The intriguing universe of Noughts and Crosses, a young adult series written by Malorie Blackman, has captured the hearts of readers around the globe for over 20 years. This captivating series has been a driving force in the YA genre, sparking critical discussions about race, discrimination, and social justice. However, a common query among fans and those new to the series is: “How many Noughts and Crosses books are there?”
In this blog post, we’ll embark on an exciting journey to uncover the full collection of Noughts and Crosses books while also shedding light on the profound impact this series has had on literature and society.
The Noughts and Crosses Book Series
Noughts & Crosses (2001) – The book that started it all, introducing readers to an alternate reality where racial roles are reversed, following the forbidden relationship between Sephy, a Cross (dark-skinned), and Callum, a Nought (light-skinned).
Knife Edge (2004) – The journey continues with deeper explorations into the lives of Sephy and Callum as Sephy becomes a young mum to her mixed-race daughter, Callie-Rose Hadley and deals with post-natal depression.
Checkmate (2005) – In this third entry to what was originally a trilogy, a teenaged Callie-Rose Hadley has been radicalised by her uncle and plans to kill her grandfather, Kamal Hadley as a suicide bomber.
Double Cross (2008) – The fourth entry explores Callie Rose Hadley’s nought best friend, Tobey Durbridge as his ambition leads him to a life of crime with potentially tragic consequences.
Crossfire (2019) – in this entry Callie Rose is asked to help Tobey Durbridge who has been arrested for the murder of his childhood friend, Dan Jeavons at a party. However Callie’s stepbrother and Toby’s daughter are kidnapped and locked in a basement in the middle of nowhere.
- Endgame (2021) – The sixth and final entry continues directly on from Crossfire, as Callie and Tobey face a race against time to find their family, and we finally learn what happened on that fateful night to Dan Jeavons.
Throughout the series’, Malorie Blackman has expanded the universe with a wealth of supplementary material, including short stories, novellas, and companion pieces.
She has written three short stories for World Book Day across the years, these are:
- An Eye For An Eye (2003) – A bridge between Noughts and Crosses and Knife Edge where Sephy and Jude face a battle of wits one lonely night during her pregnancy with Callie-Rose.
- Callum (2012) – This short story is an alternate ending to Noughts and Crosses.
- Nought Forever (2019) – Dan Jeavons is on the run for murder and runs into a nurse, Eva’s house. Will Eva turn him in?
Recommended Reading Order
In order to enjoy the series, this is my recommended reading order of all the novels and short stories.
- Noughts and Crosses
- An Eye For An Eye
- Knife Edge
- Double Cross
- Nought Forever
Impact on Literature and Society
The Noughts and Crosses series is more than just captivating fiction; it is a thought-provoking commentary on racial inequality, prejudice, and the pursuit of justice and many of the novels events mirror what was happening politically in the UK and US during the last 20 years.
By ingeniously flipping the racial power dynamics, Malorie Blackman challenges readers to confront their own biases and contemplate the true meaning of equality.
What age should you read Noughts and Crosses?
Noughts and Crosses is classed as a YA series so it is recommended to reach it within the ages of 12-17, however the book does handle some complex themes and asks a lot of questions around race and class and their impact on society which makes the books appealing for all ages. I first read the series myself at age 27 and thoroughly enjoyed all the books.
In conclusion, the Noughts and Crosses series is a compelling YA journey that spans six main books and three short stories.
Malorie Blackman’s storytelling prowess, coupled with her ability to address profound social themes, has solidified this series as a literary gem. If you haven’t yet explored this captivating world, now is the perfect time to immerse yourself in the thought-provoking narrative of Noughts and Crosses.
Prepare to be captivated, moved, and forever changed by this ground-breaking series.