Thursday, 25 April 2013

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

Title: Ketchup Clouds
Author: Annabel Pitcher
Publisher: Orion
Released: December 27th 2012
Pages: 296 (Hardcover)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Add on Goodreads

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.

I don't really know what I think about this book. Some parts of it were really really good...and then other parts were really really bad. I don't know if it is worth all the hype...

Firstly, I couldn't really tell what age group it was for. As a student librarian, I read the book to help decide what year group it was suitable for - but it was stupidly difficult. On one hand, it was written as if for a twelve-year-old, with easy sentences and no swearing. But on the other hand, it had some pretty graphic scenes and she was just a year younger than myself - it was incredibly misleading, and I felt a bit awkward reading it.

I didn't think the characters were too well-developed either, as they acted a lot differently than Pitcher wanted to get across. Dot, for example, was five - yet she acted like at least a seven-year-old. Soph was nine - yet she could have been fourteen! And as it was a bit of a mystery, Pitcher left it a long time to fill in certain details - like Zoe's age! It took me ages to figure it out, because it wasn't clearly stated, and I just think it was a bit messed up. The only character I adored was Aaron - he was amazing, and I loved the personality Pitcher gave him. He was lovely and adorable; a completely perfect heartthrob.

What I really loved, however, was the mystery of the story itself. It was amazing. Often in mystery novels, you're able to guess what will happen before the end - but with Ketchup Clouds, I didn't know which brother would die! You know all the way along that it was one of them, and there was hints everywhere, but there are always reasons to doubt them. It was a constant guessing game, right up until it happened. In that sense, Ketchup Clouds was incredibly well-written.

Altogether, I don't really know what to think about this book. There has been a lot of hype over it, yet I think in six month's time, I'll forget what it was about. It wasn't a novel that lasts in your mind, and I think that was its downfall. It's unforgettable, which a fantastic novel shouldn't be. But it was good. A bit confusing with some weird characterisation, but it was interesting.
Rating: 3/5

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