves to be heard. In short, every ...more
Diane Ferbrache
Nicholas Dane is 14 when his mother overdoses with heroin in their flat. He has no other relatives, but his mother’s best friend is willing to take him in. When Jenny fails (miserably) to impress the social services lady, Nick is sent to a boys’ home. His trouble begins immediately – brutal beatings from other boys and the adult supervisors. He thinks his situation will improve when a sympathetic staff member takes him under his wing. Unfortunately, Creal is a pedophile grooming him for himself ...more
Apr 19, 2012 Nate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Ok...what to say. I must admit reading this book was like watching a train wreck. You want to look away cus the image is disturbing but at the same time you can't cus for whatever reason you're captivated.
No doubt the subject matter of this book is quite disturbing, I found some of it difficult to read but yet I kept turning the page. I found myself rooting for the main character - Nick and cursing the author for subjecting this poor bloke to such misery. I kept waiting for this kid to finally
Hamda Almuhairi
Nicholas Dane was a school-skipper, a casual smoker, a theiver-on-whim at 14. That is, until his mom died because of an over-dose. His mom's best friend, Jenny, fought to get custody of him but he was eventually shipped off to Meadow Hill, a home just to the likes of Nick.

 "It was with a sense of horror that Nick understood that the old man before him had been carrying on with the same tricks ever since. Twenty years? Can it really have been so long? And how many years before that? And how many
I thought this one sounded good when I read the premise, but Nick turned me off from the start. He is a self-centered hoodlum and this is before his mom died. After, well, things get worse. I hated how crappy Nick treated Jenny, when all she was trying to do was help. I liked that she wanted to give Nick a home, too bad all he did was screw her over and in such a short time. It was at this point that I gave this one up. I just couldn't get past my dislike of Nick and didn't really care what bad ...more
Wow this book was intense. The things that happened to Nick, Oliver, Davey, Stella and Jones were horrible. It brought out different reactions from me. I actually threw this book across the room. I kept saying "no no this can't be happening" I almost cried for Nick... Ok ok I did cry a little bit. And there was moments that were funny. I'm surprised Nick still had a sense of humor. That's one thing that made me like him. And I thought for sure he was going to end up like Jones. Thank goodness he ...more
Jun 29, 2012 Ruth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
The author was trying to copy Charles Dickens. Even I know that this is one of those Unspeakable Rules Which Can't Be Broken, because NO AUTHOR CAN EVER REPLICATE A DICKENS STORY. Of course it was gonna collapse and be overwhelmed with too many story lines due to the story's overall plot line. Of course the reader will be annoyed with the "fairy-tale-like" narration that Burgess has tried to use, because I for one hated the way the book was narrated.

Okay, this is a book about a kid who gets kic
Feb 27, 2011 Dylan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone (age limit: 17+)
Recommended to Dylan by: Melissa See
Oh. My. God.

This book is quite possibly the best YA book I've ever read...and one of the best books I've read period.

WARNING: This book is not meant for younger readers. It is incredibly raw and mature for a YA book. (17+ rating)

This book is about a 14 year old boy named Nicholas Dane. He lives in Manchestor, England in 1984. His mother dies of a heroin overdose, and he is sent to live at Meadow Hill, a children's home run by Mr. Toms, an evil man who whips the kids that get in trouble.

Nick ha
is nicholas nickelby for really, REALLY ADULTish young adults?

but, seriously, this book is rife w/sexual abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, drug abuse...basically every kind of abuse humans have invented to torture themselves & others with, from time in memorium, made it into this book. it was harsh, it was terrifying, but it was worth reading for absolute sure.

