Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ketchup Clouds--A Book Review ("It's not blood . . .")

(I got a paperback ARC from Netgalley via Martina and Jan over at "Adventures In YA Publishing". Thanks again!)

This is a spoiler-free review. All opinions are completely my own.

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

The Magic Violinist, Ketchup Clouds, Annabel Pitcher, book review,

Released: November, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 261

Dear Mr. S. Harris,
Ignore the blob of red in the top left corner. It's jam, not blood, though I don't think I need to tell you the difference. It wasn't your wife's jam the police found on your shoe . . .
Zoe has an unconventional pen pal--Mr. Stuart Harris, a Texas Death Row inmate and convicted murderer. But then again, Zoe has an unconventional story to tell. A story about how she fell for two brothers, betrayed one of them, and killed the other.
Hidden away in her backyard shed in the middle of the night with a jam sandwich in one hand and a pen in the other, Zoe gives a voice to her heart and her fears after months of silence. Mr. Harris may never respond to Zoe's letters, but at least somebody will know her story--somebody who knows what it's like to kill a person you love. Only through her unusual confession can Zoe hope to atone for her mistakes that have torn lives apart, and work to put her own life back together again.

Let me start off by saying that I loved this book. Though the whole story had a dark, gloomy, sort of depressing feel, it was very suspenseful and very well done. I gobbled the whole thing up in one (very late) night.
I loved the fact that this is set in England. I think we need to read more books that are set in places besides America, and not just historical fiction. We need to broaden our horizons a little bit, and if we can't easily travel to a place like England, reading's a great way to "go" there!

I loved all of the characters in this book! Even Mr. Harris, though he never responds to Zoe's letters or contacts her in any way. You got to know him through bits of the letters that Zoe wrote, mentioning him writing poems while in jail and how he took his wife on their first date to a burger restaurant where they got a milkshake with two straws. I think my favorite character was Dot, though, Zoe's five-year-old sister who was deaf, but communicated through sign language. She was such a happy ray of sunshine in such a dark book.

I instantly loved Zoe. Despite all of her flaws--which were some pretty big flaws--you couldn't help but feel sorry for her and want to put your arm around her and tell her that it was okay. The only thing that bugged me about her was that she never seemed to learn from her mistakes. She kept making the same mistake over and over again. Despite all of that, though, I really loved this book.

Note: This book--as you might have been able to tell--has a lot of heavy topics and adult themes. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone under the age of twelve or thirteen.

Updates From MV:

Make sure you read my gratitude post from today (Day 6) below! :D
I hit 13,000 words with my NaNo novel yesterday! :D

I'm having a hard time deciding which books to read next these days (because there are way too many to choose from!). Which one should I start with: Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, Reality Boy by A.S. King, or Maus by Art Spiegelman?

The "Go Teen Writers" website is doing this awesome thing where you promote the authors, their books, and their website in exchange for points that you can redeem for critiques on your book/query letter! :D Check it out!

(If you have something you'd like me to share in "Updates From MV" please send me an e-mail at themagicviolinist(AT)gmail(DOT)com. Thank you! :D) 


Boquinha said...

Wow, that sounds like a well-written book! I already like the details you've mentioned and even the title is great.

I vote for Maus followed by Persepolis. Let me read Reality Boy first, k? As for Fangirl, we'll have to duke it out. :P

The Magic Violinist said...

@Boquinha Well, I'm already in the middle of Maus so I guess I'll pick it up again. :)

Dr. Mark said...

A very intriguing review. The book sounds fascinating, and I agree that reading books set in a variety of places is good. It maintains a very open worldview.

I vote for Maus, as well. I think you'll really like it, and knowing you, you won't have to spend much time on it to finish it.

Christine P said...

I've been really interested in this book! It sounds so interesting and I'm so glad to hear you loved it. I'll definitely have to go pick it up :)

I vote you read REALITY BOY! I haven't read it either but apparently it's quite good.

The Magic Violinist said...

@Christine P. You definitely should! :D It's a really quick read. Once you start you can't stop!

Christine P said...

Hey, did you see my comment back on Cait's review on my blog? I would love to have you over for a review or guest post! :) The icon for my email is on my right sidebar (I'm kind of funny about putting it in comments because I don't want spam!) Email me and we can totally set something up! I'm up for anything :)

Boquinha said...

So to recap - I get to read Reality Boy and Fangirl first, right? :P Isn't it fun to battle over books? Heheheh.

Also, I've ordered Verity and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian from the library. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!? I am supposed to be writing the great American novel!!