Summary and book reviews of Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

Ketchup Clouds

by Annabel Pitcher

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher X
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Nov 2013, 272 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Elena Spagnolie
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

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.

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...

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.

Excerpt
Ketchup Clouds

S. Harris #993765
Polunsky Unit (Death Row)
Livingston, TEXAS 77351
USA
August 1

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.
The jam in the corner's from my sandwich. Homemade raspberry. Gran made it. She's been dead seven years, and making that jam was the last thing she did. Sort of. If you ignore the weeks she spent in the hospital attached to one of those heart things that goes beep beep if you're lucky or beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep if you're not. That was the sound echoing around the hospital room seven years ago. Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. My little sister was born six months later, and Dad named her after Gran. Dorothy Constance. When Dad stopped grieving, he decided to shorten it. My sister is small and round so we ended up calling her Dot. ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
  • award image

    Edgar Awards
    2014

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

With an obvious understanding of the adolescent heart and a gift for natural dialogue, Pitcher conveys Zoe’s yearning to be an adult and how it feels to fall in love for the first time … [She] successfully captures the real complexity and overblown drama of being an adolescent, and she certainly brought me back to memories I thought I had long since forgotten.   (Reviewed by Elena Spagnolie).

Full Review (790 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

Media Reviews

The Horn Book
Sharp, articulate perceptions and a measure of suspense-as well as a lively thread of wit and humor-make this a very engaging read.

School Library Journal
[T]his title will be enjoyed by teens seeking edgy, realistic fiction with elements of romance and suspense.

Library Journal
Starred Review. Compelling and believable...by turns heartbreaking and hysterically funny...

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Zoe's introspective and surprisingly humorous voice will strike a chord with readers as they dwell on the space between guilt and innocence.

Booklist
Starred Review. [Annabel Pitcher] deals with the topic realistically without losing sight of hope.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. After many red herrings, a bittersweet ending brings compassion and answers to Zoe's dilemma and shows just how easy it is to make mistakes and how hard love can be.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Prison Pen Pal Programs

In Annabel Pitcher's YA novel, Ketchup Clouds, the protagonist, a fifteen-year-old English girl who uses the pseudonym "Zoe," tells her story through secret letters she writes to a death row inmate. Mr. S. Harris lives thousands of miles away in Houston, Texas and is one of the only people who might understand Zoe's situation; he knows what it's like to have killed someone he loves. She uses these letters as a way of confessing her guilty conscience:

…I knew it was time to write this letter. I can't keep it in anymore. I have to tell someone, and you're the person I chose. I got your contact details off a Death Row website, and I found the website because of a nun, and that's not a sentence I ever thought I'd write, but then my ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Annabel Pitcher

If you liked Ketchup Clouds, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Black Leopard, Red Wolf
    Black Leopard, Red Wolf
    by Marlon James
    If you are looking for an indulgent, escapist fantasy, Black Leopard, Red Wolf may not be for you. ...
  • Book Jacket: That Time I Loved You
    That Time I Loved You
    by Carianne Leung
    Carrianne Leung was a Toronto Book Award finalist for That Time I Loved You as well as for her debut...
  • Book Jacket: The Pianist from Syria
    The Pianist from Syria
    by Aeham Ahmad
    Aeham Ahmad became famous as the face of Syrian suffering when a photo of him playing piano in the ...
  • Book Jacket: The Smiling Man
    The Smiling Man
    by Joseph Knox
    Joseph Knox's latest turns on a simple premise: an unidentified and unidentifiable murdered man is ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Last Year of the War
    by Susan Meissner

    A little-known story of WWII with great resonance for our times.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    American Princess
    by Stephanie Marie Thornton

    Rated 4.9 stars by BookBrowse members - one of the highest scores of all time!
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Girls Burn Brighter
by Shobha Rao

An extraordinary and heart-rending tale of two girls with all the odds against them.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Book Club Giveaway!
Win The Summer Country

Win up to 12 copies to share with friends or your book club!

A sweeping epic of lost love, lies, jealousy, and rebellion set in colonial Barbados.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D T T! Full S A!

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.