Noughts and Crosses, by Malorie Blackman

Noughts and Crosses 

Written by by Malorie Blackman, Narrated by Syan Blake and Paul Chequer

Reason for Reading: Group read for my Social Justice February theme (which didn’t go so well this year due to a month of hospital runs….but things are looking more perky now!)

Review
Callum McGregor and Sephy Hadley have been best friends for as long as they remember. But recently their feelings for each other have begun to develop into something…stronger. Unfortunately, Sephy is a member of the dark-skinned upper class of Cross, and Callum is a pale-skinned, low-class Nought. The teens’ romantic problems intensify when Callum’s family gets caught up in a terrorist liberation organization that Sephy’s father (a politician) has sworn to stamp out. Sephy and Callum must learn to love each other in a tumultuous world of hatred. Does this scream out “star-crossed lover” to you? But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? (I got the same Romeo and Juliet vibe from Warm Bodies, which I just finished reading. I think it’s fun when the cosmic net of connected concepts captures me.) 

I’ve heard fantastic things about this book, but I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I’d be. Maybe it’s just because I wasn’t in the mood to read depressing race-relations books (and they’re all a bit depressing, aren’t they?), but this book wasn’t a slap in the face of my preconceived notions.  It was just another book about racism, much like a book written about a white girl and teenaged member of the Black Panthers. The whole skin-color switcharoo seemed like an unnecessary literary device to me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it was a bad book…I was just expecting more amazingness, that’s all. It was a tragically-sweet love story about a very important issue – racism, and the ease with which we can be swept away by other people’s causes. But I think the book would have been more powerful if she’d focused on  the realism of the story instead of trying to build a new world that was simply too similar to our own to justify the effort of creation.  

What do other people think? I imagine there are people out there who think the skin-color switcharoo added to the story? If so, please let us know. 🙂


4 thoughts on “Noughts and Crosses, by Malorie Blackman

  1. I guess that the problem with a story like this is that it has been done so many times it is difficult for an author to avoid cliches. The “role reversal” does at least make it sound a little different.

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  2. Hi Sam! Yeah, I'm thinking of reading the rest of the series, though it might be a little difficult to locate since it's out of print in the US. But since you say it only gets better, I might try to hunt down some used copies. 🙂

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