Friday, August 16, 2013

Review: Ketchup Clouds

Secrets, romance, murder and lies: Zoe shares a terrible secret in a letter to a stranger on death row... 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...

Author: Annabel Pitcher
Publisher: Indigo
Pages: 305 
Source: Borrowed from Library
Goodreads | Amazon

This was a really interesting book for me to read. I would normally hate there just being letters in a book, but Ketchup Clouds is so beautifully structured and thought provoking that it didn't matter. The basic plot is that Zoe has done something bad. And gotten away with it. She is basically full of grief and guilt, and begins to write to a guy in prison, whose name is Stu. We never see any letters from him... If there were any. 

Basically, Zoe tells Stu a story about the bad thing she did. We don't find out what that is until almost the end of the book, which made me want to finish it more, if a little annoyed by the fact that I didn't know what was going on. The situations that Zoe were in weren't easy for her. Firstly, she was in a love triangle... With a pair of brothers. On top of that, her mum is pressuring her about school, her dad has lost his job and her sister is deaf, which, under no fault of Dot's, adds to the stress of the family.

I'll outright admit it; I fell for Aaron! He seems like the perfect gentleman and has tons in common with Zoe! I didn't like Max, though I don't think he's formed so you do! Both of the boys are very well-formed characters

Zoe herself has a very mixed character. Sometimes she is childish, sometimes she is very mature, and you can tell from this that she isn't sure of herself. Nearer to the end of the book, we find out that Zoe has hidden her true identity... And made herself into someone else.

It's a beautiful book, but there's something missing. I couldn't quite put my finger on it until I finished the book. I think some of the book just anti-climaxed, because the major event didn't happen till quite near the end, where quite a lot of emotion, action and discoveries happen. It wasn't overly busy at the end, but the middle of the book could've done with a little bit more going on.

"We were crouching amongst Mum's shoes in the big wardrobe in my parents' bedroom where we always smoked pens and discussed stuff that needed darkness..." This quote has very little to do with the proper story, except that they talk about stuff that only siblings can discuss. But I love this bit! It's only about a quarter through the book, so you would think that it wouldn't stick with you, but it did! I think this quote shows the beauty, the essence, of the book.

So to sum it up. I loved this book, though there were little bits missing.

Charli x


  1. Hey Charlie,

    I'm so excited to read this book! It sounds amazing, and I've heard nothing but good things about it! And the plot - wow. Really glad you enjoyed it, apart from the few wobbles!

    1. You should! :D It's really good, and I don't even normally like that sort of book!

      Thanks for the comment! :D

  2. I gave this book the same rating as you – I LOVED it! :)) I agree there was something missing (couldn't tell what!) but I also completely fell for Aaron! The last letter: WOW! Did you notice that as the letters went on, her signature changed? I thought that was a really beautiful addition!

    1. Yes... And Aaron is just ASDFGHJKL perfect.

      I didn't notice the signatures! I've just been back through the book and looked though, it is beautiful! :)


  3. Hey Charli,
    I read and loved this one recently and rated it the same as well. I thought it really beautiful and original and the characters were structured great. There was something missing but it didn't really bother me because I was just really enjoying the novel. I feel for Aaron and the whole concept of the story. Ketchup Clouds to me is a book that really stands out and I would really recommend it. Your review is spot on!

    - Sunny :)

    1. All very true points! It wouldn't have bothered me, but things like that ALWAYS niggle at me... Ah well! It's a great book!

      Thank you!
      Charli x

  4. Hi Charli, I have recently finished that there was something missing from the story but couldn't put my finger on it. I loved reading this book. Great review.
    Holly x

    1. Yes... I really need to work it out, but I've taken the book back now!

      Thanks for commenting :D

      Charli x


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