It was while I was perusing the shelves of my local Waterstones in search of the second Harry Potter book that I happened across Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman, and immediately recognised it as one of the titles from the BBC’s Big Read. I later found it at a charity shop on Northcote Road and bought it with the hope of ticking it off my list by the end of the year. Having finished The Secret Keeper, I soon began Noughts & Crosses, but due to a rather busy few weeks it took me longer than I had anticipated to finish it.
Not dissimilar to Romeo and Juliet, Noughts & Crosses explores themes of racism, prejudice and politics and is narrated by the two main characters Sephy, a Cross, and Callum, a Nought. Having been friends since childhood, as they both grow older it soon becomes clear that living in a segregated society, in which dark-skinned Sephy is of the ruling class, compared to colourless Callum who belongs to the underclass, will not only effect their friendship but also lead to a heartbreaking climax for them both.
Turning racial prejudice on its head with a thought-provoking narrative for both teenagers and adults alike, Noughts & crosses challenges the preconceived ideas that we have of society and is a deserved entry on the BBC’s Big Read.
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