It is about to be a stage show, and the BBC drama is already in the works, not to mention the 5th book is on the way so if you didn’t get stuck into Noughts & Crosses when you were a kid the time to start is now.

Other than the Harry Potter series I have two great literature loves in my life: The Rats (horror fiction at it’s finest) & Noughts And Crosses
Noughts and Crosses was and still remains special to me and pretty much everyone else  who has read it. Malorie Blackman became an honorary aunty the moment I finished the first book.

Yes its an ongoing saga that is far from over but it really isn’t too late to start from the beginning and trust me: you want to. The basics? Sephy is a Cross. Callum is a Nought and this? This is a love story.
This book is really sad, like really sad. The story goes like this:
Sephy is the daughter of the president and Callum? He is the lowest of the low. Now there is a very strict divide between these groups and when his dad is sentenced to death Callum decides it is time for things to change and not in a airy fairy lovey- dovey way either. Callum goes rogue: terrorist rogue.

I need to reiterate the STRICT CLEAR DIVIDE. Think Apartheid or segregation in the USA and you’re on the right track; The thing is; Callum and Sephy are in love, first they sneak around and then they try to fight against the tide that is race and prejudice. Justice and oppression.

This is one of those books that creeps into your day- to-day, you’ll be at the shop buying plasters and remember the chapter where the only ones available in Sephy’s kitchen were dark-skin ones and the vivid description of how it stood out against Callum’s white skin. And then you will wonder why there are no other colour plasters readily available in Tesco, in 2019
Did I mention that the dominant group in this book, the crosses or “daggers” as they are less fondly known are black? And the Noughts, the lesser? They’re white.
Malorie Blackman describes this book not as one she wanted to write but one she HAD to and it isn’t hard to see why when you start reading.

You might be laughing with your friends at dinner and suddenly remember the public executions of the Noughts that took place oh so casually. Which has the eerie ring of lynching and vigilante justice we saw of black people in the past.
As a person of colour, reading this book is the most interesting thing, almost a what if scenario. But also I think I should tell you this is a dystopian novel and not based on reality. It is based in current time though, I think. They have the internet at least.

I can come and tell you, with my chest that this is one of the most un-put-down-able things you will read. You will be on the hunt for Knife Edge (the second in the series) as soon as you put the first book down.
I first cracked open this book many, many years ago but I popped to my local Waterstones and got myself a brand spanking new copy for this review, so that my thoughts would be fresh and I could do it justice.
I don’t want to give away too much of the story in this review because the shock factor is part of what keeps you reading this book, what keeps you turning the pages and breathing in every word.. I don’t really want to ruin it. But I will tell you my favourite quote

“I hadn’t fully realized just how powerful words could be before this. Whoever came up with the saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’ was talking out of his or her armpit.”

If you are reading this and you have a son or daughter, niece or nephew or a mate has a 13 year old kid (I don’t think I would recommend to anyone any younger), this book is perfect for avid readers AND people who don’t really care for it, trust me; gift them this book! If you haven’t read it yet; read this book! Im jealous that you will have fresh eyes, I wish I could read it for the first time again!

Yinka x


  1. Love this review. 100% true. Malorie Blackman and Phillip Pullman are my two favourite authors and I discovered them both from my friends, I’m so great full. You said about the plasters, I remember after I read the book I went into boots or somewhere and remembered the plaster scene and realised how careless it is of shops to do that, how hurt people must be! This is a great review about a great book 😀

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