Zoe sits in her shed at night writing letters to a convicted murderer to tell him, someone who will understand, how she came to kill one of two boys she had feelings for. Her actions are unknown to the people in her life, and the boy’s mother is constantly asking her to visit her or her son’s grave. The guilt is becoming more than she can bear, but writing about everything to a man she doesn’t know and who will never write her back lets her finally tell someone the truth.
Ketchup Clouds is written in the form of letters from a girl who calls herself Zoe to Stuart Harris, a man convicted of murdering his wife, to tell him how she came to kill one of two boys she liked. The identity of which boy she killed, Aaron or Max, remains a mystery until her final letter. The letters are written in such a way that will have the reader laughing at a moment’s notice, but ready to cry the next at the thought of either boy being the one to die. By not giving away the identity of the boy Zoe killed, Annabel Pitcher allows the reader to connect with both boys, and see what made Zoe fall for them in the first place.
Both Aaron and Max are well-developed love interests. Zoe portrays them in her letters in such a way that they both come off as being human, not perfect as some teenage girls in love might try to make them out to be. She even admits to her own mistakes in her actions toward them, which fits in with her need to confess to someone. Even Stuart Harris, who does not reply to Zoe, comes across in shades of gray rather than black or white. This is not solely due to Zoe feeling they are almost the same in that they killed someone they had feelings for, but to other information Zoe has learned about him and brings up in her letters.
Zoe herself may not always be the easiest character to relate to given some of her choices, and at times the reader won’t agree with them. But this is what makes her so human, her mistakes, her grief, her guilt, and attempts to navigate life.
You can read the rest of my review at my blog: http://readerlymusings.com/2014/02/26/book-review-ketchup-clouds-by-annabel-pitcher/