Book Reviews of Naughts & Crosses (Naughts & Crosses, Bk 1)

Naughts  & Crosses (Naughts & Crosses, Bk 1)
Naughts Crosses - Naughts & Crosses, Bk 1
Author: Malorie Blackman
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ISBN-13: 9781416900160
ISBN-10: 1416900160
Publication Date: 5/31/2005
Pages: 400
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating:
  • Currently 4.6/5 Stars.
 4

4.6 stars, based on 4 ratings
Publisher: Simon Schuster Children's Publishing
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

4 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Naughts & Crosses (Naughts & Crosses, Bk 1) on + 774 more book reviews
Definitely a book that was written to convey an Important Message for Teenagers. Set in a world that is very like our own, except that in this version, black individuals are in charge (Crosses), and white people (Noughts) are fighting for their civil rights - often through methods that become terrorism.
A Cross girl and the son of her family's maid, a Nought, friends from childhood, grow up and fall in love. But can they overcome their society's prejudices to be together?
Blackman does an excellent job of portraying not only the external forces ranged against her characters, but the emotional and psychological toll that racism takes - from people on both sides of the equation. She doesn't shy away from the portrayal of harsh realities and likelihoods, either.
However, stylistically, this is still definitely a 'teen' novel.
Also, except for the reversal of skin tones, there isn't really anything else in the plot that puts this book into the realm of speculative fiction - Blackman isn't really writing an 'alternative' history - she's writing about our world.
reviewed Naughts & Crosses (Naughts & Crosses, Bk 1) on + 43 more book reviews
Naughts & Crosses is interesting. it's similar to that movie with John Travolta and Sidney Poitier in which the history has flipped and whites are the oppressed and blacks are running the show. However, this is a YA novel, and it's written by a black woman which means, among other things, that the myriad little ways privilege plays out, especially unconsciously, are well-represented and that the ending is not trite or Hollywood-ish. Overall, I had mixed feelings about it, especially when I heard that schools have started including it in their curricula, not just their libraries. IMO, it's hard to teach race relations well, especially if the teacher has not thoroughly examined her/his own baggage. Also, I suppose one could use this as an example when discussing whether racism/prejudice still exists in Great Britain/Europe since the author is British, even though the setting for the books is a fictional distopia. It's first in a series. I might check out the others.
reviewed Naughts & Crosses (Naughts & Crosses, Bk 1) on + 7145 more book reviews
Reviewed by Jocelyn Pearce for TeensReadToo.com

In NAUGHTS & CROSSES, the author creates a very believable alternate world that is almost like our own--but the main difference is a major one. Everything you think you know about race relations and prejudice holds true, but is switched. The ruling class to which Sephy Hadley's family belongs are the black Crosses, named for their supposed closeness to God. The other, the white Naughts, like Callum and his family, are second-class citizens. In this world, it's unacceptable for a Naught and a Cross to be real friends, and unthinkable for them to fall in love. Callum and Sephy are breaking all the rules of the society they live in.

The two have known each other from a very young age, when Callum's mother worked in the Hadley household. Even after she loses her job, though, Sephy and Callum remain secretly close. They meet in secrecy, forced to tell lies and make up excuses, but they never stop seeing each other, no matter how difficult it is. Soon, though, they'll see each other every day--but that's not as good as it sounds. A new law has been passed, and a limited number of Naughts will now be allowed to attend Cross schools. Callum has been accepted into Sephy's school, and Sephy's excited to see her best friend more often. Callum, however, knows that letting their friendship be public could prove very dangerous for both of them. Things continue to get worse when Sephy and her mother are nearly caught in a terrorist bombing. Sephy's life is saved when Callum pulls her out of the building just in time, but nobody's fooled--that's no coincidence. Suspicion falls on Callum's family.

Callum's father is the prime suspect in planting the bomb, supposedly on the orders of a radical Naught terrorist group, the Liberation Militia, or L.M. They're devoted to their goals of rights for Naughts, and they'll go to any length to achieve them. This world even has a parallel to Martin Luther King, Jr.; Alex Luther is an activist whose goal is to achieve equality peacefully. Callum's mother is a supporter of his, but Callum's father and brother don't believe that Alex Luther's way of doing things will actually get anything done. The events that unfold after the bombing threaten not only Sephy and Callum's relationship, but their very lives and the lives of those around them.

