Noughts and Crosses is an alternate reality fiction based in a 21st-century parallel universe. Their world, technologically at least, is similar to the one we live in today: about the same jobs, same type of government etc. But there is one key difference: equality between races is lacking and there aren't many laws or constitutions to protect from discrimination. There are two races in the book: the Crosses (darker-skinned people who we in our current universe would call 'Black') the superior race with the individuals owning most of the wealth, good jobs different and better schools etc. The second race, the noughts (lighter-skinned people who we would refer to as "white") are at the poorer end of society usually doing manual labour or being servant to Crosses, with poor schools – if any at all.
A dystopian Romeo and Juliet that makes eloquent statements about race relations and the burning passions of the teenage heart, Noughts and Crosses is absolutely pivotal in the evolution of the Young Adult novel. The first of an astonishingly consistent series from former Waterstones Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman, Noughts and Crosses stands as trailblazing work of literature.
By Malorie Blackman