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I also had a bit of a problem with the whole letter writing to death row. In theory, excellent. In practice…. Not so much. It just didn’t seem to fit at all with the style of writing or the subjects that the story was covering. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it could’ve been a sixteen year old girl’s diary, full of angst and drama about boys and kissing. If you had taken out the references to death row and Stuart’s crime, I honestly wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. Annabel Pitcher is a British author who wrote Ketchup Clouds (2012)., a young adult epistolary novel. The story follows the pen-pal relationship of a British 15-year-old named Zoe and an American murderer on Death Row through letters written by the British teenager. Ketchup Clouds was selected as the YALSA’s Best Young Adult Fiction selection for 2013, and it won the Waterstone Children’s Book Prize that year. Dot falls down the stairs and breaks her wrist, and an ambulance arrives to find Zoe lying on the ground. Max apologizes for the photo he took and kisses Zoe on the cheek as he looks at her with genuine remorse. After visiting Max, Zoe lies to Aaron about seeing his brother. My last point will be that I like the book as a whole because the boys were not the perfect, heavenly boys that are portrayed in a lot if YA novels, it felt real and it was not a dream boy and I don't feel as though they are the boys from my imagination but, that sort of made me fall in love with them a bit more. That they felt real like all the characters just felt normal. They faced real problems and life did not revolve around the main character.
Zoe seeks out a Texas Death Row inmate as a pen pal. Writing from the shelter of her garden shed in the UK, she relates the events of the previous year. Riddled with guilt over the death of her boyfriend, she confides in her penpal about her guilt, family life, and all the events leading up to the sad conclusion.The actual events of the book aren't enough to bring a reader from one chapter to the next. I didn't care about Zoe or her love life, given that nothing much happened, even if I cared about her family's drama. I hated her love life. I wanted to shoot her love life in the face, and sit her down in juvvie for a few years to think about her own unimportance, and require her to write lines about how other people don't just exist for her own edification.
So she's writing to an inmate with graphic stories about her breasts and her near sexcapades. Who does that? Ketchup Clouds is written in a series of letters from "Zoe", her chosen alias, who lives on fiction road in England to Mr. S Harris, a criminal on death row in America. Zoe initially starts writing to Mr. Harris specifically because she believes they must share the same guilt as, according to her view, they both killed a person they loved.The conversations between Aaron and Zoe seemed forced. I don't see these teens having such witty conversations. Only 20-something hipsters talk the way they do. Because I am going to say it. I'm not sitting in this shed for the fun of it. It's bloody freezing and Mum would kill me if she knew I was out of bed, but it's a good place to write this letter, hidden away behind some trees. Don't ask me what type, but they've got big leaves that are rustling in the breeze. Shhhhwiiishhh. Actually, that sounds nothing like them. This is a clever, multi-layered book. It's heartstoppingly sweet, very sad, and very, very real. Everyone should take notes on how to write a love story from this gorgeous novel because I believed every word. And, of course, I cried.