Camden Market. London, England. 2013.
Zoe isn’t her real name, but that’s not what matters. Zoe has a deep, dark secret. She reaches out by writing letters to an inmate, Stuart Harris, on Death Row in America. Somehow it seems safer, to divulge her secret to someone who is also a killer. See, Zoe has killed someone herself. Through her letters Zoe writers her pain, guilt and struggle to deal with what she has done. As Harris’ death date draws near, Zoe fights with herself to reveal her secret, and face the horrible truth of what her life has become.
This tale is painful, raw and just ever so youthful in a terrifyingly sad way. The closer I got to the ending, the more I didn’t want to continue. I wasn’t sure how the ending was going to come about, but then all at once, I was there.
For a YA book, Ketchup Clouds touches on grief and loss in a realistic way. Her emotions and reactions are fascinating, her voice is strong and clear within her letters. This was not the type of book that I expected it to be. I love it when books makes me feel things, when events don’t turn out the way I thought they would. It’s still moving and beautiful and everything it needed to be. It stands on it’s own and crawls under your skin, allowing for you to remember how grief hurts for others when you are in pain inside.
This book is best read when one is least expecting it. It’s a lovely break from the traditional romance and a stellar example of how love in YA needs to be: true.