Callum is a nought - a second-class citizen in a world run by the ruling Crosses...
Sephy is a Cross, daughter of one of the most powerful men in the country...
In their world, noughts and Crosses simply don't mix. And as hostility turns to violence, can Callum and Sephy possibly find a way to be together?
They are determined to try.
And the the bomb explodes...
I have heard great things about this book for years, but I haven't had any inclination to pick it up until now. I am really glad I did, it seems like one of those books you just have to read growing up.
It tells of childhood best friends Callum and Sephy as Callum moves to Sephy's school and the social difficulties that come after, for years. Callum is a Nought, a white person in a world run by black Crosses. Which means that transferring to a Cross school has a whole set of problems for Callum, made somewhat worse by Sephy's naivety. I know she was just trying to help but just by sitting with them at lunch, she made things worse for Callum and for herself. It was actually quite difficult to read at times, the unfairness and the injustice of the world unfortunately hasn't changed much. Although it was rather extreme; I imagine this is what it was like during the 60's, the outright racism that comes out of people.
They both grew a lot throughout the book and luckily, Sephy stopped being such a whiny brat and became quite a smart and tough young woman. They sort of drifted apart through bad luck but never forgot how they had changed each other. They also saw the world through each other's eyes, despite Callum's insistence that Sephy was spoilt and her privileged upbringing meant she couldn't possibly understand how it really was. And while that was true when they were young but Sephy grew up and took off her rose-tinted glasses and still insisted that there was a way to make the world better for both colours.
In a way, Sephy was completely idealistic and sometimes that annoyed me but mostly it was such a pure way of thinking that I couldn't help but support and feel for her. As for Callum, he takes a rather dark direction that again, I could sort of understand but knew it wasn't going to end well. Speaking of endings, I could guess what was going to happen but it didn't make it any easier to read. The whole situation was completely unfair and there was no way that the whole social system was going to change in a few years but with both of their actions, small steps were taken in the right direction and that's the best we can hope for sometimes.
Published 15th January 2001 by Corgi Books.