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93 of 99 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern Youth Classic that just misses the mark
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...
Published on 2 July 2007 by Mr. T. COLEMAN

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but strictly for young adult readers
I am conscious that, as an adult, I'm not the target audience for this book, so I am giving Malorie Blackman's dystopian novel three stars because I'm sure a 15 year old would have enjoyed it a lot more than I did. I was expecting something like 'The Hunger Games' in terms of a writing style that could cross over from YA to 'grown up' fiction, but I found the 'Noughts &...
Published 2 months ago by Asphodelia


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93 of 99 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern Youth Classic that just misses the mark, 2 July 2007
By 
Mr. T. COLEMAN "Jesus freak movie geek" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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.

In short, this is a great book, and the creative flair far out weighs the few stylistic hiccups. Blackman writes with such courage, conviction, and insight, I found myself challenged about my own innate world view. For what it matters, I'm a white middle class man, and this book caused me afresh to look at my own attitude to what I really believe about racism and equality. In this, the book is a roaring success, and if it causes more of us to honestly appraise our own hearts in regards to race, the better.
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151 of 162 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant!, 23 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Noughts and Crosses (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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The BEST book you'll EVER read!!, 18 Mar 2005
This review is from: Noughts and Crosses (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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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 review is from: Noughts and Crosses (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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63 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, exciting, moving, stunning and thought-provoking, 13 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Noughts and Crosses (Hardcover)
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
By 
This review is from: Noughts and Crosses (Paperback)
"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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant, completely original story about race and love, 13 Dec 2002
By 
A. Craig "Amanda Craig" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Noughts and Crosses (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Legend of books...emotionally captivating and powerful, 6 Jan 2004
By 
Imran (Nelson, Lancashire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
I read Noughts and Crosses in 2 days....the book had me in tears, had my in hysterical laughter at times...and it made me think. Its about two people - from different classes - noughts (under class people) and the crosses (upper class). Sephy and Callum grew up together and as they grow older, they know they are in love with each other but they have to face many obstacles that stand in their way.
This book persuaded me to tell a close friend that I was in love with her...and to this day I have been with her for a year..thanks to this amazing, wonderful and mesmorizing book. You HAVE to read this book...even if it means paying £20.
The book is powerful, and it highlights the present problems we face in society - racism and terrorism. Its about love and honesty in a brutal society.
I would definately recommend this book to anyone, people from all races and backgrounds...sit down and just read this book...whether your in a plane, holiday or at University..You definately need to read Noughts and Crosses....a must have.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the most amazing thinf ive ever read, 10 July 2006
By 
G. M. Eveleigh "--rhi--" (england) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Naughts & Crosses (Hardcover)
Noughts and Crosses...

well there is so much to say about this book. i started reading it because my friend recomended it but by the first few chapters i was hypnotised and over a few days there wasn't much i could think about but this book. Half of the time i was reading the book, the other half i was tihnking about it. it's a book that grips your imagination and with such a vivid reality of racism you get caought up in the plot you almost become the characters. i was dissapointed with the ending because i like the classic fairy tale ending but the following books in the trilogy made up for the ending. Knifes Endge and Checkmate both extremely amazing books but Noughts and Crosses was definately my favourite probably because of the romance mixed in with the storyline.

if i had to read a book again it would defineatley be noughts and crosses.

i recommend anybody with a passion should read this book!

read it, read it, read it!

it is about a society that is lead by the black people or the crosses who feel they are superior to the white skinned noughts. Sephy is a black girl and her father is very important in the biast society. Callum is a white skinned nought. The two childhood friends start to realise that in a world split in two their friendship is frowned upon. They fight predjudice and develop their relationship but can they win when they have the world against them? What sacrafices and desires will they loose?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC!! BREATHTAKING!! need I say more, 19 Dec 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Noughts and Crosses (Paperback)
I bought Noughts and Crosses two days ago and I finished it yesterday. I was left sobbing and wanting more. From reading the first line in Waterstones to taking deep breaths as I neared the absolutely shocking climax, I was hooked. I hav never read a book like this, there are two narrators so you get two points of views which is incredible. It completely opened my eyes to racism, I really had no idea. The wonderful relationship between Callum and Sephy made the book for me and truly showed that when you love as much as they did you'll do anything to be together. I did find myself feeling that this book was a bit too old for me, I'm thirteen but still anyone should read this book. I do not regret reading this book it's the most amazing book for anyone. I've only one word left to say: WOW!!
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