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Noughts and Crosses (2001)

by Malorie Blackman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Noughts and Crosses (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,230697,106 (3.8)1 / 81
Science Fiction. Young Adult Fiction. HTML:

Sephy is a Cross ?? a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a nought ?? a 'colourless' member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood. But that's as far as it can go. Until the first steps are taken towards more social equality and a limited number of Noughts are allowed into Cross schools... Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity by Noughts, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum ?? a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible dange… (more)

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» See also 81 mentions

English (68)  German (1)  All languages (69)
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
OMIGOD this is such a good book. It moves along interestingly at first but not so terribly differently than many another good YA, but it sneaks up on you and is powerful in its stealth. So glad I read it. ( )
  thesmellofbooks | Mar 17, 2024 |
Four Things I Hated About This:

1. The audiobook narrators
2. The writing
3. The premise
4. The characters

I agree with another reviewer who said we don't really need a version of the Civil Rights Movement where white people are the oppressed ones. I can actually imagine young readers who will get something out of this, but I really didn't. (Honestly, I didn't even make it that far into the book before I couldn't take it anymore.) I kept thinking of that scene at the end of the movie A Time to Kill where Matthew McConaughey is giving his closing argument and ends with "now imagine she's white." Like for some people, they cannot grasp the effects of racism unless they imagine their own race being subjected to it. ( )
  LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
This is set in an alternative history where white people have been opppressed for centuries and only released from slavery about fifty years before the story starts. It is told in the first person viewpoints of two young teenagers, Callum who is a Nought (white person) and Sephy (Persephone) who is a Cross (black person) from the ruling class. Sephy is more privileged than most as her father is a top politician, tipped for Prime Minister (the book is set in an alternative Britain).

Good points: there was a lot of food for thought from reversing the usual status quo. The position of Noughts in the story is similar to that of African Americans during the 1950s with the real-life bussing of black children to formerly all-white schools. In this story, it happens in reverse when Callum is one of a handful of Noughts allowed to attend Sephy's school, who then face enormous prejudice which engineers their gradual expulsion. Meanwhile, the long standing friendship between the two is put under greater and greater pressure, not helped by Sephy's naive behaviour which is perceived by Noughts, such as Callum's family, as patronising etc. Multiple tragedies are inflicted on his family, all related to the crushing discrimination suffered by Noughts. And Sephy herself receives an education in the way things really are, in her own family as well as in the greater society.

Not so good: the various tragedies that engulf Callum's family were very predicable. The constant switching of viewpoint, sometimes after less than a page, made the book very bitty and made it difficult to get into the characters. I also found Sephy extremely irritating. The situation with the letter that wasn't read in time was very cliched also. However, I do accept that these things would probably not strike the target readership as so predictable/cliched - I've obviously read a lot more books and seen a lot more TV/films etc where similar situations have arisen, albeit in a different context.

I do 'get' also that the feelings of the two characters had morphed into more than friendship although they were both in denial for a long time, but wasn't totally convinced by what happens late in the story when Sephy is placed in great danger. The ending though was very hard hitting for a young adult book. So on balance I would award it 3 stars. ( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
Wow. That book did not go the way I expected at all, so many plot twists and turns. ( )
  justgeekingby | Jun 6, 2023 |
3.5 Stars ( )
  Mrs_Tapsell_Bookzone | Feb 14, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
There are flaws. The white family sounds like a black one. The novel is told in alternate voices, with stretches of dialogue that make it seem more like a screenplay than a novel, and the characters are archetypes rather than particular, individuated people. In the end, it doesn't matter, because the story is so gripping and the world of Pangea so nightmarishly vivid.
added by Katya0133 | editNew Statesman, Amanda Craig
 

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Blackman, Malorieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Black, SyanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chequer, PaulNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
'That's just the way it is. Some things will never change. That's just the way it is. But don't you believe them.' - Bruce Hornsby and the Range
'That's just the way it is.
Some things will never change.
That's just the way it is.
But don't you believe them.'
Bruce Hornsby and the Range
Dedication
This book is dedicated with love to my husband, Neil, And to our daughter, Elizabeth.
First words
'Honestly, Mrs Hadley,' said Meggie McGregor, wiping her eyes.
'Honestly, Mrs Hadley,' said Meggie McGregor, wiping her eyes. 'That sense of humour of yours will be he death of me yet!'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Science Fiction. Young Adult Fiction. HTML:

Sephy is a Cross ?? a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a nought ?? a 'colourless' member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood. But that's as far as it can go. Until the first steps are taken towards more social equality and a limited number of Noughts are allowed into Cross schools... Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity by Noughts, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum ?? a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible dange

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Average: (3.8)
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