Buy Noughts and Crosses and the sequel Knife Edge in a 2 for 1 package here
By Malorie Blackman
Recommended Reading Age: 14+
Critically acclaimed author, Malorie Blackman, tackles issues of race in this reversing of segregation in an alternate dystopian landscape of England in the 1960s. Persephone (Sephy) Hadley is a dark-skinned Cross and daughter of a successful politician. Her childhood friend Callum is a Nought with light skin and his Mother is a former employee of the Hadleys as Sephy’s Nanny. When tensions rise, secrets are revealed and Callum’s Mother Meggie is fired from her position in the household, the friends struggle to maintain their relationship despite the harsh judgement of those who cannot understand their connection. When Callum and the Noughts are finally granted access to Sephy’s Cross school, peer pressure mounts and their friendship is tested. Amidst a backdrop of political strife and rebellion, how much does the colour of your skin define who you are and where your allegiances lie?
Taking a frank look at the complex issues surrounding race, racism and resentment, Blackman creates a series which remains in the forefront of my mind ten years after first reading it aged fourteen, as relevant now as it was in 2003. At the time this was the book I’d pass on to my friends insisting they read it immediately. Even those who hated reading found themselves enthralled with the characters and pacy plot, in this modern Romeo and Juliet tale. An eye opening read that intelligently and sympathetically explores troublesome topics such as family, sex, death and love amidst forced separation.
Noughts and Crosses