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Noughts & Crosses (Noughts & Crosses #1)

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  25,979 ratings  ·  1,938 reviews
Two young people are forced to make a stand in this thought-provoking look at racism and prejudice in an alternate society.

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. In their
Paperback, 479 pages
Published August 8th 2006 by Corgi Childrens (first published January 15th 2001)
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Holly This is an AMAZING book..loved it so much it is seriously impossible!!!!! My teacher once recommended it to a girl who didn't read much at school and…moreThis is an AMAZING book..loved it so much it is seriously impossible!!!!! My teacher once recommended it to a girl who didn't read much at school and apparently she loved it too. It is so beautiful I actually cried...and I never cry at books/movies....(less)
Ana I really hope so! It would probably not be as good as the book anyways...
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Best Young Adult Books
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The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick NessHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingNoughts & Crosses by Malorie BlackmanHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I've tried to write this review a few times, with articulate choice of words, a structure, intelligent observations and supporting facts to back me up. But I found voicing my feelings about this book difficult. So I gave up. And now I'm just gonna wing it.

First thing's first - Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses absolutely broke me in all ways a reader can be broken. I was walking around trying to enjoy my time in the ever spectacular show that is Times Square but found my mind retreating bac
Kajal Nehra
"Dear God, please let him have heard me. Please.
If you're up there.

Holy fucking hell! What !?? What was this book? Noughts and Crosses is a hands-down 5+ starer. If I’m allowed I wouldn’t give it a half-a-star less than a 100.

Can anyone please answer this question: How do you even go about reviewing this book? How do you even -
God, how are you even in a condition to speak after reading this? My bed is a snotty mess right now and I can’t seem to be able to able to stop bawling
Raeleen Lemay
Sep 28, 2015 Raeleen Lemay marked it as dnf
I started reading this, and after sitting down twice to try to read it, I had to put it down.

I've read up a bit on it, and I can totally understand why people think this book is amazing (some things that happen later on... WOW. emotion-city). However, I couldn't stand the writing style, which was very childish and used way too many exclamation points.

I'M SO SORRY, FANS OF THIS BOOK. I just can't push through.
Jun 29, 2015 April rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2015
I loved the concept of this book and it definitely had it's shocking and devastating moments, but I couldn't really believe some of the things the characters did, like (view spoiler) I'll definitely be continuing on with the series though because THAT ENDING OMG.
You expect me to review this book? Me? You're surely new here. My reviews are... and this book is...
OK fine.

Let’s see.

Well, for a start, I can’t say anything about the plot. I read this book not knowing anything more than what the synopsis told me and that is the best way to go into this book. The only thing you need to know about the plot is that it has one. And it’s absolutely outstanding.

This book is so powerful and completely unforgettable. The writing is magnificent. The world-building is i
Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤
*3-4 stars, what's the difference?? I just started bawling as I added the quotes, so clearly I'm unreliable*

 photo BwS93OT_zpsuqcgwrge.gif

I held out my hands and she put hers in mine, looking at me ruefully. Love was like an avalanche, with Sephy and I hand-in-hand racing like hell to get out of its way-only instead of running away from it, we kept running straight toward it.

So...hmmm...yeah. This book is an asshole. Seriously. What the ever loving fuck, I mean, REALLY??? Fucking REALLY?!?!? I wouldn't take much stock in
Emily May
This may have been the first YA "dystopia" I ever read. The genre has gone through many changes since then but this book continues to stick in my mind as one which cemented my love for it. It's an old tale of forbidden romance but avoids being cheesy. It's a tale of heartache and tragedy but steers clear of melodrama. One thing is certain: Sephy and Callum's story will stay with me for a long time.
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Jan 26, 2009 Shannon (Giraffe Days) rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Shannon (Giraffe Days) by: Maria Elmvang
Sephy and Callum are the best of friends. They grew up together and despite the animosity between their families now, they continue to see each other in secret. But as they grow older and the world encroaches on their friendship, they can deny no longer the big glaring barrier between them: Sephy is a Cross, Callum is a nought. Society, the world, their families, will never accept them.

Sephy is the daughter of Kamal Hadley, a successful and important politician who's manoeuvring his way to the t
Petra X
Reading this, I read about a quarter of it I suppose, I thought say it was written by someone white from the opposite point of view, that is whites are on top and pushing their agenda, and they wrote in this very 'I came top of English and joined a writing circle' kind of way, would we still praise it? Or are we being all white-liberal and this book is kind of helping us say 'mea culpa' and the author is very, very cynically playing on that?

