Liz's Reviews > Noughts & Crosses

Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
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May 09, 12

bookshelves: ya
Read in May, 2012

Sephy is a Cross, part of the ruling class that has only recently relinquished slavery. Her childhood friend Callum is a Nought, forbidden even to attend the same school as Sephy when the book opens.

Blackman draws heavily on the Civil Rights movement but shifts the action to a kind of alternate Europe, in which Black people rule and those with paler skin are oppressed. It's very well done, if not exactly subtle, and the narrative is full of "ouch" moments as Sephy gradually awakens to the horror of her society. Meanwhile, Callum becomes increasingly disenfranchised as he faces more and more challenges.

The novel builds to a tense climax, but I quickly tired of the very short chapters and first person narrative that switched incessantly between Sephy and Callum. Still, a good read, and possibly a good way to make teenagers aware of the issues surrounding race and social justice.
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