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Belle's Book Club 2014 #3...

Hey everyone

Next up in my Belle's Book Club 2014 series I'm sharing - Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

Synopsis (via Goodreads

Fifteen-year-old Zoe has a secret—a dark and terrible secret that she can't confess to anyone she knows. But then one day she hears of a criminal, Stuart Harris, locked up on death row in Texas. Like Zoe, Stuart is no stranger to secrets. Or lies. Or murder.

Full of heartache yet humour, Zoe tells her story in the only way she can—in letters to the man in prison in America. Armed with a pen, Zoe takes a deep breath, eats a jam sandwich, and begins her tale of love and betrayal.

My Thoughts

There are few books that make me cry but this one made me bawl my eyes out.

The whole idea for the telling of this story is really original and unique - it's told through a series of letters (which itself isn't particularly original) the fact that the main character remains anonymous throughout the whole story because she's telling her story to a criminal on death row to get the guilt off her chest was what really drew me to this book - I've never read a book like this! 

As for the plot itself, I really enjoyed how we got drip-fed the plot through 'Zoe's' letters - it kept me really engaged with her story and made me want to know which of brothers died/'Zoe' killed (I'm not going to say any more because I don't want there to be any plot revelations here!) and how it happened and why she felt guilty about it.

One of the things that Pitcher did really well  was making 'Zoe's' voice as a guilt-ridden 15 year old girl experience her first dabble in the confusions that come with a first love 

The ending, woah the ending.

The last two or three letters that 'Zoe' wrote revealed the secret that she'd been keeping for the whole of the book - the secret as to which brother died didn't shock me because there was a pretty obvious double bluff made my the author earlier on in the book to try to confuse the reader; it was what happened with the other brother that absolutely broke my heart. 

Although I'm 20 and the protagonist is only 15 I feel like the author made 'Zoe' have a really clear voice that made reading the book feel like I was having a chat with my friend  plus the themes in the book, like her parents and the first love/heartbreak meant that I (at my age) could still get something from it, - in places it's certainly deep.It isn't just some fairy tale of teenage first love - it's real, gritty yet innocent. I loved it. 

The book's ending was the serious stellar part of the book, it ended with two other letters, one from the other brother and one from 'Zoe's' sister giving an outside perspective on how Zoe managed to become free of her guilt and how the other brother factored in that and one from the other brother. It was this letter that left me sobbing (seriously) - the sacrifice he made for her was just incredible and the way that we learnt about that through a letter that 'Zoe' would never see was just, I can't even explain how it made me felt - my heart just ached for them both. 

I would highly recommend this book just because it's so different in the way that the story is presented and you can't help but get emotionally involved with the main character and her guilty - plus the added perspective of almost making you feel like the criminal on death row that she is writing to and the symbolism used to show that she can identify with him/you is just so multi-levelled. It's one of those books that I know I'm not going to reach for again immediately, but it is one that I'm going to keep because of how it made me feel - {Before I Die} by Jenny Downham did the same. 

Would you read this book? 

I hope you're enjoying this new Book Club feature on my blog - let me know what you think of it! If you fancy writing your own book review post and joining in on Belle's Book Club 2014 then here's the button and pretty please link up using the widget below so that I can go check your post out!

 It'd absolutely make my day! 

P.S. I use {Goodreads} to keep a record of books that I've read and books that I want to read so if you want to keep up with what I'm reading you can follow me {here}!