Secrets, romance, murder and lies: Zoe shares a terrible secret in a letter to a stranger on death row in this second novel from the author of the bestselling debut, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece.
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.
Believe it or not, I found this little gem in my local Poundland store while out shopping with my mum. After a few minutes of reading the description, I knew it was a book that would have me hooked. And boy, did it follow through.
I’ve done something wrong. And do you want to know the worst thing? I’ve got away with it.
Ketchup Clouds is a novel that offers mystery and murder to the reader. The above quote is the first thing you see on the cover front. That’s because the sentence is compelling – like a magnet it draws people in and doesn’t disappoint. Based around the accidental death of Max, the boyfriend of ‘Zoe’ – a name in which she calls herself in her anonymous letters. Her almost ‘affair’ with Max’s brother, Aaron, leads to a web of lies, deceit and guilt – all which spiral into *spoiler* the accidental death of Max.
We glowered at each other but there was something bigger than anger in our eyes.
The interesting fact of this story is how ‘Zoe’ carries the guilt around with her, truly believing that she and she alone is the sole reason Aaron lost a brother and Max lost his life. Annabel Pitcher cleverly wove the story together, allowing the reader enough suspense to entice them into reading more. Well done, Ms Pitcher!
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.
Usually I’m not a person who enjoys novels that deviate from regular form. This means I tend to avoid diaries, letters and journals. Perhaps that was my biggest ‘pet peave’ with the story as a whole. While it was fascinating that Zoe’ wrote to a convicted murderer to clear her guilt, I feel like the story was slightly blotchy in places.
Swallows swooped through the red sky, back from their adventure, and we held each other under the ketchup clouds, willing time to stop and the world to forget us for a while.
However, with the ending being as it was, and a letter that encouraged a sequel, I found that I could not complain about this story much. Therefore, I awarded it a super 4 out of 5 snowflakes.