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July chapter book of the month: Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

(22 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 01-Jul-13 17:31:52

Author Annabel Pitcher was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway last year for her incredible debut 'My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece'. Her latest offering Ketchup Clouds is set to become another huge success this summer. Fifteen year old Zoe has a dark secret that she can't confess to anyone she knows. She begins writing to Stuart Harris, a prisoner locked up on death row and through her letters to Stuart we hear her story. Full of heart-ache but tinged with humour, Annabel Pitcher has created another classic in YA fiction. Watch the trailer and find out more about the book. If it sounds like it could be up your dc's street, apply for a free copy and if you're one of the lucky 50, do come back to let us know if they enjoy.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Tue 02-Jul-13 19:01:57

Amazing book, just bought class sets for my school and having enormous fun writing SOW. Highly recommend.

mummyhappiness Fri 05-Jul-13 13:29:55

Hi. Can't seem to enter for free book as page displaying private??? :-(

LaraMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 05-Jul-13 14:25:17


Hi. Can't seem to enter for free book as page displaying private??? :-(

Hi mummyhappiness,
This is because the giveaway is now closed sorry.

LaraMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 18-Jul-13 15:11:07

Has anyone received their copy yet?

HazelDormouse Fri 19-Jul-13 13:13:45

I have received a copy. I am somewhat puzzled because I am 99.999% positive that I didn't apply for one. Looks an interesting read.

countingdown Fri 19-Jul-13 21:00:53

I received a copy, and am getting through it quite quickly - enjoying what I have read so far.

Belo Wed 24-Jul-13 23:14:01

I haven't received mine yet... Lara, do you know when they were sent out? Should I continue to wait patiently?

LaraMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 29-Jul-13 12:45:38

Hey everyone,

Book update: The publishers have marked the books to be sent out as a high priority, once they get back to me with proof that the books have been sent out, I will inform you all asap.

Sorry you're having to wait so long, but I really appreciate your patience thanks

LaraMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 01-Aug-13 16:51:59

Hi Everyone,

Finally some good news. Your books are being posted today. So everyone should have their copy latest Tuesday.

Please let us know once copies have arrived.

Belugagrad Mon 05-Aug-13 18:40:20

Arrives today! We can't wait to get started. Thanks.

PomBearWithAnOFRS Tue 06-Aug-13 00:27:25

I got one today grin It was a lovely surprise as I'd completely forgotten I'd entered the draw and DD had just asked me if I'd entered the August one (which I'd forgotten to do!)
I' about half way through, and will let DD read it when I've finished (unless anything really "far out" happens in the second half) - she's almost 11 and there are a couple of scenes so far that I was a bit hmm about for her, but the writing is so well done, and the story so good so far, that if anything, I want her to read it so that in a year or so I can say "remember in the book when Zoe did X and Y happened?" avoiding spoilers so vague "then keep yer bloody bra on Miss" grin so to speak grin
Or well, that sort of necessary yet difficult/awkward Mother-Daughter conversation that I know will come one day all too soon...
I am enjoying the story, thankfully there is none of the incredibly irritating "foreshadowing" shit that so many books are spoiled by, when the author drops huge hints about what's coming up - this plot is unrolling bit by bit, with just enough information to keep me glued to it, but still leave me guessing for a while longer (again, I will resist spoilers)
I am definitely going to look up her other book ("My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece") for a read too.
Think the best bits of Jodi Picoult, and the very few great bits of Jacqueline Wilson, combined with some lovely prose and a rarely seen wonderfully evocative, memorable turn of phrase and you have Annabel Pitcher grin

Ilovegeorgeclooney Tue 06-Aug-13 21:41:49

My bottom set Year 9's asked if they could come in on an INSET day rather than wait until Monday to read the end! Prompted some really good discussions about responsibility/moral choices.

princessgray Thu 08-Aug-13 09:18:30

Just started this. It's compulsive, can't wait to find out what has happened.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 08-Aug-13 12:13:56

It's great to hear the books have arrived finally and that your enjoying the book. Love the story about the year 9s wanting to come in on INSET day to hear the end smile Do please come back and share your thoughts on this thread when you've had chance to read.