And I know it's all about we can overcome prejudice an
So I've finally made myself finish this book. I had real high expectations, seeing all the 5 star reviews and 'wow's!'. What a let down. I've never been any good at writing book reviews so excuse me if this doesn't come across how I want it too. One word i would use to describe this book..... Flat. It had no depth and it just felt rushed and really, it was quite boring. The characters were really two-dimensional and it was near impossible for me to care about what happened to them, i couldn't ev ...more
Aug 22, 2007 Tuckleton rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NO BODY EVER
Shelves: book-club-book
I wish there was a negative star. There are so many good books about civil rights and race relations, I don't know what the author was doing trying to rip everyone else off for. I thought the writing and the plots were poorly written and superifical. I am not sure how I forced my self to keep reading this pathetic book.

Read the invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Read a Prayer before Dieing by Gaines

Read a comic book before you waste you time on this book.

The only thing I can say about it being publis
I feel an enormous amount of pressure writing this review, but probably not for the reason that you might think. "Noughts and Crosses" tackles very difficult subjects in a multidimensional, emotional way. It features a relationship that has deeper implications than one may figure it on the surface.

To preface the whole of this review, my viewpoints and perspective going into and coming from this book will not speak for any and all who may peruse it - let alone other people of color who may pick
Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead
Believe the hype! It is THAT good. And bring a damn Kleenex box when you do decide to read it!
Carolyn (Book Chick City)
Wow, this book is outstanding. I couldn't put it down! As someone who is in her thirties, I wondered whether this book would be too young and the writing immature, but this wasn't the case at all. This is an intelligently and sensitively written story about two friends, Callum, a white-skinned nought and Sephy a dark-skinned Cross and their relationship as they grow up. How society and the prejudices around them moulds them into people they don't really want to be. It's a story filled with trage ...more
A society where citizens are divided based on their skin tones. Noughts are the white citizens, most of them are laboring class and they are controlled by Crosses, who are the black citizens. Crosses ruled everything. Our main characters, Callum McGregor, a Nought and Persephone "Sephy" Hadley, a Cross were best friends since they were young and later on became lovers. There are so many things happened in their lives. Still their love story is forbidden. One rule on their society: Noughts & ...more
Oh, there's my heart: in pieces on the floor.

Good God, this book was like taking a stab directly in the heart. Noughts & Crosses is an alternative world where blacks, called Crosses, are the ruling class and whites, called naughts, are the lower class -- its setting seemed like a mix of the-right-now, in terms of technology, and the 1960s, in terms of racial acceptance. The story centers around Persephone Hadley, a very rich, Cross girl and Callum McGregor, a very poor, naught boy. The two f
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jocelyn Pearce for

In NAUGHTS & CROSSES, the author creates a very believable alternate world that is almost like our own--but the main difference is a major one. Everything you think you know about race relations and prejudice holds true, but is switched. The ruling class to which Sephy Hadley's family belongs are the black Crosses, named for their supposed closeness to God. The other, the white Naughts, like Callum and his family, are second-class citizens. In t
Asch's Anti-Paradigm
Aug 08, 2013 Asch's Anti-Paradigm rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who enjoy Civil Rights-esqe books.
Recommended to Asch's Anti-Paradigm by: Uhmmm...cannot remember. Goodreads? We'll go with that.

“Just remember, Callum when you’re floating up and up in your bubble, that bubbles have a habit of bursting. The higher you climb, the further you have to fall..."

***2 stars*** This is my fourth time writing this review. Let's hope it gets done this time***

It's time for...


Jenn's Pro/Con List!


1. The dual POV. Sometimes when a character makes a stupid decision, you wonder "What the hell was he/she/it thinking?" Well, because this book was told from both Sephy and Callum's first-p
Jan 15, 2011 Jeffrey rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No One
Given the choice between rereading Naughts and Crosses again and having someone slowing puncture my right eye with a rusty icepick, I would gladly take the rusty icepick. Some may think I am exaggerating, but that is only because they have not read this tripe. World-building at its worst, that's Naughts and Crosses. I could not engage in the narrative, I despised the narrators because they bored me, and the narrative voice would have been more effective as a third-person omniscient. Character de ...more
Mar 25, 2008 Dan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Dan by: People in my 8th grade class
Naughts and Crosses
Malorie Blackman
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2005, 400pp., $15.95
ISBN: 1416900160

Haven’t we all wanted a life where we aren’t be judged by who we are, what we look like, what our opinions are? Well in Naughts and Crosses, that’s the kind of life that the two main character wants but doesn’t get.
Malorie Blackman’s thriller love story, Naughts and Crosses, brings out a society where the darker color skin people have more power than the lighter skin people. B
Rachel Pirie
This is fiction for teenagers so it lacks real depth and could be at times described as a little contrived, but it's easy to read and provides an interesting insight into a world where race relations are the total reverse of the current reality. That said, I'm not sure what message this book was trying to convey, is the message that predjudice will always prevail, or that we should walk in our neighbours shoes before passing judgement. I hope it's the latter but I was left a little unclear, hope ...more

Maybe hatred has nothing to do with the devil either. Maybe it’s something we’ve invented. And then we just blame it on you, God, or on the devil, because it’s easier than blaming ourselves…

4.5 stars

- Some spoilers ahead -

The first thing I looked at was the number of books, Four. Afterwards I decided to start this new dystopian adventure full of racism, love, friendship and injustices, but the ending that kind of shocked me has made me change my mind... I don't think I will continue... well at
This book broke me.

