Author: Annabel Pitcher
Published by: Indigo
Publication date: 1st July 2013
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary/Mystery
Zoe is an ordinary teenage girl with an extraordinary secret - a secret that she is bursting to tell. With her mother constantly helping Zoe's deaf younger sister Dot and her father caught up in her grandfather's illness, she turns to the only person who might understand; a murderer on death row. Month by month her story unfolds in letters and we get to find out what really happened.
The first reason for me adoring this book is that it's gritty and realistic. Life wasn't glamourised and it tells it like it is. Zoe is funny and blunt and some of the things she said had me laughing out loud because she said things you just don't expect to read in YA books - that's a good thing though. I'm glad Pitcher seemed to take a risk with that because it definitely paid off.
Some people have commented on the 'childish' language but come on. They're letters written by a teenager, they're not going to be the next J.K Rowling novels. Zoe has her own vibrant, unique 'voice' and I think that is a great benefit to the story.
Honestly I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this book. I've wanted it for a very long time but I was apprehensive because I had never read a book written in this format before. However it was very quick and easy to get used to and it felt a lot more personal as if I actually knew Zoe and the other people in real life.
'Ketchup Clouds' has a lot of sub-plots but they were all tied up nicely by the end which I think makes this fantastic contemporary even better because I hate standalones where you're left wondering! I was slightly disappointed that we never got to know what Stuart Harris thought, though. Did he read the letters? Did he reply? I think a companion novel with his replies/thoughts would be perfect. Wishful thinking!
Overall I greatly enjoyed this book and it actually got me out of a reading slump so yay! *waves pom poms* 'Ketchup Clouds' is full of pain yet full of dry humour and I loved how Pitcher didn't shrink away from dealing with so many serious topics in one book. What a sensational concoction of words!
If you haven't read this book, well...you need to. It's so raw and heartbreaking and real and...just read it, okay? Please.
Thank you to my unicorn buddy Hawwa for sending me a signed copy for my birthday. What a fantabulous
human being unicorn.