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Knife Edge


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A razor-sharp and intensely moving novel, the second in the Noughts & Crosses trilogy

About the Author

Malorie Blackman has written over sixty books and is acknowledged as one of today's most imaginative and convincing writers for young readers. She has been awarded numerous prizes for her work, including the Red House Children's Book Award and the Fantastic Fiction Award. Malorie has also been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. In 2005 she was honoured with the Eleanor Farjeon Award in recognition of her contribution to children's books, and in 2008 she received an OBE for her services to children's literature. She has been described by The Times as 'a national treasure'. Malorie Blackman was the Children's Laureate 2013-15.


Knife Edge, the follow-up to Malorie Blackman's Naughts & Crosses, finds Sephy, a member of the ruling dark-skinned Crosses, pregnant with the baby of Callum, a now-dead, white-skinned naught. Seeking revenge for his brother's death, Jude plots to kill Sephy, but when he finds himself in terrible danger, she may be the only one who can save him. (S&S, $16.99 368p ages 14-up ISBN 9781-4169-0018-4; July) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"It is really a cautionary tale about choice and the danger of nursing anger. This makes it a humane story that will help the cause of tolerance . . . It is written with passion, does not condescend and will appeal to teenagers who want to understand grown-up emotions" * The Sunday Times *
"Relentless in its pace . . . Devastatingly powerful" * Guardian *
"The story never flags, and characters develop . . . I repeatedly looked up from the pages, thinking "What would I do?" and this is the redeeming strength of Knife Edge - its moral heft" * Daily Telegraph *
"Malorie Blackman is writing a disturbing trilogy that should be read because it is important. And a gripping yarn as well" * School Librarian *
"Noughts & Crosses was brilliant and this sequel is as good, if not better . . . The reader is forced to confront issues of racism in our society in a unique way . . . but this is incidental as the tale is so compelling" * Carousel *

Gr 9 Up-In this sequel to Naughts and Crosses (S & S, 2005), Persephone (Sephy) Hadley, now an 18-year-old single parent, is raising her biracial daughter in a sharply divided alternate England, where black Crosses suppress the white Naughts. She faces pressure from both her less-than-understanding Cross family and her disintegrating Naught family, and everyone in between. When her brother-in-law's violent behavior leads to murder, Sephy provides a false alibi to save Jude, but doing so irreparably damages other lives. Second in Blackman's trilogy, this work presents similar themes with the same lack of subtlety that dominated the first work; Blackman's approach to communicating racism is to change instances of black disenfranchisement to white. The most popular white rocker is actually black; white performers must use the back doors to enter venues; popular desserts have racist names. Such a heavy hand leaves readers alienated from the dark history of racism. Jude and Sephy dominate the narrative, though occasionally other voices are included. Stiff language and murky motivation hamper the thin characters from generating emotional suspense. Jacqueline Woodson's If You Come Softly (Putnam, 1998) and Trudy B. Krisher's Spite Fences (Random, 1994) address similar issues, but with rich characters and taut feeling. Strictly for libraries in which the first book is in high demand.-Chris Shoemaker, New York Public Library Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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