Day 1! Review: Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman

7th SeptemberAnnouncement
8th SeptemberNoughts and Crosses Review
9th SeptemberAn Eye for an Eye Review
10th SeptemberCallum Review
11th SeptemberKnife Edge Review
12th SeptemberCheckmate Review
13th SeptemberDouble Cross Review
14th SeptemberNought Forever Review
15th SeptemberCrossfire Review
16th SeptemberDissecting the Blurb – Endgame
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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Trigger Warnings: Abduction; Alcohol use; Child abuse; Domestic abuse; Emotional abuse; Hanging/Lynching; Hate crimes; Mass murder; Racism; Rape; Suicide; Teen Pregnancy; Terrorism

Noughts and Crosses is the opening novel in Malorie Blackman’s bestselling Noughts and Crosses series.

Noughts and Crosses’ main feature is the relationship between Sephy Hadley (a Cross) and Callum McGregor (a Nought). I loved seeing this develop throughout the story, as this was from where the majority of the plot stemmed. However, unlike the majority of relationships seen in books, Sephy and Callum’s was impossible, and to some extent, illegal, as Sephy is a Cross, and Callum is a Nought. The heartbreak caused by this throughout Noughts and Crosses made me extremely angry at the racist system present in Callum and Sephy’s world, even more so when I consider that this was unfortunately the reality for so many people. This was and is never right.

However, in my opinion, the most sickening part of the racism present in Noughts and Crosses is the fact that, as detailled in Malorie Blackman’s foreword, the events in Noughts and Crosses are based on her own experiences. Nobody should ever have to experience the abuse detailled in this book, and it is everyone’s job to stand up, and speak out against racism.

I am sure that every book-lover has reached the point with a where they feel angry with a book’s characters that they want to metaphorically ‘throw their book across the room’. For the first time ever when reading, the majority of my anger was not directed at the characters – it was all directed at society. I have never felt this way before when reading. I was left with so many questions, of why the horrendous events detailled have happened, and still happen today.

I found it incredibly powerful to read from both Callum and Sephy’s perspectives throughout Noughts and Crosses, especially when we read both of their interpretation of events. In fact, this made me increasingly annoyed and angry at Sephy, for being so blind to the racism that Callum was experiencing. The dual-narration really helped to highlight the racism in Noughts and Crosses, which was a real eye-opening experience for me, and I believe that this is the most powerful aspect of Noughts and Crosses.

The dual-narration also helped to build up tension throughout Noughts and Crosses. This was especially prominent when Callum and Sephy were apart, as well as at natural points of tension. I would finish reading from one perspective, desperate to know what would happen next to them, and then I would feel the same about the other perspective. This happened all the way through Noughts and Crosses, meaning that there was never a dull moment.

Blackman has crafted the plot for Noughts and Crosses in such a way that it is incredibly detailled, but never confusing. This helped me to understand what was happening to each character at every point in this novel, and further enhanced my enjoyment as a reader. I also really liked it how events were shown seamlessly from each perspective, as everything fit together perfectly, with nothing that I would question about the book’s timeline.

Noughts and Crosses struck the perfect balance of characters to like and not to like. Personally, I mainly liked the McGregors, Sephy, and at times, Minerva and Jasmine, whilst I did not like Kamal, or any of the racist people that Callum encountered at Heathcroft High at all. This really helped with the storytelling, as I wanted the plot to reflect my feelings towards the characters, and I felt their emotions simultaneously to the plot. This really reflected each character’s stance towards Noughts, as I sympathised with the McGregors, and was very angry on their behalf, I was angry with Sephy at times, but I respected her when she was trying to understand the racism that Callum, and countless others, suffer. On the other hand, I was constantly growing more and more annoyed at Kamal for his racist and disgusting views, and for the decisions that he was forcing Sephy and Callum to make.

However, Noughts and Crosses was by no means an easy read. You are looking through the eyes of Noughts experiencing racial abuse, Crosses who are being racist, Crosses who want to help, and those who cannot, or will not help. Noughts and Crosses also covers some sensitive and challenging topics (as detailled in the trigger warnings at the top of this review), so I would recommend approaching this book with caution. Despite having said this, Noughts and Crosses is incredibly well-written, which was another stand out feature of this book.

Overall, I recommend Noughts and Crosses to a young adult, and adult audience aged 13+, as long as they are comfortable reading about the trigger warnings listed above. Noughts and Crosses has made me view the world in a completely different way, and I simply cannot recommend it enough.

Tomorrow’s post is my review of An Eye For An Eye.

Thank you for reading this post.


24 thoughts on “Day 1! Review: Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman

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