i liked it; i think it's important that people write books like nicholas dane. however, it would never be something i'd recommend
Mar 16, 2014 Kimberly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the book Nicholas Dane by Melvin Burgess, Nicholas Dane is a normal fourteen-year-old troublemaker. He goes to school when he feels like it, steals occasionally, and smokes every so often. He lives a fairly normal life until his mother unexpectedly dies of a heroin overdose. After his mother’s best friend fails to impress social services to gain custody of him, Nick is put into Meadow Hill Home for Boys. At the boys home he is thrust into a world of corruption, abuse, and violence.
During th
Mar 24, 2011 Shiela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this was quite the book. Very disturbing, depressing and hopeless at times yet compulsively readable. I found myself rooting for the protagonist (out loud) on more than one occasion and having my heart broken the next. Excellent bibliotherapy material although I think this book would seriously disturb some readers, especially younger ones. It is a sad world when atrocities like the one Dane underwent happen in the world everyday. This one will haunt me for a while.
Jun 19, 2015 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction
This isn't a recent publication -2009-but I've just caught up with it. The book is an unflinching look at abuse in children's homes. Nick Dane is a boy who is in low level trouble at school - some fighting, skipping school, but nothing serious. But one day his single mother takes a heroin overdose and with no other relatives Nick is sent away to the local children's home where his nightmare begins. Meadow House has a paedophile ring operating in it - one which includes high up policemen. Nick is ...more
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Emmerson Spahr
Sep 30, 2012 Emmerson Spahr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was AMAZING. I cried and laughed and had so many emotions throughout this book. This book was possibly the most raw and interesting book i have ever read. I loved it i think this book is the reason that i fell in love with Melvin Burgess. I GREATLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK
Jan 02, 2014 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We had Melvin run a couple of workshops at school last month where he got the kids to detail characters of fairy stories and then write their own story using the characteristics they had found. I wish he had spoken about this book, because they struggled a little with the rewriting concept and are old enough to cope with the content of ND.

The copy I read had no suggestion of a modern Oliver Twist tale, so I read quite a way through before seeing the likeness. But boy, is his setting and charact

Mini-review originally posted on Nightjar's Jar of Books.

Nick Dane has a relatively ordinary life: He finds school boring, but gets decent grades, he has a good - if sometimes annoying - mother, and some really great friends. Then one day, he comes home to find that his mother has overdosed on heroin and died, leaving him with no immediate family to rely on, and in a mess with Social Services. He's eventually shipped off to a place called Meadow Hill - a Boys' Home with a stellar reputation - bu

When people start opining on the pages of the Wall Street Journal about how dark and disturbing YA fiction is, this is the sort of book you'd expect them to hold up. Because it is just as dark and disturbing as it can be. Nick's single mother, a sometime user of heroin dies of an overdose right in the beginning, and Nick's life goes straight to hell. He's fourteen, he has no family, and his mother's best friend, who sincerely wants to look after him is thwarted by the system, her useless boyfrie ...more
Nicholas Dane is a modern retelling of Oliver Twist. Fourteen year old, Nick, after his mother dies of a heroin overdoes (a problem Nick wasn’t even aware she had) is sent to Meadow Hill, the worst place a young boy could be sent to. While there, Nick is beaten, whipped and tortured. Tony Creal, head of Meadow Hill promises to help Nick get out there (Unbeknownst to Nick, him mom’s best friend as well as a long lost great Uncle are willing to help him), while secretly making sure that no one can ...more
Nov 10, 2011 Aline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Breath taking novel. Raw and touching. I devoured this book in a week. I had never read anything similar to this before and I am so glad I picked up this book.
The book is about Nicholas Dane, a 14 year old that after his mother’s sudden death caused by a heroin overdose, is sent to a Children’s Home that turns out being his worst possible nightmare. Nick went from a stable, enjoyable life, surrounded by love to a life of violence, abuse and suffering. All these struggles came when he most needed
It never occurred to me to stop reading this book. Which is generally a sign that it was good. Nick's mom has just died, leaving Nick with no relations. He gets dumped into the system, and lands at a horrible home for young men where he is preyed upon by abusers of all kinds. The consequences of that experience last through the rest of his life.

This is a totally Dickensian novel, almost to the point where I wanted to Cliffs Notes the plots of Oliver Twist or David Copperfield to see if it was in
Marita Hansen
Feb 02, 2012 Marita Hansen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Genre: Edgy Young Adult, and in my opinion for older teenagers and adults.

Subject: A rather horrifying look at boys homes in 1980s Britain.

