I’ve noticed a trend amongst most of the young adult novels in the Media Center of my school.
Yes. Those books, stacked proudly near the door, practically begging to be made into mediocre summer flicks. You guys know what type of book I’m talking about, right? Basically, they go like this: guy and girl fall in love, but something tragically gets in the way and someone dies and another contracts cancer and they have to separate.
Let me list a few . . .
The Fault in Our Stars . . . Paper Towns . . . If I Stay . . .
Yeah, those books.
Anyhow, one day I was wandering through the Media Center and I pulled one of those types of books off the shelf. I had an hour until I had to go to Oliver rehearsals, so what better was there for me to do than speed read this book.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you . . . Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher, and to be honest, it wasn’t that bad.
Ketchup Clouds tells the story of a girl, whose real name we don’t know. She goes by Zoe though, and she lives on 1 Fiction Road. To an outside person, Zoe seems like a normal girl, and in a way, she is. However, one thing about Zoe is different.
Zoe is a murderer.
And she tells her story to Stuart, a man on death row who she found on a pen pal site. He never responds, but she keeps writing, knowing that he’ll understand.
This all started when she gets invited to the school’s most popular boy named Max’s house for a party. At the party, she meets two guys . . . Aaron, a mysterious guy who really wants to travel the world, and the host of the party, Max, a sporty kid who is somewhat shallow. Zoe initially likes Aaron more, but when she sees him hugging a girl, she reluctantly starts dating Max. Still, her feelings for Aaron are always nagging her in the back of her brain.
When things get out of hand, Zoe falls into a world she never imagined existed, one that’s filled with guilt and crushed dreams.
One of the reasons I enjoyed this book was because of the title. Ketchup Clouds are a metaphor. The ketchup, which is red, stands for blood and the clouds stand for innocence. Zoe grows up rapidly over the course of her story, and describes it in great detail to Stuart. She gets thrust into something that the average person would never have happen to them. She must juggle the guilt and the loneliness that one fatal action dumped onto her.
I feel bad for Zoe. I really do. Even though I have never killed someone (and I don’t plan on it,) I could sympathize with Zoe. What she had to do was difficult, and it broke her heart. In the end, the pain got doubled, and not just because she killed someone.
The thing that made the book as a whole stand out a little bit is the fact that Zoe’s family was very much involved in the book. Usually, the parents and siblings of these characters are mentioned, but are very aloof. They don’t show up a whole lot . . . They simply are not main characters. In Ketchup Clouds, The parents are main players that really push the story forward in several instances.
Here is my favorite quote from the story:
Should you read Ketchup Clouds? Mmm . . . I think so. Even though it is just a young adult novel lost in the millions of titles out there, it was interesting and heartfelt.
It shouldn’t be on the absolute top of your must read list, but if you have the time some lazy Saturday, go pick it up. I think you’ll like it.