100 books like Naughts & Crosses

By Malorie Blackman,

Here are 100 books that Naughts & Crosses fans have personally recommended if you like Naughts & Crosses. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of 1984

Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi Author Of Legacy of the Third Way

From my list on books to take you to the future.

Why am I passionate about this?

From a young age, I've been captivated by evolution and its implications for the future. I immersed myself in classical works of philosophy and literature that explored human emotions and our relentless drive to succeed against all odds, advancing human knowledge and shaping society. This fascination with understanding the future led me to write op-ed pieces on foreign policy and geopolitics for prominent newspapers in South Asia. My desire to contribute to a better future inspired me to author three nonfiction books covering topics such as the Islamic Social Contract, Lessons from the Quran, and Reflections on God,  Science, and Human Nature. 

Abdul's book list on books to take you to the future

Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi Why did Abdul love this book?

Humans are always curious about what the future will look like. They are also concerned about the state impinging on their privacy and interfering with their lives. George Orwell masterfully combined these two human impulses in his classic novel. He wrote the book in 1949 to present his view of the future.

I read this book when I was in my mid-20s. I found it an interesting read, especially since many of his predictions did not come true. I was curious to know how past generations viewed our generation. 

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

42 authors picked 1984 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU . . .

1984 is the year in which it happens. The world is divided into three superstates. In Oceania, the Party's power is absolute. Every action, word, gesture and thought is monitored under the watchful eye of Big Brother and the Thought Police. In the Ministry of Truth, the Party's department for propaganda, Winston Smith's job is to edit the past. Over time, the impulse to escape the machine and live independently takes hold of him and he embarks on a secret and forbidden love affair. As he writes the words 'DOWN WITH BIG…


Book cover of The Underground Railroad

Ciera Horton McElroy Author Of Atomic Family

From my list on historical fiction featuring strong women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I may be only 27, but I’ve spent years researching the Cold War. Mostly because it’s very personal to me…my grandfather was a scientist at a top-secret hydrogen bomb plant in the 1960s. I began researching to understand his work and how it affected my family. I didn’t expect to become so consumed by the sixties. The more I learned about the nuclear arms race and the protests that were led, largely, by women, the more I felt convinced that there was a story here. I’m passionate about the often untold stories of resistance—resilience—endurance. Especially women’s stories. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I do! 

Ciera's book list on historical fiction featuring strong women

Ciera Horton McElroy Why did Ciera love this book?

I am including The Underground Railroad as it’s both historical fiction and magical realism—a beautiful surrealist imagining of Civil War history. This inventive novel follows Cora, who is enslaved on a plantation in Georgia. When Cora hears of the underground railroad, she plots her escape—but in this book, the railroad is more than a secret network. It is a real, physical, underground train. Cora must fight for her life and her freedom on a harrowing journey north, evading the slave hunter Ridgeway as he seeks to track her down. Cora’s strength and independence make her a character that will stick with you.

By Colson Whitehead,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Underground Railroad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR TV SERIES BY BARRY JENKINS (COMING MAY 2021)

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2017
WINNER OF THE ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD 2017
LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2017
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER 2016

'Whitehead is on a roll: the reviews have been sublime' Guardian

'Luminous, furious, wildly inventive' Observer

'Hands down one of the best, if not the best, book I've read this year' Stylist

'Dazzling' New York Review of Books

Praised by Barack Obama and an Oprah Book Club Pick, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead won the National Book Award 2016 and the…


Book cover of His Majesty's Dragon

Shannon Fay Author Of Innate Magic

From my list on fantasy novels that will make you look at history in a new way.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and also a history nerd. I love historical fiction—learning about the past through a story just makes the world come alive in a way that non-fiction doesn’t. As I child, I was entranced by middle-grade historical novels like The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and The Shakespeare Stealer. But I also love fantasy novels and how they use magic to make the truths of our world bigger and bolder, turning the elephant in the room into a dragon that can’t be ignored. Mixing history and fantasy together is my book version of peanut butter and chocolate.

Shannon's book list on fantasy novels that will make you look at history in a new way

Shannon Fay Why did Shannon love this book?

Have you ever wished you knew what your pet was thinking? That you could communicate with them with words or even with the power of your mind? I know I have.

