Not Just Black And White
review by Maryom
Sephy and Callum live in a society split into two distinct classes - the dark-skinned Crosses, who are in charge and who have all the well paid jobs and big houses, and the pale Noughts, who are second-class citizens limited to menial, low paid work and substandard housing. This society doesn't approve of their friendship for Sephy is a Cross and Callum a nought, and the two classes should never mix. As they grow up and their relationship becomes more than friendship, they begin to wonder how it will ever be possible to be together. Against a background of increasing racial tension and violence, they try to find a way....
I won this book a while ago - a signed copy, as well! - and ever since it's sat on the To Be Read pile while I've read books that came in for review or from the library. Going away on holiday recently, I decided to take it with me as something the Teen could read as well if she liked. Now I wish I hadn't left it so long. I think that because I'd heard so much about it in through magazines, the web, library posters etc, as a sort of cross-racial Romeo and Juliet that I felt I had a pretty good idea of what to expect - but it outdid all my expectations.
Noughts and Crosses is an absolutely brilliant, devastating tale of love against the odds. Using first person narrative alternating between Sephy and Callum, Malorie Blackman allows the reader to see inside the minds of the characters, to contrast Sephy's comparative naiveté with Callum's greater awareness of social stereotyping and bigotry, and to see both sides of their misunderstandings. The reader is made to face up to the dreadful realities of racial segregation and, as Callum is drawn into his brother's world of political activism, the story moves to a dramatic, heart-stopping ending.
An absolute 'must read' for anyone, not merely teens.
Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Corgi (Random House)
Genre - Romance/Thriller, Teen
Buy Noughts And Crosses (Part1 of Noughts & Crosses Trilogy) from Amazon