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Noughts and Crosses [Paperback]

Malorie Blackman
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (496 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 April 2002
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 Crosses schools...Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity by Noughts unable to accept the injustices any longer, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum - a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger...

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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: 19.4 x 13 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (496 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 214,441 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.


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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
89 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern Youth Classic that just misses the mark 2 July 2007
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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150 of 161 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant! 23 Mar 2001
By A Customer
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
4.0 out of 5 stars More than entertainment 1 Sep 2005
By A Customer
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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62 of 69 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I read Noughts & Crosses in one go, although I didn't mean to. It grabbed me from the second chapter and wouldn't let go. It took me all day and well into the night to read it as I'm not a very fast reader, but it was worth it. This book made me laugh out loud in certain bits, made me tear two of the pages in my haste to turn the pages in certain bits and the end of the book made me cry. No book has ever done that before. The whole story was brilliant! There isn't a single bit that I thought was boring or had to skip over. And when I closed the book, I couldn't stop thinking about it. It's the best book I've ever read in my life. I don't think five stars are enough. It should have 10! It should have 100! Read it now. You'll love it!
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will turn your view of the world upside down 13 Dec 2003
"Noughts and crosses" is being marketed as a children's book but don't let that keep you from reading it - I'm in my mid-20'es and absolutely loved it. The story is thought-provoking to say the least and the characters stop being characters after about 15-20 pages and become real people who you will care for and root for till the very end.
It's equal parts suspense and love story and both will have you at the edge of your seat, turning page after page and needing to "just read one more chapter" until you are well into the wee hours of the morning.
Don't keep anything breakable nearby though as the unfairness of it all will have you wanting to hurl something heavy through the air quite a lot; instead, a box of tissues will come in handy as the ending is both incredibly sad and incredibly beautiful. All in all the book, its theme, its questions, and its people will stay with you for days after you've finished it and it is a book which you shouldn't cheat yourself of. This is the first book I've read by Marjorie Blackman but it definitely won't be the last.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic!
I really enjoyed this book, although it was a bit obvious through the 1st person points of view what was going to happen in the end... Apart from that a well written book! Read more
Published 1 day ago by Eleanor
5.0 out of 5 stars as well as exploring forbidden love and friendship
I read this book as I am due to start teacher training and wanted to get as many of the curriculum novels under my belt before I start. Read more
Published 1 day ago by M Kennedy
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book!
I thought Noughts and Crosses was an astonishing read. It’s incredibly well written and a very powerful book. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Chrissi Read
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great Purchase!
Published 7 days ago by lauren
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really interesting read
Published 9 days ago by Lauren Young
4.0 out of 5 stars Review
It's really good and worth the money. It's just the ending is really disappointing but the book was very well written.
Published 9 days ago by ejellie
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, in any case
Science Fiction ? Romeo and Juliet set in apartheid era Soweto? A great read , in any case, with believable, sympathetic characters worn down by the situations they find... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Mr N Prichard
5.0 out of 5 stars such an amazing book, I fell in love with the story ...
such an amazing book, I fell in love with the story and also fell in love Callum and Sephy's love story. Would recommend it to any one
Published 12 days ago by Leanne
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Makes you think!
Published 16 days ago by Sheila
5.0 out of 5 stars Noughts and crosses masterpiece
The book is a masterpiece it leaves u with some many questions and its so realistically true.I can't wait to read the next book
Published 19 days ago by Jess Draper
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