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Noughts & Crosses (Noughts & Crosses #1)

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  21,715 ratings  ·  1,614 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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Best Young Adult Books
271st out of 9,275 books — 58,455 voters
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Community Reviews

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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
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
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Jan 26, 2009 Shannon (Giraffe Days) rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Shannon (Giraffe Days) by: Maria M. 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
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
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
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
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.
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
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-pe
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
“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
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
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
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.
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
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 memor
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)
Aug 27, 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
Set in a dystopian world where light-skinned people are subordinate to dark-skinned and slavery hasn't long been abolished, Noughts and Crosses is both tragic and thought provoking.

I imagine part of the writer's intention in publishing this book was to highlight just how illogical racism is, and she does that very well. She's also created a believable and scary world. Released over ten years ago, this book focuses on human nature and psychology, and the lengths people will go to when they are de
u1124876 UEL
Noughts & Crosses is brilliant. It follows two characters; a girl called Sephy who is a Cross and Callum, a boy who is a nought, from their childhood to adulthood. Even the way the two cultures are written denotes who is in charge as the Crosses are spelt with a capital C throughout the book whereas the words noughts is written without a capital N. Christmas becomes Crossmas in this book and it for reasons such as this that I think this book is so cleverly thought out.

The book deals with ra
Carpe diem (♫ נєѕѕι¢α  ♪)
Aug 27, 2013 Carpe diem (♫ נєѕѕι¢α ♪) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, really.
Recommended to Carpe diem (♫ נєѕѕι¢α ♪) by: My sister.
“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.”



1. The characters, mainly Sephy and Callum. They were perfect. Realistic, deep, they grew throughout the book, and they each had an individual voice that was unique. I loved reading about the innocent and naive Sephy
Originally published back in 2001 in the UK, NOUGHTS & CROSSES is the first book in a series by British author Malorie Blackman. I first encountered it as part of the Young Adult Reading Group (YARG) over at Readerville. It was chosen as one of our monthly selections and a dear friend of mine actually picked up copies for several of us while she was in England and mailed them out so we would have time to read them before the discussion. Those were just the kind of people that filled the YARG ...more
I hate this book!!!
Be Warned-- There may be a slight spoiler.

Good Points: The idea behind the world Malorie Blackman has created is really interesting with the whole twist of dark skinned crosses ruling over the light skinned noughts and the struggles between them. Adding the whole relationship between Sephy, a rich Cross and Callum a poor nought and the drama has arrived!
I liked how the author chose to go from one point of view to the other but its still didn't help me get a feel for either of the characters.
Only God knows how much i cried when i was reading chapters 116 and 117.

I loved the book despite feeling uncomfortable at the least of times. i cannot explain why i felt uncomfortable but, i can assure you it was a "good uncomfortable" kind of feeling. i am neither black or white if that is what you are thinking.

I soon got used to the idea that the ruling crosses were black and second class citizens were white. The subject was new and enthralling like a new born chicken egg sitting infront of m
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do you think.... 18 159 Oct 29, 2014 02:49PM  
YOUNG ADULT BOOKW...: Noughts and Crosses 5 29 Jul 30, 2014 02:10PM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman --> Starting 24th March 2014 18 29 Mar 29, 2014 04:02AM  
What's The Name o...: HELP! book about racism, romantic fiction trilogy. [s] 4 40 Jun 15, 2013 02:06PM  
did you.. 3 67 May 15, 2012 10:43AM  
Real Life??? 8 76 Feb 08, 2012 04:56PM  
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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...
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.” 115 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.” 67 likes
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