Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Book Review Club (June 2015)


We're meeting late this month. I was off galavanting in Canada, hanging out with fun family and friends, attending my high school reunion and various The Disappearance of Emily H.-related activities. But I'm back home and settled and ready to talk books. We have reviews of quite a variety of books today. All to get you ready for summer. And, before I forget, we're taking July and August off. The Book Review Club will resume September 2. 
KETCHUP CLOUDS 
by Annabel Pitcher (mystery, young adult)

Many people have sung the praises of Ketchup Clouds. It got starred reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly. It won the 2013 Waterstones Children's Book Prize, was a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Pick and won the 2014 Edgar Allen Poe Award. It may well have been nominated for and won other awards, but those are the ones I know about.

Listen to this brilliant premise: A fifteen-old-year British girl named Zoe (fake name) committed murder and writes to Stuart Harris, a Texan inmate on death row for killing his wife. Zoe wants someone to know her story. Someone who can relate. Brilliant, right?

The novel is epistolary in style. One sided. Zoe goes out to the family shed at night and writes her letters. The letters span a little over a year, detailing the events leading up to Zoe's crime as well as chronicling her daily life. We learn of her romance triangle with two brothers, her relationship with her sisters, one of whom is deaf, her best friend, her parents' financial difficulties after her dad is made redundant.

And, through it all, we fall in love with Zoe and her guilt and her angst and her sharp wit and her observations on life.

In case I haven't done Ketchup Clouds justice, here's The Beginning of the Book: Dear Mr. S. Harris, Ignore the blob of red in the top right 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.

And now....onto the rest of our reviews. Please click through. You won't want to miss a single one!

MDDLE GRADE AND YOUNG ADULT FICTION BOOK REVIEWS

Ellen Booraem: ONE CRAZY SUMMER by Rita Williams Garcia (MG)

Lucy Sartain: THE DISAPPEARANCE OF EMILY H. by Barrie Summy (MG, mystery)

Stacy Nyikos: ALWAYS OCTOBER by Bruce Coleville (MG)

Beth Bonini of TRAC: ME BEING ME IS EXACTLY AS INSANE AS YOU BEING YOU
                                      by Todd Hasak-Lowy (YA)

ADULT FICTION BOOK REVIEWS

Alyssa Goodnight: ARTIFACT by Gigi Pandian (mystery)

Lucy Sartain: QUEEN OF THE TRAILER PARK by Alice Quinn (A Rosie Maldonne mystery)

Patti Abbott:  NOVEMBER by Georges Simenon

Ray Potthoff: THE DREAM LOVER by Elizabeth Berg (historical)

**Scott Parker: CONCRETE ANGEL by OUR VERY OWN Patricia Abbott (domestic suspense)**

NONFICTION REVIEW

Linda McLaughlin: THE MONUMENTS MEN: ALLIED HEROES, NAZI THIEVES, AND THE GREATEST TREASURE HUNT IN HISTORY by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter (adult)

Rob Costello: SO YOU'VE BEEN PUBLICLY SHAMED by Jon Ronson (adult)

Sarah Laurence: I WILL ALWAYS WRITE BACK by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda
                           with Liz Welch (young adult)


Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!

Dear FCC: Oh, you are so nosy. I bought this book. Nothing tricky going on here.


10 comments:

Lucy said...

You've made me want to order this book so I would say you did it justice.

Great review and thanks for hosting the book club!

Sarah Laurence said...

Welcome back, Barrie, and congrats on Emily H! The Ketchup Clouds sounds very original. I'm intrigued. I just posted my review right now, a bit late for me. It's been a busy June offline.

Ellen Booraem said...

Wow. This one seems not to have reached my radar, and I want it now. Sorry, TBR pile.

Also can't wait to read Emily H!!!

Stacy Nyikos said...

Ooh, this sounds like a great read. Must get!

Bee said...

Barrie, I'm so glad that you had a fab trip to your home country!
I've been meaning to get around to Ketchup Clouds; now you've really intrigued me. The author also wrote "My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece" -- which was a best-seller in England.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

This one sounds very intriguing! And what a title! Thanks for the review and putting it on my reading radar! :)

Cloudbuster said...

Wow! I am definitely going to read this one! It's absolutely the kind of novel I love (my tastes skew dark), and I'm especially intrigued by the epistolary style. Somehow I hadn't heard of it; thanks for cluing me in!

Linda McLaughlin said...

That is quite a concept for a YA novel! Not sure it's my cup of tea, but glad you enjoyed the book.

Sarah Laurence said...

Barrie, thanks for hosting! The reviews were all really good. The only one I didn't read was Linda's. Her link is to an April review.

troutbirder said...

Mmmmm. Well. Good explanation but not for me at any age. Young girls doing murder that is... On the other hand I love your use of the word galavanting. It makes me want to go some place and have fun...:)