Thursday 12 June 2014

Review: Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Two young people are forced to make a stand in this thought-provoking look at racism and prejudice in an alternate society.

Sephy is a Cross -- a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a Nought -- a “colourless” member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood, but that’s as far as it can go. In their world, Noughts and Crosses simply don’t mix. Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum -- a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger. Can they possibly find a way to be together?

In this gripping, stimulating and totally absorbing novel, black and white are right and wrong.

Review: I had this novel sitting on my shelf for a long time and in the end I decided to borrow the audiobook from the library just so that I could read it on a long car journey I had to make. I have to admit I'd heard a lot of hype about this book and so I was prepared not to like it because I think when books are built up that much, sometimes they can be a total let down, however, I was pleasantly surprised! This book has a wonderful strong message and is so much like real life, I found I really enjoyed it. 

The main message of this book is about racial inequality and the different between the noughts (the white people) and the crosses (the black people). It's like the racial war that was being fought by Martin Luther King jr was reversed in this novel, the crosses hold the power and the noughts are not allowed to go to the same schools or have the same jobs as each other. The message shows the reader that dramatic consequences occur when society is allowed to carry on like this. I think this would be an amazing books for teaching in schools about racial inequality and so I can see why Malorie Blackman became the children's laureate. 

The characters were interesting, considering the fact that they are teens, they are both really quite strong and both have a wonderful sense of right and wrong. They are not the moany over-analytical teens you sometimes find in YA novels, but have morals and want to change the racial inequality. I found this refreshing and liked both of the main characters. The storyline is fast paced and action packed meaning that you literally don't want to stop reading! 

I think that this is the kind of book you could access at any age. It's got such a strong message and such a good storyline, you would enjoy it no matter what direction you were coming from. I think it should be on the English curriculum or the PSHCE curriculum because it is quite simply something that young people should read, especially considering that changes that have occurred in society since Martin Luther King made his famous speech, but the gender inequality that's still exists and the prejudices which are still very much a problem today. 

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