Ketchup Cloudsby Annabel Pitcher (Website, Twitter)
Published by Hachette Digital, Inc. on 2013-11-12
Genres: Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Law & Crime, Social Issues, Young Adult
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Dear Mr. S. 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. . . .I know what it's like. Mine wasn't a woman. Mine was a boy. And I killed him exactly three months ago. Zoe has an unconventional pen pal--Mr. Stuart Harris, a Texas Death Row inmate and convicted murderer. But then again, Zoe has an unconventional story to tell. A story about how she fell for two boys, betrayed one of them, and killed the other. Hidden away in her backyard shed in the middle of the night with a jam sandwich in one hand and a pen in the other, Zoe gives a voice to her heart and her fears after months of silence. Mr. Harris may never respond to Zoe's letters, but at least somebody will know her story--somebody who knows what it's like to kill a person you love. Only through her unusual confession can Zoe hope to atone for her mistakes that have torn lives apart, and work to put her own life back together again.Rising literary star Annabel Pitcher pens a captivating second novel, rich with her distinctive balance between humor and heart. Annabel explores the themes of first love, guilt, and grief, introducing a character with a witty voice and true emotional resonance.
Crimes Of The Heart
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher is a story of such simplicity but one with such emotional depth. I love the way Annabel Pitcher uses the epistolary format to gain an immediate and ultimately profound connection between her main character, “Zoe,” and the reader. In letter after letter, as Zoe spills out her heart to Stu, an American death-row inmate, she pours her story out to us as well. Sparing nothing, she peels back the layers of her personal tragedy to ultimately stand stripped and vulnerable before us
When we first meet Zoe, she’s somewhat stand-offish. She keeps Stuart, and by extension the reader, at arms length. Yet, as the story progresses, with a detail here and a detail there, she ensnares the reader into her web, showing us her secrets and the sadness they bring her. She also gives unflinching portraits of her family and friends.
But this story is no dour, drama only tale! Zoe’s funny and wry and I love her voice! She has such a witty way of looking at the world around her, that following her through the twists and turns of the events that lead her from first love to a death she confesses to be the cause of is at once so very enjoyable and still melancholy.
This story is very much character driven, but like Annabel Pitcher’s previous work, My Sister Lives On The Mantlepiece, it’s told with such an emotional freshness and a clean, pure writing style, that the reader feels more like a participant in the actions than a voyeur. Every moment flows so well into the next and the story layers upon itself to ultimately deliver a power and visceral tale.
A contemporary tale of a young girl’s journey of self awareness, grief and the ultimate power of forgiveness, Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher is a story that will leave you puzzling out what comes next.