Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on November 12th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, YA, Young Adult
Dear Mr. S. Harris,
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. . . .
I know what it's like.
Mine wasn't a woman. Mine was a boy. And I killed him exactly three months ago.
Zoe has an unconventional pen pal--Mr. Stuart Harris, a Texas Death Row inmate and convicted murderer. But then again, Zoe has an unconventional story to tell. A story about how she fell for two boys, betrayed one of them, and killed the other.
Hidden away in her backyard shed in the middle of the night with a jam sandwich in one hand and a pen in the other, Zoe gives a voice to her heart and her fears after months of silence. Mr. Harris may never respond to Zoe's letters, but at least somebody will know her story--somebody who knows what it's like to kill a person you love. Only through her unusual confession can Zoe hope to atone for her mistakes that have torn lives apart, and work to put her own life back together again.
Rising literary star Annabel Pitcher pens a captivating second novel, rich with her distinctive balance between humor and heart. Annabel explores the themes of first love, guilt, and grief, introducing a character with a witty voice and true emotional resonance.
I tend to never write reviews right after I finish a book but I must in this case. My head might be hurting and I might just be ranting but I NEED TO SHARE MY THOUGHTS (isn’t that what blogging is all about?).
Ketchup Clouds was supposed to be an interesting, unique and awesome novel. Instead, it felt like a disappointment. Already 100 pages into the book and I wanted to DNF. I really really should have because honestly, the book did not pick up at all. I felt that Ketchup Clouds fell flat and it was just boring to read.
Don’t get me wrong, I was very intrigued at first. After reading the synopsis, I had TONS of questions. Zoe murdered someone?!? WHY?!? WHEN?!?! HOW?!?! WHY DID SHE TELL NO ONE?!?! HOW DID NO ONE FIND OUT?!?! Well all these questions get answered but the answers are so so so disappointing. I was expecting mystery, SUSPENSE, creepiness! All I got was some quirky girl who didn’t know how to write proper letters. Maybe I should go back to the beginning here. Let me start this again but a little more explained.
Basically, Zoe murdered the boy she was supposed to love a year ago. She is now writing her story in the form of letters to Stuart Harris, a man on Death Row for murdering his wife. Even as I read that sentence, I think: “wow, that sounds pretty interesting” but *sighs* I was so disappointed.
I feel like I should start focusing more on why I felt disappointed to let’s do that.
First, the book dragged on. It was so slow, boring and really unclear. I had no idea what was going on and I JUST WANTED ANSWERS. Everything was answered (which is nice) but I had to wait SO LONG for them and the answers to all my questions were disappointing.
Second, I couldn’t connect to the main character at all. While I was generally interested in her and what was happening, nothing she did seemed justifiable. She just annoyed me and even writing about her makes me want to punch a wall so we’ll leave it at that.
Third, the writing. I know that the book is written through a series of letters and I’m OK with that. The only thing that annoyed me was that Zoe, a girl who is well-established as a good English student, COULDN’T WRITE A DAMN LETTER. Her words flowed awkwardly, her sentences were run on, every time something interesting happened, she changed the subject, she used tons of metaphors and attempts at lyrical writing which sounded awkward in the later.
Last but certainly not least, THE END. I am so frustrated just thinking about it. When I say ‘the end’ I don’t mean the last part, that was redeemable. I’m talking about the ANSWERS. THE ANSWERS WERE SO DISAPPOINTING. I just don’t even know how to continue without using spoilers. I am including a spoiler tag here so PLEASE READ WITH CAUTION-THIS SPOILS THE BOOK! View Spoiler » So, you all know how Zoe murdered someone? Well, SHE DIDN’T MURDER HIM. He was drunk, and angry. He was trying to beat up the guy that Zoe really liked (did I mention that Zoe had a thing for his brother? LOVE TRIANGLE TO TOP IT ALL OFF) and Dead Guy was starting a fight. Brother & Zoe both pushed him a little and he ended up slipping and falling into a river and he drowned. Zoe clearly stated that she pushed him A LITTLE-only enough to get him off the other guy. And then he fell into the river of his own accord because he was drunk. IT DOESN’T SEEM LIKE SHE REALLY MURDERED HIM. When I think murder, I think stabbing, shooting, KILLING SOMEONE WITH YOUR HANDS not this accidental death. Phew, that was tiring but I HAD TO GET IT OUT. « Hide Spoiler
Overall, this book made me angry and I was sorely disappointed. I couldn’t connect with Zoe at all, the ending was terribly disappointing and the writing did not work at all for me. I know some people have really liked it so if this still appeals to you, I say go for it. It’s not a long book so if you are still very intrigued, read it anyway. You might enjoy it more than I did.