Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman


Synopsis from Amazon:

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. Until the first steps are taken towards more social equality and a limited number of Noughts are allowed into Crosses schools…Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity by Noughts unable to accept the injustices any longer, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum – a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger…

This is one of the best books I have read all year. Blackman writes about race and the trials faced in an unequal society. She writes magnificantly. The story follows Sephy, a black girl whose father holds a lot of power, and Callum, a white boy, 18 months older, whose family have no rights. The reader watches them grow up in this unfair, prejudice society where race is everything and the whites form a militant group, a terrorist group, in hopes to gain some equality. This is an incredibly tough subject to write about, and Blackman does it so well. In some ways it is a horror story, in others a sad tale. Noughts and Crosses has made me stop and think about why people turn to violence, how blessed we are that for the most part we live in a civilised, equal society and ultimately, what I would do in either of their positions.

I loved both characters, Sephy and Callum. I found myself willing them on, hoping for the best, despairing for them, grieving for them. I felt so many emotions during the book, and the ending, well I could cry.

I don’t think I have a critism. Yes sometimes the storyline was a touch predictible, but did that spoil the story? No. Will I be reading the rest of the series? Yes. This is an amazing book, and it is has touched me in many ways.



Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
Amazon synopsis:
‘You cannot pretend to read a book. Your eyes will give you away. So will your breathing. A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe. The house can catch alight and a reader deep in a book will not look up until the wallpaper is in flames.’ Bougainville. 1991. A small village on a lush tropical island in the South Pacific. Eighty-six days have passed since Matilda’s last day of school as, quietly, war is encroaching from the other end of the island. When the villagers’ safe, predictable lives come to a halt, Bougainville’s children are surprised to find the island’s only white man, a recluse, re-opening the school. Pop Eye, aka Mr Watts, explains he will introduce the children to Mr Dickens. Matilda and the others think a foreigner is coming to the island and prepare a list of much needed items. They are shocked to discover their acquaintance with Mr Dickens will be through Mr Watts’ inspiring reading of Great Expectations. But on an island at war, the power of fiction has dangerous consequences. Imagination and beliefs are challenged by guns.Mister Pip is an unforgettable tale of survival by story; a dazzling piece of writing that lives long in the mind after the last page is finished.

I found this to be an incredible book. I loved it from the first page. Jones touches on the issues of race and civil war. It was interesting watching the battle between Mr. Watts and his book Great Expectations and Matilda’s mum and her Bible. Jones wrote this so well, expressing the naivety of the islanders in a sensitive manner.

There are some heart breaking moments throughout the book which actually added to the magic of the book as it drew you in more.

My favourite character was Mr. Watts, even after his ex-wife’s story. He was sensitive and brave. He stood out for being the only white man in the village but that didn’t seem to faze him at all. He stood up and was counted, and I liked that in him.

8/10 – a good read