Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Updated: Nov 12
Pictured editions are Waterstones and may not be available
Publisher/date: Penguin UK
Series: Noughts & Crosses
I used to comfort myself with the belief that it was only certain individuals and their peculiar notions that spoilt things for the rest of us. But how many individuals does it take before it's not the individuals who are prejudiced but society itself?
"Sephy is a Cross -- a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a Nought -- a “colorless” 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. In their world, Noughts and Crosses simply don’t mix. Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum -- a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger. Can they possibly find a way to be together?"
Holy fucking hell.
Do you want your mind blown? Then take a dive into Malorie's world where whites and blacks have been reversed. The entire history of mankind flipped over.
Sometimes I feel like fiction doesn't get enough credit - or maybe that YA in general is looked down upon by readers of classics. But sometimes it takes a modern voice to bring the point home. This is going to be on some required reading lists soon, I'll bet you money.
I had a hard time keeping the pictures of Sephy and Callum straight in my head. Because I am so used to the way things are, throughout the story I kept having to remind myself that Sephy's father is the black man, not the racist white asshole. What does that say about me as a person? I don't know. But if you want books to open your mind, to show you the perspective from another person's shoes, to make you grow as a human being, THIS IS THAT BOOK. Well, series, but I haven't gotten that far. Yet.
This is one of those books that burrows a hole in your mind, and sits there for months or years or decades and just marinates, with your thoughts and feelings growing around it. It's hard to write a review for a book like that. I want to let it sit, but I'm desperate to continue the series and know that if I do before writing the review I will mix them all up. So I'll brain dump now and possibly come back later.
4 stars. Why not 5? The YA language mixed with the very complex themes was a little more simple than I wanted. That and I hated the ending. But then again, I haven't read the next book. For someone 13-18 I think it's an absolute must read. Well, really for everyone. I'll be recommending this book for a long time, and I can't wait for the show to be available in the US.