Tuesday 8 January 2013

Ketchup Clouds by Annabelle Pitcher

Ketchup Clouds
Pages - 251
Published in January 2013 by Indigo
Dear Mr Harris,
Ignore the blob of red in the top left corner. 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.
Goodreads Summary
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.
Opening one of Annabel's books is like opening a long awaited Christmas confectionery box, that you know you should eat all at once but temptation gets the better of you and you don't stop until you have scoffed the lot. If you haven't guessed from that, I read the whole book in one sitting, refusing to do anything else.
If that doesn't make you curious to read it, then the following reasons should have you hurdling the Kindle book sales to get hold of a copy of this.
1) It is an epistolary novel written in the form of letters dated over the period of a year. That alone, should make many people want to read it.
2) The narrator is a fifteen year old girl who is writing anonymous letters to a convict on Death Row in America. She is purging her soul  in order to come to terms with the guilt she feels for taking a life.
3) The love triangle is beautiful yet poignant and the author keeps you on your toes all the way through the book. It wasn't until the last couple of chapters that I could finally work out what would happen.
Annabel Pitcher books should definitely now come with a warning as this is the second time she has made me cry. I invested all my emotions into this story, willing it to have a happy ending. I loved the way Zoe thought her crimes were bad enough that the only person who might understand would be a murderer on Death Row. She really had sunk to her lowest point in life. I constantly wanted to hug her as she confessed her sins to a complete stranger.
The book contains excellent sub plots which explore the theme of guilt, which plays a major factor in the main plot.
The characters are so realistic and believable; the author has really captured the teenage voice. Zoe is young at heart and still learning the finer points of love, which causes her to do some rather stupid things. Her letters to Stuart were open and honest, she never left anything unsaid. I did feel she benefited from writing them in the end.
I want to say something about the ending but I feel it would be better not too. I would give too much away.  Come and find me when you have read it and we can discuss it.
I couldn't get enough of this book, I was so impressed that I couldn't work out what had happened until the end, the writing definitely kept me in the dark until the author was ready to reveal the truth.
Seriously if Annabelle Pitcher doesn't win an award with this book, then  I shall scream from the rooftops. I thought her first novel was amazing and I didn't think she could improve on it, but this one just took her writing up to another notch. An utterly brilliant second novel from a very talented author.


  1. This sounds amazing - I really need to read both this and my sister lives on the mantelpiece.

    1. You will love them both. Though you might need some tissues.

  2. I just read this book again after reading your review and I cried for 15 minutes, it's beautiful


Hiya, thanks for stopping by, it is always nice to hear what you have to say, so do leave a comment if you have time.