I picked up Noughts and Crosses at the age of about 12 I think, and I’ve never been able to top this outstanding piece of literature since. Malorie Blackman covers varying issues in this sensational novel – from mental health and suicide, alcoholism, extremist groups, repressive education systems, entering adolescence and forbidden love – all induced or connected in some way to the overarching theme of racism. When you read Noughts and Crosses, Malorie effortlessly transports you into the agency of Callum and Sephy, and because she does this, you move through the novel with a burning anger towards a warped unjust society but bursting pride for the courage of both Callum and Sephy. Ultimately your heart breaks for the two children on the beach who were separated by death for no other reason other than they loved each other. Malorie has been my favourite author from day one and because of her – I am now an aspiring writer. Thank you for igniting the fire, Malorie.
The second player, who shall be designated "O", must respond to X's opening mark in such a way as to avoid the forced win. Player O must always respond to a corner opening with a center mark, and to a center opening with a corner mark. An edge opening must be answered either with a center mark, a corner mark next to the X, or an edge mark opposite the X. Any other responses will allow X to force the win. Once the opening is completed, O's task is to follow the above list of priorities in order to force the draw, or else to gain a win if X makes a weak play.
Her best friend and later boyfriend, Tobey, is worried about his own future. As a nought boy at an exclusive school, Tobey hopes to keep out of trouble, go to university, get a good job and leave behind the dangerous streets of his childhood. However, he cannot keep clinging to some kind of no-man's land while the neighbourhood around him is carved up by rival gangs, one headed by a ruthless man, Alex McAuley, the head of a gang of noughts, and another headed by the Dowds, the head of a gang of crosses. Both are powerful gangs that frequently injure and kill each other's members as well as suspected informants.