Publisher: Corgi (Random House)
Release Date: 30th August 2012
Edition: UK paperback, review copy
Other Titles in this Series: Knife Edge, Checkmate, Double Cross
Callum is a nought – an inferior white citizen in a society controlled by the black Crosses.
Sephy is a Cross – and the daughter of one of the most powerful, ruthless men in the country.
In their hostile, violent world, noughts and Crosses simply don't mix. But when Sephy and Callum’s childhood friendship grows into passionate love, they’re determined to find a way to be together.
And then the bomb explodes...
There are very few people left in the world of YA that haven’t heard of Noughts and Crosses and I think I’m probably one of the last to read it.
With a single mention of Malorie Blackman’s most-popular series comes a slew of praise that is almost akin to reverence. Needless to say, my expectations were sky-high, but unfortunately, they weren’t quite met. I think that the reputation of this book had a lot to do with the fact that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had expected I would. I also knew what were probably the two biggest plot twists in the novel, although one of them still made me cry surprisingly.
I did get more in to the novel about two thirds of the way through, and I think I know why. Sephy. She annoyed the hell out of me. She was so self-involved, whiny and so, so young. Her problems and worries seemed so insignificant in comparison to Callum’s, who I fell in love with by the way. Thankfully, Sephy grew up a lot throughout Noughts and Crosses and I ended up sympathising with her and really feeling for her when she struggled.
While I was still struggling with Noughts and Crosses there was something that kept me turning the pages: the shock factor. Malorie Blackman made me think of things that I’d never even considered before, mostly the scene with the plaster where they only had brown ones, no lighter ones to match the noughts’ skin. I realised that the reverse of that is true here and I couldn’t quite believe it. It was a shocking and extreme reality that would have been experienced in the past and I couldn’t quite believe it.
Racism isn’t the only issue tackled in Noughts and Crosses though. There was terrorism, prejudice, bullying, alcoholism and the ever present struggles of growing up. Every problem in Sephy and Callum’s society is tackled or at the very least, talked about. And most of them stemmed from the racism and the corrupt government. It’s a terrifying world that makes happy endings very difficult to come by. The short story included in this edition, Callum, made this point very nicely. It was really interesting to read an alternative version of what is probably the most pivotal scene in the novel.
I ended up enjoying Noughts and Crosses and I’ll be interesting in reading the rest of the series, though I’m not overly eager to get round to them. Hopefully I’ll become more involved in later books.
Thank you to Random House for providing me with a copy for review.