NAUGHTS & CROSSES is a fantastic story, and one that will keep your mind occupied long past the final pages. The world created in Malorie Blackman's novel is one that is much like our own, and inspires a lot of "what if?" questions. What if that was our world? It's not so far off to imagine. How would our lives be different? They almost certainly would be. You wouldn't be where you are now. You wouldn't be who you are now; everything would be remarkably different, but still so much the same.

Malorie Blackman's writing does plenty to draw you in and keep your attention with the story, not bothering with the excessive and often boring detail used by some authors. It's definitely a page-turner! Sephy and Callum are very well-developed main characters, and the secondary characters are quite believable, as well. The story is told in alternating chapters narrated by Sephy and Callum, which really adds a lot to it. Sephy and Callum are remarkable people, showing the strength that love can have, the bridges it can cross, and the determination to see past what's on the outside. That last quality is one that is, sadly, not as common in our world (or Sephy's and Callum's) as it should be. Sephy and Callum also show how willing children are to love, regardless of the prejudices of their world, before their minds are poisoned by their elders. Sephy and Callum became friends at a young age and, remarkably, they stayed that way (and became more), despite the prejudices of their society. NAUGHTS & CROSSES is a remarkable book, one that you won't want to put down once you've started reading.
reviewed Naughts & Crosses (Naughts & Crosses, Bk 1) on + 7145 more book reviews
Reviewed by Jocelyn Pearce for TeensReadToo.com

In NAUGHTS & CROSSES, the author creates a very believable alternate world that is almost like our own--but the main difference is a major one. Everything you think you know about race relations and prejudice holds true, but is switched. The ruling class to which Sephy Hadley's family belongs are the black Crosses, named for their supposed closeness to God. The other, the white Naughts, like Callum and his family, are second-class citizens. In this world, it's unacceptable for a Naught and a Cross to be real friends, and unthinkable for them to fall in love. Callum and Sephy are breaking all the rules of the society they live in.

The two have known each other from a very young age, when Callum's mother worked in the Hadley household. Even after she loses her job, though, Sephy and Callum remain secretly close. They meet in secrecy, forced to tell lies and make up excuses, but they never stop seeing each other, no matter how difficult it is. Soon, though, they'll see each other every day--but that's not as good as it sounds. A new law has been passed, and a limited number of Naughts will now be allowed to attend Cross schools. Callum has been accepted into Sephy's school, and Sephy's excited to see her best friend more often. Callum, however, knows that letting their friendship be public could prove very dangerous for both of them. Things continue to get worse when Sephy and her mother are nearly caught in a terrorist bombing. Sephy's life is saved when Callum pulls her out of the building just in time, but nobody's fooled--that's no coincidence. Suspicion falls on Callum's family.

Callum's father is the prime suspect in planting the bomb, supposedly on the orders of a radical Naught terrorist group, the Liberation Militia, or L.M. They're devoted to their goals of rights for Naughts, and they'll go to any length to achieve them. This world even has a parallel to Martin Luther King, Jr.; Alex Luther is an activist whose goal is to achieve equality peacefully. Callum's mother is a supporter of his, but Callum's father and brother don't believe that Alex Luther's way of doing things will actually get anything done. The events that unfold after the bombing threaten not only Sephy and Callum's relationship, but their very lives and the lives of those around them.

NAUGHTS & CROSSES is a fantastic story, and one that will keep your mind occupied long past the final pages. The world created in Malorie Blackman's novel is one that is much like our own, and inspires a lot of "what if?" questions. What if that was our world? It's not so far off to imagine. How would our lives be different? They almost certainly would be. You wouldn't be where you are now. You wouldn't be who you are now; everything would be remarkably different, but still so much the same.

Malorie Blackman's writing does plenty to draw you in and keep your attention with the story, not bothering with the excessive and often boring detail used by some authors. It's definitely a page-turner! Sephy and Callum are very well-developed main characters, and the secondary characters are quite believable, as well. The story is told in alternating chapters narrated by Sephy and Callum, which really adds a lot to it. Sephy and Callum are remarkable people, showing the strength that love can have, the bridges it can cross, and the determination to see past what's on the outside. That last quality is one that is, sadly, not as common in our world (or Sephy's and Callum's) as it should be. Sephy and Callum also show how willing children are to love, regardless of the prejudices of their world, before their minds are poisoned by their elders. Sephy and Callum became friends at a young age and, remarkably, they stayed that way (and became more), despite the prejudices of their society. NAUGHTS & CROSSES is a remarkable book, one that you won't want to put down once you've started reading.