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Noughts & Crosses

(Noughts and Crosses #1)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  44,947 ratings  ·  3,300 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 thats 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)
Jasmine I would say 14 and above,
I normally would say, that most books I read (are YA or adult) and think they should be ranked much lower than other people,
I would say 14 and above,
I normally would say, that most books I read (are YA or adult) and think they should be ranked much lower than other people,
but I would say 14,
that way the reader would have learnt about apartheid, abortions, suicide and hanging and that sort of thing to understand the message the author is conveying.(less)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanTwilight by Stephenie MeyerThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Giver by Lois Lowry
Best Young Adult Books
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick NessHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. RowlingNoughts & Crosses by Malorie BlackmanHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  44,947 ratings  ·  3,300 reviews

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Start your review of Noughts & Crosses (Noughts & Crosses, #1)
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
Kajal Nehra
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
"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 Im allowed I wouldnt 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 cant seem to be able to able to stop bawling my
Reading Corner
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
This book is just wow,definitely A+.I was hooked from the start by the gripping story and complex relationship between Callum and Sephy,I didn't want to put the book down because it was soooo good.I completely fell in love with the idea of Callum and Sephy together despite all the set backs and difficulties they had to face.

The whole story is fantastic as there's never a dull moment and you really feel for the characters because the writing is amazing.The end just killed me and left me heart
Emily May
Dec 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Raeleen Lemay
Mar 17, 2012 marked it as dnf
Shelves: young-adult
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.
Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
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
May 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
You expect me to review this book? Me? You're surely new here. My reviews are... and this book is...
OK fine.

Lets see.

Well, for a start, I cant 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 its absolutely outstanding.

This book is so powerful and completely unforgettable. The writing is magnificent. The world-building is
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
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After Blackman was announced as one of the writers on the new series of Doctor Who, I really wanted to read one of her novels so that I could get a feel for her work.
As her episode is going to focus on Rosa Parkers and the constant theme of this book was race and segregation, I ended up getting even more of a gasp on what her episode might be like than I originally expected.
This book was just so incredible!

Set in an alternate universe where dark skinned people known as crosses are the superior
Aug 22, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  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
Emily B
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read this when I was younger but I cant remember it that well. Perhaps a reread in the future ...more
Mar 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was curious to read this having enjoyed the first episode of the TV adaptation although I realise now that its based on the book along with a second realisation that Im too long in the tooth to fully appreciate YA novels! This thought provoking read turns history on its head by having Crosses (ruddy daggers in nought slang) who are African in origin the dominant ruling force over Noughts who are European in origin. Noughts (Blankers being the term of abuse) are seen as nothing and were ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Sep 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE. PLEASE.

This book destroyed me, heart and soul.

Please understand, this book is absolutely incredible.

And I'm not including those crying gifs simply for effect. I was legitimately sobbing by the end of this book. I was literally crawling on the floor collapsing. It was probably the most intense reaction to a book I've ever had. My boyfriend was both concerned and irritated.

I tried to explain but he hates reading so I couldn't even begin and he's just sitting there like:

This is one of my favorite books of
Jan 08, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No One
Given the choice between rereading Naughts and Crosses again and having someone slowly 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 ...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
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Set in a dystopian 21st century near future British society the Noughts & Crosses award winning series of novels (initially a trilogy, subsequently extended to a quadrilogy) opens following a period of alternative history, a post slavery period where the white population (Noughts) have been enslaved by the ruling black elite. Now post emancipation, it is the non-black population who are distinctly disadvantaged and impoverished in this alternative future society which is ruled and ...more
Beatrice Masaluñga
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Alright, it's been about 24 hours, I'm less emotional, lets review this.

I'm going to start my review with like a fuck-ton of warnings.
Warning 1: I don't honestly feel very comfortable reviewing this, so it's not going to be very in depth.
Warning 2: These are my thoughts based on what I know and who I am, if I am ignorant in any way in this review, please use this as a good time to educate me, not yell at me.
Warning 3: I loved this book a little too much to be fully unbiased.

So, this book
Jenn, Reader of Things
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People who enjoy Civil Rights-esqe books.
Recommended to Jenn, Reader of Things by: Uhmmm...cannot remember. Goodreads? We'll go with that.

Just remember, Callum when youre 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
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  Storer
Aug 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, 2016
Holy crap this was amazing!

I don't know how to categorise this book it's sort of a contemporary set in a world where history is alternate to our world's history but still pretty much the same. The only alternate aspect is that instead of light-skinned people always being in power and enslaving dark-skinned people, dark-skinned people (crosses) are in power and had in the past enslaved light-skinned people (noughts).

So this book is basically a mix of contemporary and dystopian and those are my
3.5 stars.

So for the first hundred pages or so of this book, I was really frustrated by the lack of world building. Right up until the point where I was like "Oh shit, every damned book set in a world dominated by white people doesn't need world building to explain why white people are in charge of anything..."

Yeah. Check your privilege, white girl.

Anyway. There was eventually a small amount of world building, just enough to give a basic history of the planet. The world is great, the
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I re-read this as it's this month's choice for my work book club and I have to admit I really enjoyed the re-read as it's been quite a long time since I read a contemporary, and a very long time since I picked this one up, even though it's one of my favourites. This story is gripping, emotional, shocking, sad, and tragic. There are many moments of happiness between Callum and Sephy, but there are also so many moments that their society makes them go through things that no child should have to ...more
Rachel Pirie
Nov 08, 2007 rated it liked it
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, ...more
Rosanna Threakall
I love this book, it's been a while since I re-read it but my God does it pack a punch.

Had me crying on the train!

Definitely a must-read not just for the romance, action, tension and characters but because it will make you think.

I plan to marathon the trilogy now as I have never read the other two books.
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
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
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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

Other books in the series

Noughts and Crosses (5 books)
  • Knife Edge (Noughts & Crosses, #2)
  • Checkmate (Noughts & Crosses, #3)
  • Double Cross (Noughts & Crosses, #4)
  • Crossfire (Noughts & Crosses, #5)

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