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178 Reviews
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I just love epistolary fiction!
Originally posted on [...]

Opening one of Annabel's books is like opening a long awaited Christmas confectionery box, that you know you should eat all at once but temptation gets the better of you and you don't stop until you have scoffed the lot. If you haven't guessed from that, I read the whole book in one sitting, refusing to do anything else.
If that...
Published on 8 Jan. 2013 by Serendipity Reviews

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I expected
I bought this book because it had won or been nominated for various awards and so I thought it was going to be something special. However I found that I didn't warm to any of the characters and didn't really care what happened to any of them, especially not the character who died. All of the outpourings of guilt and build up to what was essentially a stupid drunken...
Published 18 months ago by Sarah


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I just love epistolary fiction!, 8 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Ketchup Clouds (Hardcover)
Originally posted on [...]

Opening one of Annabel's books is like opening a long awaited Christmas confectionery box, that you know you should eat all at once but temptation gets the better of you and you don't stop until you have scoffed the lot. If you haven't guessed from that, I read the whole book in one sitting, refusing to do anything else.
If that doesn't make you curious to read it, then the following reasons should have you hurdling the Kindle book sales to get hold of a copy of this.
1) It is an epistolary novel written in the form of letters dated over the period of a year. That alone, should make many people want to read it.
2) The narrator is a fifteen year old girl who is writing anonymous letters to a convict on Death Row in America. She is purging her soul in order to come to terms with the guilt she feels for taking a life.
3) The love triangle is beautiful yet poignant and the author keeps you on your toes all the way through the book. It wasn't until the last couple of chapters that I could finally work out what would happen.
Annabel Pitcher books should definitely now come with a warning as this is the second time she has made me cry. I invested all my emotions into this story, willing it to have a happy ending. I loved the way Zoe thought her crimes were bad enough that the only person who might understand would be a murderer on Death Row. She really had sunk to her lowest point in life. I constantly wanted to hug her as she confessed her sins to a complete stranger.
The book contains excellent sub plots which explore the theme of guilt, which plays a major factor in the main plot.
The characters are so realistic and believable; the author has really captured the teenage voice. Zoe is young at heart and still learning the finer points of love, which causes her to do some rather stupid things. Her letters to Stuart were open and honest, she never left anything unsaid. I did feel she benefited from writing them in the end.
I want to say something about the ending but I feel it would be better not too. I would give too much away. Come and find me when you have read it and we can discuss it.
I couldn't get enough of this book, I was so impressed that I couldn't work out what had happened until the end, the writing definitely kept me in the dark until the author was ready to reveal the truth.
Seriously if Annabelle Pitcher doesn't win an award with this book, then I shall scream from the rooftops. I thought her first novel was amazing and I didn't think she could improve on it, but this one just took her writing up to another notch. An utterly brilliant second novel from a very talented author.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A quick and easy read, 16 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Ketchup Clouds (Paperback)
I enjoyed this. I'm 29, so older than the target audience, but I liked how easy it was to read and follow. The premise of the book is refreshingly different.

I'd recommend it for over 13s as it has some quite racy parts.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I expected, 17 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Ketchup Clouds (Paperback)
I bought this book because it had won or been nominated for various awards and so I thought it was going to be something special. However I found that I didn't warm to any of the characters and didn't really care what happened to any of them, especially not the character who died. All of the outpourings of guilt and build up to what was essentially a stupid drunken accident did not make for an interesting ending and I was left feeling pretty depressed and deflated by the end. I also did not like the narrative style and the flippant way that some of the issues were treated, and I definitely didn't feel that there was much a romance between any of the characters. Maybe I feel this way because one of my friends died when I was the same age as the characters in this book and I remember it vividly, with a lot more emotion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy read, 4 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Ketchup Clouds (Paperback)
This defiantly kept me entertained while I was on my jury service, as most will know it can be a lot of waiting around so I bought this book after reading the first page in water stones and I must say its a book I could probably read over and over.
Good, easy read for a teenager and young adult.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 22 May 2013
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This review is from: Ketchup Clouds (Kindle Edition)
What an amazing book. It's 4.19am and I've been reading since 9pm. Couldn't put it down. Truly wonderful and sad.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Humour, love, anguish and honesty..., 29 Dec. 2012
By 
Helen Simpson (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Ketchup Clouds (Hardcover)
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...and plenty of suspense.

