Ketchup Clouds

Pitcher, Annabel. Ketchup Clouds. New York: Little, Brown & Co., 2013. Print. ISBN 13: 9780316246767. Hardback. $18.00.

Annotation: In an attempt to deal with a tragedy, English high schooler Zoe has taken up writing letters to her pen pal. It just so happens that her pen pal is on Death Row in Texas.

***

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 life isn’t exactly turning out the way I imagined.

Zoe needs an outlet. A place to confess. A person to listen.

So after learning about Death Row inmates seeking pen pals, Zoe chooses one.

Stuart Harris. Stuart is in prison for murdering his wife in a crime of passion. But that’s perfect for what Zoe has to confess. Three months ago she killed a boy.

Who he was and exactly what happened are revealed to us as Zoe painstakingly recounts everything in letters to Stuart. But because Zoe chooses not to disclose her real name or address, it’s a one-sided relationship. Like Stuart, we are unable to respond to Zoe, to tell her…what – it wasn’t her fault? But what if it was?  That everything will be ok? No, not that.

Hiding in her backyard shed in the middle of the night Zoe lays out her story to Stuart, and it’s full of sincerity and mistakes, love and drama, regret and realization.

***

★ Ketchup Clouds is the winner of the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize (2014).

***

Here’s an excellent book trailer for Ketchup Clouds:

YOUR OPTIONS: Ketchup Clouds is available in print, eBook, CD audio, and downloadable audio formats.

Anastasia Vito © 2014

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