Title: Ketchup Clouds
Author: Annabel Pitcher
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 12, 2013 (in America...originally released in the UK in November 2012)
AR Levels: unavailable
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17242447-ketchup-clouds
In a nutshell: Zoe has a secret, a secret so terrible she can't tell anyone, but she has to tell someone what she's done or the guilt may consume her. Zoe's solution? Become pen pals with an inmate on Death Row in Texas. Through this series of letters, "Zoe" (who does not reveal her real name) begins to process her grief and intense guilt over murdering a boy in her life. Who is this boy? What could have caused a nerdy teenage girl to murder him? "Zoe" answers these questions and creates more for readers in this dark yet romantic novel that is sure to keep you guessing.
I'd recommend it for grades: 9 and up (mature content and mild language)
I'd recommend it to: mystery lovers and dark humor fans
What I liked most about this book: It's a backwards whodunnit with a lot of heart too. I laughed, I got a little misty-eyed, and I could not put this one down. It's a tough thing to introduce your main character as a murderer in the first chapter, but "Zoe" immediately draws your sympathy with her vulnerability and humor. I've never read another book like this one, and I mean that in the best of ways.
Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): There is so much I can't give away in this one, but let's just say "Zoe" works part-time shelving books in a library, and there's some sweet nerdy flirting in the stacks that made my librarian heart happy. Also...any moment with "Zoe's" deaf little sister Dot is my favorite. She's adorable.
Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 4 stars