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Hachette Book Group
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Yours Truly Kindle Edition
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From what I can see reading the other reviews, you either love this or your don't. I would have come down with a 4.5 rating.
Interesting premise: young UK girl dealing with first love confusion and then guilt over a death begins writing to a death row inmate in Texas. That's cool. I like it a lot. it plays with the time line so you obtain memories from the letters as well as current action--that's cool and well done. Toss in the nice little subplots: a professional dad out of work and a guilt ridden stay at home mom over an incident involving their youngest deaf daughter, two brothers that fall for the same girl; the dead boy's mom trying to figure out how to cope and how her son died, another sister who is being bullied but isn't--those are nifty too. OK--maybe she over did the subthreads.
Negatives: Although the young girl's voice is age appropriate, it rattles apart at various times. That was disappointing. She comes across as far too mature in some relationships (siblings) and far too immature in the romance triangle.
Mixed feelings: The inmate on death row is kinda important, but we miss his input since he's doesn't reply. As his death date arrives, I didn't feel it was tied into the story to bring about any resolution on the MC's part. That left me disappointed, and you don't want to disappoint your reader.
My ultimate guess? I'm probably going to fall in love with one of the other nominations like I did last year.
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
The book faltered the most during the interludes when Zoe directly addressed Stuart (the murderer) - she is inappropriate, incredibly naïve, to the point of stupidity, and cruel, speaking about his execution as if it were a school field trip. I kept waiting for him to write back to her - at the very end, I thought, after his execution, she'll get a letter from him. Instead, the letter is from another character altogether, which makes no sense in the framework of the novel and I felt was totally unnecessary - the writer holding my hand, dragging me to what she wanted to make sure I understood, in case she hadn't made her point clearly enough. I felt condescended to and, quite honestly, deceived.
I had purchased this book and "My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece" together, but decided to read this one first. I will still read the second book, but my expectations will be much lower.
If you're a Netflixter, then you're aware of the unique rating algorithm that essentially takes the guess work out of whether you will love or hate a movie based on your past ratings. It would be awesome if Goodreads had a similar system (hint, hint) instead of basing ratings on how others rated a book.
Not to knock Goodreads too much, the site has actually turned me on to several books that I would have otherwise never given a second glance. Ketchup Clouds is a stellar example of a book I would have never found on my own.
Zoe seeks out a Texas Death Row inmate as a pen pal. Writing from the shelter of her garden shed in the UK, she relates the events of the previous year. Riddled with guilt over the death of her boyfriend, she confides in her penpal about her guilt, family life, and all the events leading up to the sad conclusion.
I have to say that based on the dust jacket, this turned out to be quite different than I expected...in a good way! It was a pleasant read, and I came away with the quote above. As imperfect humans, we all make mistakes, and sometimes the moving on part can be the hardest thing to do. I think this was the perfect book for me to read at the right time, which probably supports the 4-star rating. If you read this book, I hope you find just as much meaning in it as I did. I look forward to reading My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece.
Most recent customer reviews
I have mixed feelings about this book. I really enjoyed the first half, but the second half, not so much.Read more
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