I struggled so much to write this review, this book was so much more than what I thought it would be.
It follows two characters- Callum, a white boy who's a Nought, and Sephy, a black girl who is a Cross. Now, noughts and crosses don't mix, in fact, the noughts are the inferior race in this world, and Crosses basically run the place and are the superior more respected race. The whole race divide is completely switched around meaning, black and whites are switched around. At times, I really struggled to actually let it sink in that noughts/Callum, are the ones who suffer in this world. It properly sank in around the 10th chapter lol. So surreal. They have no rights, no equality, they were slaves but are no longer slaves, yet they can still only do so little while the Crosses rule the country. It's all so politically twisted.
Callum & Sephy are in love and they try to make it work, but they have so many obstacles to overcome, Callum hates her for being the superior race, and for always trying to help when it comes out as pity for the Noughts, it's all so confusing, for them I mean, and Callum wants to do something good with his life and make changes but his race doesn't allow him to even come close to anything like that. They love each other, but the cost of loving each other is too high and almost unbearable. It had a Romeo and Juliet vibes too, lovers being torn apart by their overbearing families. Society really frowns upon their love or any noughts and crosses mixing that it almost tears them apart.
Apart from the whole race issue, the book also is about equality, and justice, rights of all human beings, being brave and fighting for what you believe in. It's so touching to read. Also, I liked the fact that the book was based in our time, sort of now-ish, and not in the past. But it makes it so uncomfortable because we have come so far from slavery, yet in this book, not much has changed in terms of equality and rights to all human races. It's still so backwards. So interesting to read.
I felt many mixed emotions reading this book, anger, and sorrow, pain, anguish, I also felt the strong bond between Callum & Sephy, and how much they really loved each other, so deeply despite what they had to go through, and how their skin color didn't matter and how society viewed them. So painful but so beautifully written. I found myself thinking about Callum and Sephy when I wasn't reading the book, and would itch to read a chapter or two to see what was happening with them. As a black female, I felt at times uncomfortable or saddened to be reminded that these things did exist and if I was born on a different decade I would be faced with such issues, it broke my heart to remember that. But also felt grateful for how far we have come to tackle equal rights and racism in this world.
A very gripping story. Although this is a series, I don't think I could stomach the other Malorie Blackman books. I felt that this was enough for me, and absolutely loved this story and would highly recommend it to be added to any reading list!
Absolutely a great read. Two thumbs up! 👍👍