Ketchup Clouds is the second novel by Annabel Pitcher, author of My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece, a book that I haven't read but have heard a lot of good things about. Behind this rather intriguing title lies the poignant tale of Zoe Collins, a young girl on the brink of womanhood who should be having the time of her life doing the normal teen things like going to parties, chasing boys and coming up with ambitious dreams for the future, but finds herself in the midst of a heart-breaking tragedy.
The front cover sets the scene : "I've done something wrong. Not a little bit wrong or even quite a lot wrong. What I've done is awful. And do you want to know the worst thing? I've got away with it." Zoe reveals her story and gives us a glimpse into her life through a series of letters that she sends to a prisoner on Death Row. She doesn't know anything about him except what she's read on the prisoners' penfriends website, but she decides that someone who is guilty of a horrible crime can surely understand and empathise with her own predicament.
Without giving away too much of the story, Zoe – like many teens – finds herself caught between two boys. She also has other "normal teen" things going on in the background, such as trying to work out whether or not to go to university, figure out if her parents are just going through a rough patch or are about to get divorced and work out how to be allowed to go to the party everyone is talking about. She's basically just a regular teen, which is what makes her predicament so heartbreaking.
It's a very realistic story, with moments of dark humour in the letters and an appealing sense of naivety. I really enjoyed it as an adult, but I don't feel totally comfortable giving it to 11-year-old Sophie yet because of its slightly raunchy scenes (there's nothing too explicit but it's a bit more than I'd give to an 11-year-old) and the storyline which I think would upset her. It's a powerful read though and one that I would certainly recommend for slightly older readers.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £9.99
- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Indigo (27 Dec 2012)
- ISBN-10: 1780620306
- ISBN-13: 978-1780620305
- Product Dimensions: 20 x 13.6 x 3 cm
Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.
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