by Malorie Blackman
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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?
*3-4 stars, what’s the difference?? I just started bawling as I added the quotes, so clearly I’m unreliable*
I held out my hands and she put hers in mine, looking at me ruefully. Love was like an avalanche, with Sephy and I hand-in-hand racing like hell to get out of its way-only instead of running away from it, we kept running straight toward it.
So…hmmm…yeah. This book is an asshole. Seriously. What the ever loving fuck, I mean, REALLY??? Fucking REALLY?!?!? I wouldn’t take much stock in my rating because I don’t know what to rate this. I don’t know how to rate this. And, most importantly, I don’t know what I feel!!! This book is what I’m going to call a ‘Blur Rating’. It’s a new thing, join me, will you? I just decided last night I need a shelf for my blur ratings since they seem to be happening more often than not, lately. I am angry. I am livid. I am upset. I don’t know what to think. I am crushed.
I’ve finally figured it out. I’m dead. I died a long time ago, woke up in hell and didn’t even realize.
The beginning of this book started out with a bang. It was clear that our two main characters were never going to be able to be together and live peacefully. He is a naught, she is a cross. A cross is high society, a naught is low society. One grew up privileged, the other did not. Naughts are spit on, crosses are revered and looked upon as if they are royalty among peasants. But ever since they were little, Callum and Sephy have been meeting up at their ‘secret spot’ so they can hang out together-they are best friends who got separated after tragic circumstances and they have been struggling to stay close since. And my my my what do we have here, you ask?? Well, I’d say we have a case of star-crossed lovers, if I do say so, myself. 😉
Was that all love did for you? Made you give up and give in? Left you open to pain and hurt? If it was, I swore that nothing would ever make me do the same as her.
Even now after sleeping on what happened at the end of this stupid book I am a mess. My eyes are puffy and I hardly slept a wink. I tossed and turned and grumbled and fumbled around until I was a pissy asshole-oh, hey! Just like this book! Ugh.
Each move I made in Callum’s direction just seemed to pave my way faster to hell.
Now, I think what makes me the maddest is that the writing wasn’t even that great. It was all about the characters, for me. From the very beginning I was invested in what happened to these two young people who loved each other despite their differences and their social classes-nothing could keep me away from seeing what all the fuss was about-after all, I do love a climactic conclusion, dontcha know? So, I excused the juvenile writing because every time I would start to get angry with the situations or the characters or the GD writing, something truly gripping would happen that would suck me back in. Especially the last 30%-It was truly gripping. The edge-of-my-seat-gripping. I mean, after all, they were 12 at the beginning of the book and teenagers in the middle, so naturally it’s easy to except lots of exclamation points (well, I lie, I can’t stand over use of exclamation points!!!!!!) because I know kids, ya know….exclaim….a lot. lol But as the book progressed, one would ponder why the author kept this style of writing up. And I came up with one simple answer: The author just writes like this. Which brings me to my next answer: I will never, ever, EVER read another book by this author-and not only because of the writing.
I’m not a blanker. I may be a naught but I’m worth more than nothing. I’m not a blanker. A waste of time and space. A zero. I’m not a blanker. I’M NOT A BLANKER.
I just….there were so many moments where hate spewed from the two main characters and it broke my heart. They loved each other, but all these horrible situations kept happening where Callum’s class would show and he would get this visceral feeling where he resented all the crosses (naturally and understandably), including Sephy. It’s so easy to group those we are closest to with a bad situation and I found it to be very realistic-but it still broke my damn heart. Each time they’d overcome something, another obstacle catapulted itself right in their way, each situation more venomous than the last. It was a great look at the struggle between different races and the battles that can come with class and hierarchy. I felt it to the bottom of my soul, and it definitely flipped the coin-quite a bit.
In my bad dreams, it was only when my hands were bloody and I was gasping frantically for breath that I realized I wasn’t in a box at all. It was a coffin. And once I realized that, I stopped struggling and just waited to die. That’s what terrified me the most.
I stopped struggling and waited to die.
So. I don’t know. My mind and my heart wrestled over what to rate this. On the one hand, I loved how the story had this huge emotional deal from 70% on. On the other hand, I hated lots of parts of this book and I couldn’t stand the overly dramatic dialogue a lot of the time-I know, me and my dialogue. But near the end I was very heavily leaning towards a four…I really was. But my heart got thrown into a wood-chipper and came out the other side a bloody pulp. I was sobbing, unexpectedly, last night and I wanted to hurl this stupid un-throwable ebook across the room and smash it against the wall. And while I am one of the only people in my close-knit group here on Goodreads who loves self-sacrifices, perilous endings where bad things happen and, hey, let’s say it-deaths (sometimes), this ending was harsh beyond measure and I just…couldn’t. I am strong. I love crazy, heart-stopping endings, but this book took it one step too far and I was already a little on the fence with it.
So many before me have loved this, and I did, to an extent, as well. But their love touched me so deeply that I feel I’m a little scarred-and I don’t take kindly to emotional scarring.