Annabel Pitcher won a Society of Authors Betty Trask Award and the Branford Boase Award 2012 for her debut novel, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece. Her second novel, Ketchup Clouds, is the story of an ordinary 15-year-old girl, Zoe, who has a dark and terrible secret she can’t tell anyone. In a bid to offload, she begins to write letters to a murderer on death row in Texas. Through these letters, Zoe slowly reveals her story.
Pitcher’s second book is full of suspense, drama and secrets, all of which are backed by a convincing story of first love and undercut by Pitcher’s light and subtle humour. There is so much to enjoy in these pages, not least the beautifully drawn protagonist and her interactions with friends and family, where the most casual, comfortable conversations interrupt the deeply moving ones. It shows Pitcher’s confidence in writing relationships that she perfectly balances pathos and humour with the ordinariness of teenage life. Ketchup Clouds is a memorable and compelling novel to devour in one, weepy sitting.