Ketchup Clouds is a book written by Annabel Pitcher, who also wrote the famous novel ‘My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece’. I had first heard about this book at school, where my Year 11 English Teacher saw a fellow classmate reading it and had told the class how good it was, recommending us to read it. I ended up getting it at a bookstore, and thought that if my English Teacher was recommending it then it must be good.
The story revolves around a girl who has committed a dreadful act. Murder. But then one day she hears of a criminal called Stuart Harris, who is locked up on death row in Texas. Here she finds solace through writing to him, and telling him her story.
The plot of this book is written in the form of letters, and I instantly thought this was a nice touch. Rather than our main character just going through the story, it felt like she was TELLING us, as though we were the person on death-row she was writing to. Her re-telling of events was gradual and Zoe went through each interaction and relationship in detail, right up to the murder, which made it flow nicely. Additionally, I found that I had begun to feel emotional for characters and the scenes that played out, making me feel angry for some and sad for others. These feelings made me admire the storytelling more, and because there wasn’t a fairy tale ending, it made it all the more emotional and I actually felt that the end provided unusual closure that was fitting for this plot.
Plot Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars
Zoe is the main character in this book, therefore we only saw her side of the story (99.9% of it anyway), however this was a positive feature because we got to see the journey she took from being romantically involved with people, creating great memories, and then eventually murdering someone.
This rocky road made me feel for Zoe, and I really thought that the writing style allowed total immersion, therefore I was committed to reading more and more to really understand what made Zoe finally burst.
There are other characters present in this story, but there was only one other person who took centre stage. At the end of Zoe’s story, there was another page with a ‘letter’ that was written from Aaron, and was addressed to an ‘Alice’. Aaron was a contributing character to Zoe’s murderous act, but his character was one that I didn’t feel any hate for. In fact, I had felt sympathy for both him and Zoe (or was it really ‘Alice’? Zoe was the fake name our main character used, so it may be safe to assume her real name was Alice), and I really liked his letter because it provided closure for the story and showed me that not all tales are either sad or happy, but can be a mix of both.
Character Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars
The very first page was something that I found humorous, I knew that this was going to be a book I would end up enjoying! Despite not having thriller themes or anything that murder usually takes place in, Ketchup Clouds offers something different to get hooked on, mixing ordinary circumstances regarding teens alongside ones that are not typically found in such YA novels.
Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars
In all, I am glad that this was recommended to me as a 16-year-old, as it offered me a story that I could easily use as transition material to better understand and read novels with crime and murder in them. It is not a love story, nor is it crime, but it is unique and I was thoroughly entertained.
Overall Rating: 4 + 4 + 2 = 10 out of 10 Stars
If you’re interested in more Ketchup Clouds reviews and information, click the following link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11088150-ketchup-clouds