Saturday, 8 December 2012

Review: Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

Title: Ketchup Clouds
Author: Annabel Pitcher
Author Info: Website|Blog|Twitter|Facebook
Genre: Contemporary
Source: Publisher
Format: Proof copy
Publication Date: 27th December 2012

Tell Me About It
Secrets, romance, murder and lies: Zoe shares a terrible secret in a letter to a stranger on death row in this second novel from the author of the bestselling debut, MY SISTER LIVES ON THE MANTELPIECE.

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.
Full of heartache yet humour, 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.

My Thoughts
When a newsletter was sent for upcoming books, the minute I read a small passage for Ketchup Clouds I knew I wanted to read this book, and while I have not read anything by Annabel Pitcher before, I knew I would like this book.
When I began reading, literally within the first few paragraphs I was laughing, the protagonist Zoe, is frank and gets straight to the point with everything she says, and doesn't filter her thoughts.
"...It's jam not blood, though I don't think I need to tell you the difference.  It wasn't your wife's jam the police found on your shoe".
By the time I was a few chapters in I lost count of how often I laughed.  Zoe was a quirky protagonist who sees the world in her own unique way, and in an attempt to clear her guilty conscience writes letters to Stu, a prisoner in America who is on death row for killing his wife. Her letters tell Stu, and us the reader, about the events that led to the murder of Max.  Each chapter is a letter she has written for Stu and I loved the uniqueness of this writing style.  By having the chance to read the letters from Zoe, you felt closer to the characters and more involved in the plot, like the letters were actually written for you.

While the letters in Ketchup Clouds are a main part of the story, they lead up slowly to how Max died, along the way we get glimpses into Zoe's life, her friends, her family and their struggle with money, parental arguments, boyfriend, her feelings for another, and the uniquely named cats next door, Lloyd and Webber.  All of these pieces make up a story that I could not put down, and I quickly devoured the book.

Annabel has done an amazing job at drawing the reader in and not letting them go until the very end, and while I enjoyed the book I am quite sad that I did not get to see the drawings that are in the story, so I will be picking up a finished copy very soon to sit and enjoy again.

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