hermancakedestroyer Wed 14-Aug-13 19:18:59

I have just finished this book. I have to say I thought it was really well written. Due to the subject I believe that this book should be aimed at older teenagers as I think this book may give younger children nightmares. It was clever the way the whole story was written in letters written by 'Zoe' to her penpal who is on death row.
I thought it was a great read, a real page turner and I wish it had been around when I was younger!

k8vincent Sat 17-Aug-13 07:56:00

Finished this last night and found myself with a tear in my eye. The writing is really compelling and using the one sided letter format is really effective. The reader is really drawn in to Zoe's story.
There are a couple of scenes that would make me hesitate to recommend it to younger teens I teach, but a fantastic book for exploring guilt and the consequences of your decisions.

dappledawn Fri 23-Aug-13 10:22:16

I was pleased to win a copy of this, and consider that it will be an easy and gripping read for slightly older teenagers (especially girls). It has some realistic insight into contemporary teenage issues against the backdrop of an angst-ridden family (with parental tensions/ guilt as well as Zoe's own justifiable remorse). I did however find the mobile phone incident ('sexy photo being sent around without girl's consent' etc) very reminiscent of Mark Haddon's terrific 'The Red House', also published this year - (see p.53 of the hardback edition, where cool Melissa learns from her pal Cally about the consequences of their secretly filming Michelle....) ....coincidence?

It's fluently written, and certainly supplies a young adult with plenty to think about. I can't quite feel it's Great Literature, though. The imagery of the Ketchup Clouds (good title, by the way) - left me feeling rather disappointed, ultimately, as I'd rather hoped that this would be developed more subtly and satisfyingly. Equally, I found Max's death rather unconvincing; drowning isn't 'bloody' (like ketchup), and seeing that he pretty much lost our sympathy anyway, early on, for his lack of chivalry re: the photo ( -and why ever did she forgive him for that??!) - his ultimate demise didn't actually seem to matter all that much, as it was highly convenient to get him out of the way in order to smooth the path for the (surely) inevitable reunion. one day, of the true lovers Aaron and Zoe. Sorry to be a little less enchanted than most other readers here. Pitcher is a young and developing writer who will probably improve on this in her future writing.

BigGapMum Sat 07-Sep-13 13:02:09

I was pleased to receive this book, and I found it a quick and easy read.

The format of the book is letters sent by a teenage girl to a murderer on death row, written to assuage her guilt following the death of her friend.
The letters tell the story of her relationship with two brothers and how things develop. There are aspects of this story which are very relevant to teenagers everywhere, such as the mobile phone photo, lying to controlling parents and domestic problems so I would imagine the book to be engaging to teenagers who might see a parallel with their own lives

Although she used a false name and address in the letters, the details of intimacy she describes doesn't strike me as anything a teenage girl would say, so a little unbelievable in that respect.
Also I didn't really get a rounded view of the characters in the family, so the author has room for improvement there in my opinion.
However the feelings of lust and passion in the book were unmistakable (no sex was involved, in case anyone was wondering) and for this reason I would recommend this book for older teens only, not younger teens.

creambun Mon 09-Sep-13 14:57:15

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book but I really enjoyed it. Having the whole story told from one point of view in the letters made it enjoyable to read and it kept me guessing the whole way through. Zoe's emotions as she struggles with the secret she is keeping make this book a very realistic read. I would say it was best for slightly older teens. My children aren't old enough for this yet but it's a book that I would be happy for them to read and talk about with me when they are older.

As a parent, it was interesting to read about Zoe's own family troubles and the way she and her sisters interpret the things they overhear their parents saying. It makes you appreciate how children can easily misunderstand problems and things can easily get blown out of proportion in their eyes. I also loved Zoe's younger sister Dot.

IRIELADY Sun 01-Dec-13 18:53:34

I've just finished reading the copy I won! Sorry, better late than never! I agree that it would suit older teenagers. I really enjoyed it and my interest was captured throughout. Definitely a worthwhile read. Many Thanks

llewejk Sat 04-Jan-14 19:03:53

As a new mum I have only just read the book, oops. I wasn't sure what to expect but I loved it. Nice short chapters/letters which was great for me. Once I got into it I couldn't wait to find out more and was gripped. I don't think this is just for young teens. I will pass it on to my niece to read next.

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