Friday, 23 November 2012

Noughts and Crosses - Malorie Blackman

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. Until the first steps are taken towards more social equality and a limited number of Noughts are allowed into Cross schools…Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity by Noughts, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum – a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger…
A taboo romance is never a good thing for the daughter of the deputy Prime Minister, but for her to go out with a cross boy? It just can’t go on. Persephone Hadley is irreversibly in love with her childhood best friend Callum, growing up together in a child’s world of make believe where race and politics were irrelevant. Sadly they grow up and have to face the music, where Callum is no longer a suitable friend. In fact, he’s not suitable to be or do anything. Crosses run the country, take the top spots and Noughts pick up what’s left. And that is how Persephone Hadley and Callum McGregor (rather forcibly) grew apart.
I love this book, it reminds me strongly of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ but reversed. The fear and taboo around race is so sureal compared to the mostly accepting society we live in. In the book it takes a while to figure out that noughts are white people and crosses black. Noughts are second class citizens to the crosses. The book is timeless, it is hard to tell if it is set in the future, past or present or an imaginary country far far away. Another thing that this book has done for me is made me absolutely fall in love with the name Persephone! Noughts and Crosses is also now a play, which I can imagine really well and would love the opportunity to see it if it ever came near me. I think the plot is so intricate yet seamless and lots of hidden meanings (which I love)! For example, Noughts and Crosses in the game, if a nought and cross are in the same line neither can win. They are always destined to be at loggerheads. Heart wrenching, heart warming and heart breaking.
A simple but affective cover, half black and half white with a firm split in the middle. In the black section is a white nought (representing the white people known as noughts) and in the white part a black cross. ‘Malorie Blackman Noughts and Crosses’.
Four stars.
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Noughts and Crosses cover