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Ketchup Clouds: A Novel Audiobook, by Annabel Pitcher Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Annabel Pitcher Narrator: Julie Maisey Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2013 ISBN: 9781478925125
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Dear Mr. S. Harris,

Ignore the blob of red in the top left corner. It’s jam, not blood, though I don’t think I need to tell you the difference. It wasn’t your wife’s jam the police found on your shoe …

Zoe has an unconventional pen pal—Mr. Stuart Harris, a Texas death row inmate and convicted murderer. But then again, Zoe has an unconventional story to tell. A story about how she fell for two brothers, betrayed one of them, and killed the other.

Hidden away in her backyard shed in the middle of the night with a jam sandwich in one hand and a pen in the other, Zoe gives a voice to her heart and her fears after months of silence. Mr. Harris may never respond to Zoe’s letters, but at least somebody will know her story—somebody who knows what it’s like to kill a person you love. Only through her unusual confession can Zoe hope to atone for her mistakes that have torn lives apart and work to put her own life back together again.

Rising literary star Annabel Pitcher pens a captivating second novel, rich with her distinctive balance of humor and heart. Annabel explores the themes of first love, guilt, and grief, introducing a character with a witty voice and true emotional resonance.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Pitcher is one of the sharpest and most original voices in teen literature. From the very start, Ketchup Clouds is absolutely engrossing and entirely out of the norm. Zoe’s story emerges in tantalizing fits and starts, and is ultimately tragic, moving and wonderfully told.”

    RT Book Reviews (4½ stars)

  • “It’s not just suspense that drives this epistolary page-turner but Zoe’s authentic emotional responses and unyielding wit...[Ketchup Clouds] shows just how easy it is to make mistakes and how hard love can be.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Pitcher…delivers a novel that is by turns heartbreaking and hilarious…One of the brothers ends up dead—this much we know—but we don’t know which one, or how Zoe was involved, until the very end. The suspense is palpable, and Zoe’s voice is witty and introspective as she explores issues relating to family, grief, and love…There’s no denying the emotional resonance of this bittersweet novel.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Zoe’s introspective and surprisingly humorous voice will strike a chord with readers as they dwell on the space between guilt and innocence.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Zoe’s original mind, turns of phrase, and sprightly narrative style give her story quick, light momentum and moments of lyricism...Sharp, articulate perceptions and a measure of suspense—as well as a lively thread of wit and humor—make this a very engaging read.”

    Horn Book

  • “The first person narrative gives a sense of immediacy to this unusual story of love and betrayal…The ending has excellent action that explains how one of the brothers dies. The story shows whether or not Zoe can find self-forgiveness for her deed as well as deal with her troubled family. The narrative voice of the author is compelling in this story that resonates with teen angst. The unusual title of ketchup clouds is from the mosaic that Zoe’s little sister, Dot, makes on her plate with ketchup and mashed potatoes.”

    Children’s Literature

  • “The raw and overwhelming emotions jump off the page and grab the reader by the throat in this beautifully written and unique novel. The grief and the guilt are woven so tightly with Zoe’s elation of experiencing true love that it is truly heartbreaking to read…As Zoe’s story jumps between past and present, Pitcher’s excellent writing builds suspense, as nothing is completely revealed until the very end. A better title might have attracted more readers, but overall this is a fantastic and captivating book that is highly recommended.”


  • “The twist on a familiar epistolary format is interesting if somewhat overstretched…But the ambiguity of the dead boy’s identity keeps readers turning pages. Overall, this title will be enjoyed by teens seeking edgy, realistic fiction with elements of romance and suspense.”

    School Library Journal

  • “Julie Maisey delivers the salutation of each letter with a slow, stilted narration, as if she were reading as Zoe writes it out. The rest of the letters she reads fluidly and evenly. Her British accent and vocal expression are perfect for the funny and introspective Zoe. While the mystery builds as Zoe gets closer to ending her story, Maisey’s narration remains true to Zoe’s voice. With this story the listener gets an inside look at the mind and emotions of a teenager who is exploring love and grief. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week in November 2013
  • A YALSA Pick for Best Young Adult Fiction
  • Winner of the 2013 Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize in Overall and Teen Categories
  • Winner of the 2014 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Young Adult Book
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

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About the Author

Annabel Pitcher graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English Literature, and went on to edit television scripts for the comedy Harry Hill and the long-running soap opera Coronation Street. She is now an English teacher in West Yorkshire, England, where she grew up. Annabel started writing My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece in Ecuador, on a round-the-world trip, and finished it in Jordan. This is her debut novel.

About the Narrator

Julie Maisey has appeared at Hampstead Theatre and The Royal National Theatre, as well as on television in The Bill, Eastenders, and various sit-coms, including Birds of a Feather and Holding the Baby. Her voice-over highlights include the BAFTA-nominated and British Animation Award winning Dad’s Dead and People’s Britain, along with a number of cartoons for the AIR scheme with Channel 4.