Thursday 16 March 2017

Noughts & Crosses

Finished March 9
Noughts & Crosses by Marjorie Blackman

This is the first book in a series for teens. The book is a story of our world, but shifted. Here it is blacks who dominate society (Crosses) and whites who were slaves only a couple of generations ago (Noughts), and are still the underprivileged class.
The novel opens with a rift between a privileged black woman, Jasmine, and her white housekeeper, Meggie. It then quickly moves a few years forward to a time when school desegregation is just beginning. Callum, the younger son of Meggie is one of the teens chosen to integrate into the high school. Sophy, younger daughter of Jasmine, also goes to the high school, and has maintained a surreptitious friendship with Callum over the years. Callum is a couple of years older than Sophy, but both lack awareness of the limitations of their social interaction.
While there is some movement on both sides to treat the whites more equitably, there is a large group of resistance at the power level, which includes Sophy's dad, who is a politician running to be the next prime minister. And the slow speed of change has some in the white community ready to take their actions from peaceful protest and change through policy to a more violent movement. Among these are Callum's father and older brother.
As the two young people try to stay friends and maintain their positive outlook, they find that society forces them into actions they hadn't contemplated, and drives them further from each other.
This is an interesting way to open discussions on social issues and race relations, and I look forward to seeing how the series develops.

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