Synopsis: After Nicholas Dane’s mother dies unexpectedly from a drug overdose he is put into a boys’ home, where violence is used to keep order. After countless fights and what happens to him at the hands of the deputy-principle he goes on the run.

My Thoughts: This story was very sad, the topic being about how certain people in society abuse their positions
Jennifer Lavoie
Wow this book... I'm torn between what to grade it, so I'll go with four stars. Part of me hates this book, but part of me loves it. It was a fast, easy read, but difficult at the same time. The amount of abuse Nick faces is just incredible.

What first attracted me to the book was the cover, and then the description inside that said it was "Dickensian" and loosely based on Oliver Twist. I was excited, so I bought it thinking I would put it in my classroom library after I read it. I will not be d
Apr 07, 2013 Joy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*signs* Where do I begin?

I seriously can't say I enjoyed reading this book or even say "it was a good book;" without feeling sick to my stomach. The horrible things that were done to this kid (Nick) and others like him is disgusting. How people like Tony can take advantage of kids like Nick, Oliver, even Jones and think it's okay. The one part that nearly brought tears to my eyes was when Oliver got caught and begged Nick to not leave him. I desperately needed Oliver to make it out. And not kno

To begin let me applaud Melvin Burgess for addressing such a crucial topic regarding child abuse and molestation. I found this novel painfully realistic and disturbing at times,so much so i had to put it down and count to 20 before I continued reading some passages. I'm finding it very hard to review this novel it think i have a sort of love/hate relationship with it(yes I have relationships with my novels.... Don't judge me).

Stephanie Banks
Dec 19, 2011 Stephanie Banks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
After his mother dies, fourteen-year-old Nick is sent to a boys’ home called Meadow Hill. Nick new home a place of brutality, where boys constantly beat on each other and the staff is allowed to dole out cruel punishments. When Nick is ready to give up all hope, a light appears in his dark world. Mr. Creal, the head deputy, sometimes gives Nick treats and invites him over to his flat to offer the boy a few hours of escape from the torture of Meadow Hill. What Nick doesn’t realize is that by trus ...more
Oct 11, 2011 Barbara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-eval-book
Nicholas Dane wound up in the British social services system after his mother overdosed on heroin. This tells you everything you need to know about Nick’s social class and opportunities. His mother wasn’t exactly a drug addict and she was trying to stay clean while she attended school. She wanted to improve herself. Once she died, Nick had no one. His mother’s friend Jenny tried to convince social services that she could take him in with her own two children, but that didn’t work because Nick wa ...more
Nicholas Dane's life, which is hanging nicely by a thread - a life of skipping school to smoke pot - is destroyed when his mother dies of a heroin overdose. With no family and only his mother's friend Jenny looking out for his interests, Nick is sent to live at Meadow Hill, a place where children unowned and unwanted are sent. There, he is beaten and raped and now dreams of escape... but to what life?

I'm glad this book was set in 1984, because having worked in places similar to this myself I kno
Apr 17, 2015 Kimmy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was weird, I hated the beginning and the dialogue was horrible. The extra details killed me and while the events were tragic and a bit horrific the big thing that stood at to me was loss of all hope. It digested me that all these killed accepted things like they were okay. Stella with the abuse and also Oliver. Then Davey accepting it as well as something that's just part of life.
Roof Beam Reader
3 – Plot/Story is interesting & believable.

Nicholas Dane is fourteen years old when his mother dies unexpectedly, leaving no one to care for him. It is only after months of searching that anyone is able to find a relative willing to help but, by then, it is too late. Though a friend of Nicholas’s mother tries to take him in and care for him, the Social Services will not allow it, and Nick is shuttled off to a home for boy – in other words, Hell. Nicholas must endure endless cruelt
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Melvin Burgess is a British author of children's fiction. His first book, The Cry of the Wolf, was published in 1990. He gained a certain amount of notoriety in 1996 with the publication of Junk, which was published in the shadow of the film of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting, and dealt with the trendy and controversial idea of heroin-addicted teenagers. Junk soon became, at least in Britain, one of ...more
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