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NAUGHTS AND CROSSES by Malorie Blackman

NAUGHTS AND CROSSES

By Malorie Blackman

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: June 1st, 2005
ISBN: 1-4169-0016-0
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

What if people were judged by the color of their skin? Sephy and Callum have been in love all their lives, but theirs is a forbidden romance. Sephy is a Cross: Black-skinned, wealthy and daughter of an important politician. White-skinned Callum is a naught, devastatingly poor and powerless. The law now allows naughts to enter Cross schools, and Sephy is thrilled that Callum will attend her school. But the seemingly positive desegregation degenerates into a nightmarish tangle of events ranging from expulsions, to bombings by the naught Liberation Militia, to hangings. Sephy and Callum can only make a hope for the future out of the ruins of their own lives. The teens’ romance against overwhelming odds is straightforward and moving. The ideological message, on the other hand, would be more powerful if it focused more on the subtle ingrained racisms of modern society (“They don’t sell pink Band-Aids. Only dark brown ones.”) and less on a formalized apartheid that will be both alien and ancient history to most young readers. (Fiction. YA)