This book is basically a chronicle of the Napoleonic Wars…but with dragons! When British naval Captain Will Laurence forms a bond with the dragon Temeraire, it changes both of their lives. The two are pressed into service, fighting against Napoleon’s own squad of dragon-riders.

The air battle scenes are thrilling, but the real heart of the book is the bond between Will and Temeraire. It is a daring adventure tale but also a fabulous, cozy read. Reading it makes me wish I had a dragon pal that I was telepathically bonded to (though I’m not too keen to have to square up with Napolean). 

By Naomi Novik,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked His Majesty's Dragon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Naomi Novik's stunning series of novels follow the adventures of Captain William Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire as they are thrown together to fight for Britain during the turbulent time of the Napoleonic Wars.

As Napoleon's tenacious infantry rampages across Europe and his armada lies in wait for Nelson's smaller fleet, the war does not rage on land and water alone. Squadrons of aviators swarm the skies - a deadly shield for the cumbersome canon-firing vessels. Raining fire and acid upon their enemies, they engage in a swift, violent combat with flying tooth and claw... for these aviators ride…


Book cover of The Yiddish Policemen's Union

Rod Kackley Author Of Empty Minute: A Murder Mystery

From my list on cops and reporters bringing bad guys to justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

Crime fiction, true crime, mystery, and suspense books allow us to brush up against the worst society has to offer without getting hurt. There’s a lot to be said for vicarious thrills, isn’t there. I am just a simple man telling simple stories about good vs. evil. And sometimes, in my stories, fiction or not, the bad guys win. But I do love telling stories, and when I find a good one, I can’t wait to tell you aboutit. That’s what I have done here.

Rod's book list on cops and reporters bringing bad guys to justice

Rod Kackley Why did Rod love this book?

I’ve read this book so many times that I had to buy a hardcover edition to replace the paperback I wore out.

Michael Chabon creates an alternative world where the Jewish people didn’t last long in Israel after World War Two. They wound up in the Federal District of Sitka, Alaska, with a lease for the land from the U.S. government, but now the lease is up, and they have to move. Somewhere. Almost anywhere.

Good story if it ends there, right?

But wait, this one doesn’t.

In the middle of this political conundrum, homicide detective Meyer Landsman finds a neighbor in the fleabag hotel he calls home murdered. And get this; the dead man might be the Messiah the Jewish people have been waiting for.

Good story, End it here? Nope.

Guess who shows up unexpectedly. Meyer’s ex-wife! And now she’s his boss. Awkward!

And it’s also a hell…

By Michael Chabon,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Yiddish Policemen's Union as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The brilliantly original new novel from Michael Chabon, author of THE ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY and WONDER BOYS.

What if, as Franklin Roosevelt once proposed, Alaska - and not Israel - had become the homeland for the Jews after the Second World War? In Michael Chabon's Yiddish-speaking 'Alyeska', Orthodox gangs in side-curls and knee breeches roam the streets of Sitka, where Detective Meyer Landsman discovers the corpse of a heroin-addled chess prodigy in the flophouse Meyer calls home. Marionette strings stretch back to the hands of charismatic Rebbe Gold, leader of a sect that seems to have drawn its…


Book cover of Terra Nullius

Craig Cormick Author Of On a Barbarous Coast: What If There Was an Alternative Ending to Captain Cook's Story?

From my list on alternative histories you really wish had happened.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Australian author and I love messing with history – just about as much as history seems to love messing with me! I am fascinated by the different paths that history could have taken and those single moments upon which history often turns. I am also passionately interested in telling the histories of the First Nations people, whose stories have often been left out of many histories. As a result, I partnered with Indigenous author Harold Ludwick to write this book – not just providing an alternate history of early Australia, but telling it in both blackfellah and whitefellah voices. 

Craig's book list on alternative histories you really wish had happened

Craig Cormick Why did Craig love this book?

This is a really tricky book to write about without giving away too many of the surprises in the plot – as for much of the book you don’t even realise that you are reading an alternate history. I was convinced I was reading about the violence of colonisation in early Western Australia – until the moment I discovered that I wasn’t. Claire G. Coleman is an indigenous writer which adds a particular strength to this amazing and surprising story (sorry, no spoilers allowed!). 

