Ketchup Clouds is the second novel by Annabel Pitcher. It was published by Indigo on 27th December and the book is 304 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.
Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
Fifteen-year-old Zoe has a secret - a dark and terrible secret that she can't confess to anyone she knows. But then one day she hears of a criminal, Stuart Harris, locked up on death row in Texas. Like Zoe, Stuart is no stranger to secrets. Or lies. Or murder.
Zoe tells her story in the only way she can - in letters to the man in prison in America. Armed with a pen, Zoe takes a deep breath, eats a jam sandwich, and begins her tale of love and betrayal.
What I thought
Ketchup Clouds has a different way of telling the story in comparison to what I’m used to reading. Main character Zoe has done something terrible and stuck with living with the guilt, she knows she has to get it off her chest. Only, she can’t tell anyone she knows so she decides to write to a prisoner in America who is on Death Row. Knowing he can never reply or tell anyone about what she has done, Zoe begins to pour out her story on the pages of letters.
I really enjoyed the narrative style of Ketchup Clouds because it was so different. I felt that the letters Zoe wrote made it possible to really get to know her. As she writes to a man waiting to die, she really does tell him everything – apart from her real name and address of course. I feel as though if this book had been written in a normal narrative style, maybe Zoe wouldn’t have been quite so truthful. This outlet for her emotions was a great way to know everything about her.
Zoe doesn’t tell us her story in one go though, she makes us wait for the answers. I was desperate to know what actually happened but I also really enjoyed only getting little bits in each letter. Here, we get to learn about love interests Max and Aaron and the problems that Zoe’s family is having. Getting to know Zoe’s sisters in particular was a favourite aspect of the letters as the girls were so different. What I also liked was the fact that all of these things had an impact on Zoe’s life and the decisions that she made.
What made this book so special for me was that all of the characters are intensely real. They were all characters which I could picture real people being put in their places. The problems encountered in this book, for the most part, are issues or topics that a lot of people will be able to relate to. Many girls will be able to put themselves into the situation of liking two boys at once as well as going through family issues concerning money and siblings.
Ketchup Clouds is a very emotional read which I was not ready for at all. Annabel Pitcher is a wonderfully real writer and I wish I had read her first book now!