Zoe is 15 and starting her GCSE year at school, yet at home she sometimes appears to be a little old to be doing some of the things she does (i.e.pretending to smoke a pen, p.53.) However like many teenagers, she's got perceived worries, developing relationships, emotions and parents to deal with and home is where she can be comfortable. So, whilst appearing a 'young' 15 in some aspects, that's no bad thing...15 IS still young. I found her easy to identify with: Trying to persuade her parents to allow her to a house party, her thoughts, ideas, and love for her younger deaf sister.

I caught myself smiling a few times at the humour: such as Zoe worrying about the possibility of her parents divorcing and her mum inevitably putting on "three stone and lying on the sofa in pyjamas watching documentaries about women who used to be men." I could SO imagine her waving, without thinking, at the 'green man' at the traffic lights (because that's what she normally did to amuse Dot) pretending he was "...an actual person, with an actual job..." but this time forgetting she was with a boy she was trying to 'appear cool' with ;-) Although she makes some mistakes I like her. She ponders the kind of things that I ponder and uses her imagination a lot.

Without repeating the gist of the story (because the blurb really tells you all you need to know) I found it to be suspenseful throughout, with the reader knowing from the start that someone dies and Zoe believes it to be her fault, but not knowing who or why. Clues to this are steadily leaked to narrow it down as the letters develop. For this reason I think it's a shame that one or two of the other reviews have given away a little of that suspense.

As the book progresses, Zoe's writing style in her letters to the Death Row prisoner changes and she let's us in on more and more of her story until the inevitable, poignant conclusion...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Easter Present ever!, 13 April 2013
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This review is from: Ketchup Clouds (Hardcover)
I bought this book for my neice who is 12 for Easter. She had heard of the author and her previous book, which meant she was instantly interested. 1 week later she was half way through and raving about it. A week after that she had finished the book and apparently it was "the best easter present ever". She has insisted that I read it because it is 'awesome' - enough said!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A powerful story, 29 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Ketchup Clouds (Paperback)
I was a bit doubtful about reading this novel - the idea of a teenager writing to a prisoner on death row to confess her own guilty secret sounded as though it could be sensationalist, but Annabel Pitcher handles it well, sensitively balancing the darker themes with the more normal and often humorous elements of an otherwise normal teenager's life - school, homework, family drama, sneaking out to parties with her best friend and falling in love for the first time. I liked the background threads of her parents' arguments about money, her ill grandfather, and her youngest sister, Dot, being deaf - these all added in to the chaos of family life and made Zoe feel grounded as a character.

The epistolatory form works well, as Zoe (not her real name) writes to Mr Harris and narrates two stories, both what is happening to her currently, one year on, and the year leading up to her crime. I did cringe slightly when she was overfamiliar with him, imagining how he felt when he murdered his wife and commenting on the personal details of his case, but perhaps she is just a teenager with an active imagination (despite her mother's wishes for her to be a lawyer, she wants to be a writer) and a lack of tact. Indeed, Zoe isn't a wholly sympathetic character, which I liked - she seems like a real, normal, sometimes selfish teenager.

The past thread mainly concerns Zoe meeting two separate boys at a party and the situation she finds herself in about choosing between them. One weak point here is that it is abundantly clear to the reader which boy she `should' be with - the other is depicted as quite sleazy and gross (when we first meet him he is drunk and burping - nice), a typical lad, and also does something Very Bad to Zoe when they first meet, which she apparently forgets about; his only redeeming feature seems to be that he is popular. It makes you not care particularly about this character, and also makes you hope that Zoe's crime has something to do with him rather than a character you care about.

I can't really reveal much more as one of the best things about this book is the suspense and slow revealing of the truth; Pitcher's writing is gorgeous, with some mind-blowing imagery, as Zoe's emotions are beautifully and honestly realised. It's a page-turning read and although I didn't completely love it, I recognise Pitcher's talent and the powerful story she tells.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It was an okay read...., 30 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Ketchup Clouds (Kindle Edition)
I chose this rating as it was okay but it takes to long to get to the meaning of the story and why she is writing. I liked the way she reflected on her life to a stranger it was an interesting way of telling the story. I also liked the way she was in between two boys and knew which one was best for her but couldn't tell the other one that he wasn't the one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 30 July 2013
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This review is from: Ketchup Clouds (Kindle Edition)
Brilliant read, heart warming and sad both at the same time. Dot is an adorable character and really made the book!
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Ketchup Clouds
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher
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