By Claire G. Coleman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Terra Nullius as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NPR Best Books of 2018

“Coleman’s timely debut is testimony to the power of an old story seen afresh through new eyes.” —Adelaide Advertiser

“In our politically tumultuous time, the novel’s themes of racism, inherent humanity and freedom are particularly poignant.” —Books + Publishing

The Natives of the Colony are restless. The Settlers are eager to have a nation of peace and to bring the savages into line. Families are torn apart. Reeducation is enforced. This rich land will provide for all.

This is not the Australia we know. This is not the Australia of the history books. Terra Nullius…


Book cover of Slated

Lauren Stabler Author Of Trials of the Realm

From my list on dystopia set in the UK.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an English writer based in Sheffield. I started reading dystopia when I was around 19 and in a very bad place mentally, it became an escape for me and I would read everything in the genre. It got to the point where I was writing in the notes on my phone (not very well, I might add). Somehow dystopia ignited my passion for writing and so I went to university to study it. Almost everything I wrote for both my undergrad degree and my master's was set in a future dystopian UK. It is where my passion still lies and I hope to create more futuristic worlds like those I have listed.

Lauren's book list on dystopia set in the UK

Lauren Stabler Why did Lauren love this book?

The prequel to this book had a big influence on me when writing my own book, as I wanted to explore how something so awful, like my trials and Terry’s slating process, could be introduced and the reasoning behind that. What I really love about Terry’s book is the science included. Slated explores wiping someone’s brain completely and giving them a blank slate. Her other books explore things like dark matter, think tanks (literally, the brains are in tanks), and global warming. Slated is where I started and is a series I read every year. While the subject matter is dark, it has become a comfort series, and Kyla a comfort character, for me. 

By Teri Terry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Slated as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The gripping first book of a rebellious trilogy about truth, power, and impossible choices, perfect for fans of Divergent and Legend.

Kyla’s memory has been erased, her personality wiped blank, her memories lost forever. She’s been slated. The government claims that she was a terrorist and they are giving her a second chance—if she plays by their rules. But scenes from the past haunt her as she tries to adjust to a new life, family, and school, leaving her unsettled. Who is she really? And if only criminals are meant to be slated, why are so many other teens disappearing?…


Book cover of Cell 7

Lauren Stabler Author Of Trials of the Realm

From my list on dystopia set in the UK.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an English writer based in Sheffield. I started reading dystopia when I was around 19 and in a very bad place mentally, it became an escape for me and I would read everything in the genre. It got to the point where I was writing in the notes on my phone (not very well, I might add). Somehow dystopia ignited my passion for writing and so I went to university to study it. Almost everything I wrote for both my undergrad degree and my master's was set in a future dystopian UK. It is where my passion still lies and I hope to create more futuristic worlds like those I have listed.

Lauren's book list on dystopia set in the UK

Lauren Stabler Why did Lauren love this book?

Kerry Drewery is an author that came in for a Masterclass when I was studying my undergrad in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University. As this book series was right up my alley, I decided to buy every book on kindle (and most recently in paperback). This series reminded me a lot of 1984 with the dark setting and horrific outcomes. Set in a future London, the reality show format of the book gives an insight into human nature. How far will we go for entertainment? 

By Kerry Drewery,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cell 7 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Should she live or should she die? You decide.

A heart-stopping thriller. Shortlisted for the Lancashire Libraries Book of the Year 2018.

An adored celebrity has been killed. Sixteen-year-old Martha Honeydew was found holding a gun, standing over the body.

NOW JUSTICE MUST PREVAIL.

The general public will decide whether Martha is innocent or guilty by viewing daily episodes of the hugely popular TV show Death is Justice, the only TV show that gives the power of life and death decisions - all for the price of a premium rate phone call.

Martha has admitted to the crime. But is…


Book cover of The Extinction Trials

Lauren Stabler Author Of Trials of the Realm

From my list on dystopia set in the UK.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an English writer based in Sheffield. I started reading dystopia when I was around 19 and in a very bad place mentally, it became an escape for me and I would read everything in the genre. It got to the point where I was writing in the notes on my phone (not very well, I might add). Somehow dystopia ignited my passion for writing and so I went to university to study it. Almost everything I wrote for both my undergrad degree and my master's was set in a future dystopian UK. It is where my passion still lies and I hope to create more futuristic worlds like those I have listed.

