Noughts and Crosses is the first book in a series that contains 6 books and 3 novellas, the book explores themes of love, tragedy, separation and division, power and violence. A world separated in two, the inferior white-skinned Noughts and the elite, ruling, dark-skinned Crosses. The Noughts are viewed as less than and are mistreated by their apparent superiors, the Crosses. It starts with the two main characters Persephone Hadley and Callum McGregor on the beach where the two of them end up sharing many personal moments throughout the book. 


Persephone Hadley (often known as Sephy) is one of the novel’s protagonists, she’s a Cross, considered superior to the Noughts, that comes from a wealthy, well-respected family, she’s lived a privileged life yet she remains modest throughout the book. She and Callum were childhood friends as his mother used to be her and her sister’s nanny, until she had an argument with Jasmine Hadley(Persephone’s mother) and got fired when she failed to produce an alibi for her boss. Callum McGregor on the other hand grew was a Nought and was deemed inferior, despite having been viewed as less than by his peers and being mercilessly taunted by his older brother Jude, he was a strong-willed, determined character who dreamed of a better life, and wanted to work for it. 


At the beginning of the story, Callum has everything worked out, he and Sephy are good friends(potentially more), he had a scholarship at a private school that only 3 other Noughts had and was one of the only Noughts in the country to do so, he planned to go to university afterwards and to create the life he could have only dreamed of. 


However, when he starts school he and the other two Noughts (Colin and Shania) suffer masses of verbal and physical abuse with the slur “Blankers” being yelled at them and items thrown towards them. It doesn’t get better throughout the book as all 3 of them get expelled for various reasons. Callum’s reason being arguably the most unfair. 


Callum gets expelled due to his father’s arrest for political terrorism and associations with a terrorist group- the Liberation Militia (L.M.). Despite there being no proof of his father’s crime, he gets arrested and finds himself waiting for a noose around his neck And then, at the last second it gets cancelled, and he has one more fighting chance. He dies not long after in an escape attempt. 


Callum ends up following his father’s path down a dangerous road and joins the L.M. rapidly working his way up the ranks, until he’s asked to do one of the most dangerous tasks possible, to kidnap Persephone Hadley. He manages the mission but ends up arrested and hung for false accuses of rape. Leaving a fragile, teenage Sephy alone and pregnant with Callum’s child. In the later books we see her relationship with her future child develop and how the memories of Callum continue to haunt her.