Book Review: Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Title: Noughts & Crosses

Author: Malorie Blackman

Publisher: Random House

Rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

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. In their world, Noughts and Crosses simply don’t mix. Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum — a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger. Can they possibly find a way to be together?


I finished this book in two days! I remember picking it up as a child and never really understanding the storyline but always interested in everyone’s awe about it. So, when I had bundles of time to read I picked it up off my dusty shelf and sat in my reading corner. I started reading at about seven-thirty in the morning and was interrupted when it was time for lunch, I was shocked to see time whizz by when you can’t get your nose out of a good book. The next morning I was back on it!

This novel of a split population creates a variety of emotions, from anger to sorrow. From two point of views with different races, helps a reader to sympathise and interpret their version of life in a racist dystopian. I found it fascinating to realise that neither superior or inferior experiences happiness, although crosses do have more benefits. The representation was so agonising, it made me ache for the main characters. From the uniqueness of their friendship, you long for it to go further than that. Sephy and Callum’s fight against everyone’s opinions of what noughts and crosses rights and regulations are, was an intense anxiety for me, making me flick through pages with haste. You learn to love the characters and live vicariously through the circumstances they are brought up in.

This novel is fascinating, indulging and addictive! I would definitely recommend reading it. And, after I flicked over that last page, I sat with my head in my hands to take everything in that had happened (you’ll understand if you read it), hoping there would be more to the story! The title of ‘Noughts & Crosses’ being a game, shows that once you’ve grasped its objectives and tactics, it always ends in a draw – a no win situation. Which I think represents racism, no one actually wins.

Malorie Blackman showed us the brutalisation of racism and blatantly shows us, we would never wish a life of muting a group. Initially I wasn’t happy with the ending and wanted to rate it low stars but once I gathered my scattered thoughts, I realised the ending was the most significant part of Blackman’s lesson – the effect of discrimination and that no one was winning in a separated society.

If you’re interested in buying the book ‘Noughts & Crosses’ by Malorie Blackman, you can click the link here!