So I've kind of put off reviewing this book for a bit over two weeks now, I know I know shame on me I know. But I did have my reasons (somewhat) and I think I just needed this story to sit in my brain for a while. It needed some time to marinate..... you know like a steak.... but a book steak? ..................

Good one Clarissa, good one. Now that I've confused even myself I'll just quit referring to books as meat products and move on.


Noughts & Crosses is a diff
“You're a Nought and I'm a Cross and there's nowhere for us to be, nowhere for us to go where we'd be left in peace...That's why I started crying. That's why I couldn't stop. For all the things we might've had and all the things we're never going to have.

Mi lista de decepciones va creciendo.

Noughts & Crosses es uno de esos libros cuya trama general es buenísima, con gran potencial de terminar en tu lista de favoritos; pero que desgraciadamente no transmite nada. Eso fue lo que me ocurrió
Kayleigh {K-Books}
The story follows Sephy a cross and Callum a nought, two children who live in a racist hierarchical society where nought and crosses should not mix. Crosses, are the higher race of the two and when Sephy's school starts to let in Noughts she is overjoyed as she gets to spend more time with her best friend Callum, what she does not realise is the prejudice he will fell at being one of few at the school. As they grow up Sephy and Callum's friendship starts to blossom into much more but they cannot ...more
[insert 30 crying gifs]

[goes to doctor to get my heart put back together]

[insert more crying gifs]
Fatema Meamari
Apr 11, 2011 Fatema Meamari rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Every sensible person on planet Earth
Recommended to Fatema by: Shereen Mahmood
Shelves: should-re-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 26, 2012 Devyani rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Devyani by: Kajal Nehra
“You're a Nought and I'm a Cross and there's nowhere for us to be, nowhere for us to go where we'd be left in peace...That's why I started crying. That's why I couldn't stop. For all the things we might've had and all the things we're never going to have.”

The tears had sprung out of my eyes instantly and had drowned my pillow and me . I cried and cried and cried . I had puffy eyes and I looked horrible . The story is so simple if you think about it , yet what you read is burned into your memo
Rachel Brown
You may recall a great deal of outrage several months ago over a horrible-sounding self-published YA novel, Save the Pearls, about a future in which black people (Coals) rule and white people (Pearls) are oppressed, and also must wear blackface in order to protect themselves from the now-deadly sun. (Blackface shown in a truly ill-conceived video promotion on the author’s website.) From what I gather, the black hero grows a tail at some point. And no, I’m not going to review it, not even to mock ...more
Judith (Paper Riot)
Dec 21, 2014 Judith (Paper Riot) rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who are not scared of really dark and heavy books
Recommended to Judith by: Ellis
Rating: 4 stars

I hadn’t heard of Noughts & Crosses before it was lovingly forced on me by Ellis (i.e. she just sent me her copy to borrow and didn’t take no for an answer). She said that this book was intense and that the ending would most likely ruin me, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this intense and life-ruining. Holy shit. Noughts & Crosses is probably the darkest, heaviest book I have ever read. After I finished, I spent a long time letting it sink in and, to be honest, feeling ver
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Just wondering.... 1 10 May 17, 2015 03:17AM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman - Restarting April 10th 2015 48 83 Apr 16, 2015 05:08AM  
Noughts and Crosses 1 10 Feb 19, 2015 03:40AM  
do you think.... 19 185 Feb 11, 2015 02:46PM  
YOUNG ADULT BOOKW...: Noughts and Crosses 5 29 Jul 30, 2014 02:10PM  
What's The Name o...: HELP! book about racism, romantic fiction trilogy. [s] 4 45 Jun 15, 2013 02:06PM  
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An award-winning children's author, Malorie Blackman was honoured with an OBE in 2008. Her work has been adapted for TV and stage.

More information available at:
British Council: Contemporary Authors
British Council: Encompass Culture
Channel 4 Learning: Book Box
More about Malorie Blackman...

Other Books in the Series

Noughts & Crosses (4 books)
  • Knife Edge (Noughts & Crosses, #2)
  • Checkmate (Noughts & Crosses, #3)
  • Double Cross (Noughts & Crosses, #4)
Knife Edge (Noughts & Crosses, #2) Checkmate (Noughts & Crosses, #3) Double Cross (Noughts & Crosses, #4) Boys Don't Cry Pig-Heart Boy

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“Just remember, Callum when you’re floating up and up in your bubble, that bubbles have a habit of bursting. The higher you climb, the further you have to fall.” 134 likes
“That just the way it is. Some things will never change. That's just the way it is. But don't you believe them.” 76 likes
More quotes…