Lauren's book list on dystopia set in the UK

Lauren Stabler Why did Lauren love this book?

Why am I recommending this book? First of all – Dinosaurs. I don’t know where they came from in the book series and frankly I don’t care. I’ll read anything with dinosaurs. I think this book series is set in a modern UK but it’s never explicitly stated. It’s set in a futuristic world where nature has failed us – because of us – and humans need to find a new way of living. They must learn to live with dinosaurs. Maybe the new Jurassic World film could learn from the characters? Who knows. 

By S.M. Wilson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Extinction Trials as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The first book in the heart-stopping The Extinction Trials trilogy, for fans of The Hunger Games and Jurassic Park.

Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival. Welcome to The Extinction Trials...

In Stormchaser and Lincoln's ruined world, the only way to survive is to risk everything. To face a contest more dangerous than anyone can imagine. And they will do anything to win.

But in a land full of monsters - human and reptilian - they can't afford to trust anyone. Perhaps not even each other...

Shortlisted for the 2019 Scottish Teenage Book Prize


Book cover of A Fine White Dust

Caroline Starr Rose Author Of Miraculous

From my list on mysterious strangers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write books to make sense of the world  — this gloriously weird, sometimes heartbreaking, marvelous place we call home. Years ago, while visiting a museum in St. Louis, I heard a woman give a talk on charlatans (people who intentionally deceive others for their personal gain). It sparked a number of questions in me: Why do we believe the things that we do? What might we be willing to try to change our circumstances? Exploring these ideas was the starting point for my book, Miraculous, and its mysterious stranger, Dr. Kingsbury. I hope the stories you read in these pages fill you wonder as they did me.

Caroline's book list on mysterious strangers

Caroline Starr Rose Why did Caroline love this book?

Pete’s whole life changes the summer the Preacher Man comes to town. Hearing the Man speak fills Pete with purpose. No one understands Pete like the Preacher Man — neither Pete’s parents, who no longer attend church, nor his best friend, who is an atheist — and Pete will do anything to hold fast to his devotion.

I read this short, deceptively simple book twice while working on Miraculous. It is an honest look at the longings and purpose so many of us search for, the power a persuasive individual can have, and the flaws that make us all human. I’ll never forget this book.

By Cynthia Rylant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Fine White Dust as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Synopsis coming soon.......


Book cover of Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life

Healey E. Ikerd Author Of Changing Your Feelings: A Workbook for Anxiety and Worry from a Christian Perspective

From my list on Christians determined to be more mentally healthy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a licensed therapist who has been in the mental health field for over 15 years. I believe that God wants his followers to be mentally healthy! We are better witnesses to Him when we think and act in ways that reflect biblical principles. This is why I am a big fan of books that help me think and act more wisely and that also helps me follow God more deeply. Working through our mental ‘stuff’ and following God well are greatly intertwined. Whether in person or by recommending books, I love to be a part of that process with people.

Healey's book list on Christians determined to be more mentally healthy

Healey E. Ikerd Why did Healey love this book?

I have read this book so many times. It is a classic! For those of us who have struggled with saying yes to everything, I was so thankful that I found this book. 

A heart of compassion and care can set you up for burnout, resentment, and going in directions that God doesn’t want you to go. The authors are brilliant, and they help Christians learn that it is okay to say No and that is actually good for us and others. Saying No when appropriate is a sign of good mental health.

By Henry Cloud, John Townsend,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Boundaries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Join the millions who have learned how to take control of their lives by setting healthy boundaries with their spouses, children, friends, parents, coworkers, and even themselves, in order to live life to the fullest.

Do you feel like your life has spiraled out of control? Have you focused so much on being loving and unselfish that you've forgotten your own limits? Do you find yourself taking responsibility for other people's feelings and problems? In Boundaries, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend teach you the ins and outs of setting the boundaries that will transform your daily life.

Boundaries, a…


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