The Book Corner's Book Series of the month: Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Written by Lois Hilton

Reading is always a great way to relax and delve into a world different to our own. With so many things going on in the world today, it’s always great to disappear into someone else’s life through a book. When I read Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses, I immediately felt this way. However, it also opened my eyes to the current world we live in, and how far certain issues can escalate behind the scenes.

So far, the series consists of 5 books, each revolving around a series of characters, but also delving into new ones. We follow the perspective of the world from two sides; The Crosses, members of ‘the dark-skinned ruling class’ [1] who hold powerful positions in society, and the Noughts, ‘‘colourless’ members of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses’,[1] who are viewed as inferior and who hold little power.

In the first book, we follow the love story of Sephy, a Cross who’s the daughter of a well-respected politician, and Callum, a Nought whose mum used to work for Sephy’s house.

Blackman presents the innocence of childhood love through Sephy and Callum, but she also uses the events in the story to highlight serious issues and their consequences in both the Noughts and Crosses world and in our own world. Racism, terrorism, gangs, sexism and prejudice are just a few of the issues explored in the series.

Currently, in the world today, we are seeing these issues in the news, which makes these books even more poignant to read. We can all relate to or empathise with these issues in some way, and these books can help us to connect and see the extent of hatred and what both sides are feeling. This is and will always be one of my favourite book series. It is such an eye-opener to some of the issues we face but aren’t always shown in full.

There are so many good features in these books. One of my favourites is the connection we develop with the characters: the first book has two protagonists and alternates between the two. Throughout the other books, we switch between two or more characters as well.

When reading, you leave whatever world you are currently in and delve into this dystopian one that Blackman has created. The detail and imagery she has created is amazing, and the world becomes like a second home when you’re reading. Showing two sides of the story really helps you to understand the situations even more and emphasises the difference between the two societies she’s created. The chapters she uses are mostly short and sweet, which really help you to connect with the story and switch between the characters, hearing their whole stories. It also helps emphasise how there are always different sides to a story and how we should listen to all of them.

So, why should you read this story? Well, its morality is overwhelming and will really make you rethink situations or issues you see regularly. It also shows the simple issues every teenager faces. I would totally recommend it! Though, you may need tissues…I cried a lot.

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