Doing It

by Melvin Burgess

Author of

The Cry of the Wolf (1990), Burning Issy (1992), Junk (1996) [Smack in the US], Billy Elliot (2001), Lady: My Life as a Bitch (2001), Doing It (2003), Nicholas Dane (2009), Kill All Enemies (2011), and The Hit (2013), among others

Bans / Challenges / Awards

  • Not on the ALA 's top 100 banned / challenged list (2000-2009)
  • Banned in 16 Texas public schools (2005-2006)
  • One of 70 challenged books in the Fayetteville, AR public schools (2005)
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults (2005)
  • YALSA Popular Paperbacks (2008)
  • Macmillian's Banned Book Week (2012, 2014)
Melvin Burgess, Kill All Enemies.

The Response

"Filth whichever way you look at it." -Anne Fine The Guardian

"I think it’s better that they read stuff like me [Julie Burchill] or Melvin Burgess, who are at least trying to talk gently to their unformed minds, than go and get some nasty old porn from somewhere.” -Julie Burchill as quoted by Dwight Garner in the NYT

“I wouldn't give it to my 13-year-old daughter to read now. But I'll hand it over happily in a couple of years. It'll make her feel better. Everyone knows teenage boys are gross. Now we know they're human too.” -Kit Spring The Guardian

"Anybody who takes the trouble to read the book, rather than just recoil form the smutty quotes, will find that it is a genuinely moral work of fiction ... " - cover blurb The Scotsman

"Everything you never wanted to know about sex and boys — but probably should." -Dinah Hall of the Sunday Telegraph

"porn on a page" -member of a library YA reading group as reported by Ben Laverriere


  • Do you consider Doing it to be "porn," "filth," or a "genuinely moral" work?
  • Is Dino a rapist?
  • What is the appropriate age for this book?
  • If you were buying this book for a library, which book cover would you prefer and why?

"Read Alikes"

  • Purity by Jackson Pearce (2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults)
  • The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez (2013 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers)
  • Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian (2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults)
  • This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (2003 Best Books for Young Adults)

-Hannah Gomez in YALSA, The Hub


"2005 YALSA Awards and Booklists.” Young Adult Library Services Awards Issue 3, no. 3 (Spring 2005): 21-30.

"2005: Best, notable, & recommended." Teacher Librarian 32, no. 4 (April 2005): 8-19.

"Banned Books Week! Doing It by Melvin Burgess." MacMillan children's publishing group (4 October 2012).

"Banned Book Week: Doing It." MacMillan children's publishing group (25 September 2014).

"Banned and Challenged Books in Texas Public Schools 2005-2006." Texas Library Journal 82, no. 3 (Fall2006 2006): 112-117.

Bodart, Joni Richards. "Books that Help, Books that Heal: Dealing with Controversy in YA Literature. (Cover story)." Young Adult Library Services 5, no. 1 (Fall2006 2006): 31-34.

Burgess, Melvin. "Sympathy for the Devil." Children's Literature In Education 35, no. 4 (December 2004): 289-300.

"Censorship dateline." Newsletter On Intellectual Freedom 54, no. 5 (September 2005): 215-254.
"Doing It." Kirkus Reviews (1 May 2004).

"Doing It." Melvin Burgess.

"Doing It." Publishers Weekly, 2004., 27.

Fine, Anne. “Filth, whichever way you look at it.” The Guardian. (29 March 2003).

Garner, Dwight. "Julie Burchill Gets Religion." The New York Times. (8 October 2007).

Gomez, Hannah. "Read Alikes for Fall TV Premiers -- part II." YALSA; The Hub. (7 August 2014)

Green, John. "Doing It (Book)." Booklist 100, no. 19/20 (June 2004): 1716.

Jones, Nicolette. "Bound by morality: who are the arbiters of taste in children's books? And what are the moral responsibilities of the book trade? Nicolette Jones explores the dilemmas raised by controversial content." The Bookseller, no. 18 (2003).

Kurtz, Jason, and Nicholle Schuelke. "Blume, Burgess, and Beyond." Voice Of Youth Advocates 34, no. 3 (August 2011): 228-230.

Laverriere, Ben. "Best Books for young Adults; a novel." Young Adult Library Services; Awards Issue 3, no. 3 (Spring 2005): 17.

Melvin Burgess, Kill All Enemies. YouTube. (11 June 2011)

Miller, Alyson. "Unsuited to Age Group: The Scandal of Children’s Literature.” College Literature 41, no. 2 (Spring 2014): 120-140.

Perring, Christian. “Review -- Doing It.” Metapsychology. 9, no. 17 (28 April 2005).

Spring, Kit. “The Beastly Boys.” The Guardian. (13 April 2003).

Sproull, Patrick. “Melvin Burgess: ‘Junk’ was on of the first teen books: I invented the territory." The Guardian. (14 August 2014).

Sutton, Roger. "Melvin Burgess: Doing it." The Horn Book Magazine, no. 448 (2004).

Tuccilo, Diane P. "Doing It." School Library Journal 50, no. 6 (June 2004): 135-136.