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Noughts and Crosses Paperback – 1 Apr 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi Childrens; New edition edition (1 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552546321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552546324
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (531 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 171,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Malorie Blackman is a fine, award-winning author whose work is always inclined to provoke debate amongst her readers, and indeed her peers. With Noughts and Crosses she surpasses expectation not only with her subject matter, but with the execution of a stimulating and provocative plot line that often leaves the reader chilled to the bone.

Sephy and Callum have been best friends since childhood, and now they are older and they realise they want more from each other. But the harsh realities of lives lived in a segregated society are beginning to take their toll: Callum is a nought--a second-class citizen in a world dominated by the Crosses--and Sephy is a Cross, and the daughter of one of the most powerful men in the country. The barriers they would have to cross to be together at first seem little more than minor obstacles to the two idealistic teenagers, but soon those barriers threaten not only their friendship but their lives.

Noughts and Crosses is written with the passion of an author who has a personal message about the perception of the past, present and future, and Blackman has used the clever device of turning preconceived ideas of racial prejudice upside down to make sure that her point is well and truly made. Deeply disturbing and totally absorbing this novel is intriguing from the outset, with a shocking climax that packs an unforgettable punch. (Age 11 and over) --Susan Harrison --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

" An incredible novel that is as heart-rending as it is provocative." - "The Bookseller"

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. COLEMAN VINE VOICE on 2 July 2007
Format: Paperback
My wife is a teacher and is going through this book with her pupils. Call me snobbish, but despite her protestations that I really should read it, I was reluctant - I'm not a teenager, for one, and feared I'd find it tedious and craftless.

How wrong I was. Blackman's novel is superbly paced and stylistically clever. The dual first-person-narrative structure really works and showcases Blackman's excellent ability to write convincing voices that are diametrically opposed (13 yr old Sephy from the ruling class with her affluent but sheltered naivety, and 15yr old Callum - a young man brimming with anger and disaffection).

It's the contrast between these two protagonists that makes this novel so compelling. Blackman really fleshes out the basic morality tale of "Racism is bad / Equality is good", avoiding simplistic answers. There is no neat closure here. Heroes commit atrocities and villains make broken gestures of kindness. Ironically, there is no black and white. Such richness was thrilling, especially when you consider this is written for the teenage market.

More than this the plot unfolds with the timing of a thriller, and even though one can see developments and twists approaching from a mile away, Blackman writes it so well that I found myself hardly caring. The events that transpire might be predictable, but the complex and brave characterisation make the ride compelling.

On the down side, there are some clichés that trip the story up at times. It's not enough to cripple the narrative, but it does slow it down and I, for one, found myself annoyed at such small but noticeable setbacks. These clichés can be brushed over and you can still thoroughly enjoy the text, but for me it stopped the book becoming a bonafide classic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "ultimatechocaholic" on 18 Mar 2005
Format: Paperback
My best friend read this book, told me about it and lent it to me, but although she siad it was an amazing read, until I opened the book at the first page and got emersed in the world weaved by Blackman for myself, i could not begin to imagain how much this book would come to mean to me and how, years later, i have not been able to stop remembering and recomending it.
The character's of Sephy and Callum are so well described that you feel as though you personally know them, and desperately want to intervene in their lives at the crucial points in the plot when their lives are most uncertain and their emotions so raw and sincere. Malorie Blackman not only writes to entertain the reader, but to challenge societie's views on race, relationships, power and ultitimately, love. for Sephy and Callum, at the heart of their relationship was a true and persistent love, of the kind which many of us strive for, for ourselves or for our world. I can't reccomend this book enough, but as it was for me, you cant't even begin to appreciate the beauty and pain of this book until you pick it up for yourself, and once you do, you'll not be able to put it down until the very last page, which will leave you desperate for the sequel (which is probably the second best book I have ever read. But again, please don't just take my word for it).
One word of warning though, don't even think about reading this book without a copious amount of tissues to hand, as you will need them for every emotion which will be played upon. I have read this book twice now and I think I cried longer and harder the second time, despite that fact that i knew what was to come. Please, read it!!
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152 of 164 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Mar 2001
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because I'd read a lot of Malorie's other books and really liked them. But this book is like nothing I've ever read before. It's so class, I don't know what to say about it. It's a bit like Romeo and Juliet but tons and tonss better. I felt like I wasn't just watching Callum and Sephy but I was them. I could understand exactly why they behaved the way they did. And I actually started thinking of them as real people. I'm still thinking about them. They both made me laugh and - I admit it - they both made me cry. I'm glad no one knows who I am. It's a bit embarressing for a 15 year old boy to admit that a book made him cry but as long as my friends don't find out, that's okay. I loved this book. I'm going to read it again now. It made me think more about racism and prejudice where I live, in my school and even at home. I wish everyone could read it. It's so good, it deserves to get 5 and a half stars out of 5.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Sep 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is about racism and prejudice of all kinds - it's both entertaining and educational. The writer shows the viewpoint from both sides of the 'fence' and shows why prejudice is a two-way thing that ultimately hurts both sides. Blackman encourages the reader to look at their own attitudes by pointing out things that might never have occurred before (eg - I never thought how plasters are only made in a pinky-white person kind of colour before!) I think that any intelligent person (child or adult) who reads this book will put it down having learnt something about themselves, society and the importance of equality. This is a good book and I can't wait to read the sequel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Craig HALL OF FAME on 13 Dec 2002
Format: Paperback
Imagine a world in which black people get all the good jobs, and white ones are the underclass - persecuted, despised as "Noughts", and unable even to buy a sticking plaster that isn't dark brown. That's what Malorie Blackman, one of the most radical and exciting writers for older children, has done. Sophie is a Cross and Callum a Nought, going to the same school. His mother works for Sophie's family, very much as black people in South Africa work for white families. Like Romeo & Juliet they fall passionately in love, but their love is forbidden and must end in tragedy.
Like the best SF, this makes you see your own world differently, and care for the characters involved. My only crticism is that all the characters sound a bit too like 'The Fresh Prince of Bel Air', ie, the rhythms of their speech are black. But then maybe that's what would happen in the alternative world Blackman has created. All her novels, such as the wonderful Pig Heart Boy have been explorations of what it feels like to be different, but this is the most explicit, and it breaks your heart. Everybody should read it.
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