Monday, May 19, 2014

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

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Publication date: 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 261
My rating: 3 stars
Ages: 16+

Zoe is a teenager living in England. Stuart Harris is a prisoner on death row in Texas. They have one thing in common--as Zoe puts it in her first letter to Mr. Harris: "I know what it's like . . . Mine was a boy. And I killed him three months ago." That begins a one sided correspondence in which Zoe shares both the present and the past as she deals with the guilt and grief she's feeling.

I really like Zoe as the narrator. She's honest and straightforward. She's able to wind together both parts of the story she's telling, how her actions in the past affect her present. It's a little hard to tell her age--I would guess about 16, but at times she seemed younger than that to me.

Ketchup Clouds puts forward some interesting ideas and questions about guilt, death, capital punishment, and love. It's easy to see how something can turn out so differently if you had only made a different choice once out of a hundred little times. But in the end, you can't go back and change it.

There are somethings that I feel were never really resolved, though I didn't necessarily want the book to be any longer. It was mostly issues in Zoe's family, but I suppose that really that was just background and over the year the novel takes place not everything could be resolved so well. There are some scenes of a sexual nature, but very little to no swearing (I didn't notice anything).

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.

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