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My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  5,019 ratings  ·  833 reviews
Ten-year-old Jamie hasn't cried since it happened. He knows he should have - Jasmine cried, Mum cried, Dad still cries. Roger didn't, but then he is just a cat and didn't know Rose that well, really.

Everyone kept saying it would get better with time, but that's just one of those lies that grown-ups tell in awkward situations. Five years on, it's worse than ever: Dad drinks
...more
Hardcover, 211 pages
Published 2012 by Galaxy (first published March 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Maggie
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece takes place five years after bombs went off in London killing 62 people. The story follows the aftermath of the family of the youngest victim, Rose, from the perspective of her now 10-year-old brother, Jamie. Jamie's parents, unable to deal with the blame and guilt they place on one another, have finally split up. Jamie and Jas, Rose's twin, move with their father out into the country. One benefit, according to their father, is to get away from Muslims. After a ...more
Nafiza
I’ve been sitting here for a bit trying to collect my thoughts enough that I can write the kind of coherent review this book deserves. There are so many things I want to speak about and discuss but at the same time, I wonder if it wouldn’t be more appropriate to just ask you to please read this book. It might be the best one you read this year.

The novel has the same poignant flavor as Tabitha Suzuma’s Forbidden. The same sort of intricate family politics and themes of self-discovery and friendsh
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Monica!
When I picked this book up I was terrified, because a) books with fantastic titles like this rarely turn out the way I’d like and b) are you serious, we have a ten-year-old narrator dealing with death and terrorism and parental neglect? It was never going to work.

And then it opened like this:

My sister Rose lives on the mantelpiece. Well, some of her does. Three of her fingers, her right elbow and her kneecap are buried in a graveyard in London. Mum and Dad had a big argument when the police foun
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Sesana
You would expect a book written about a family who lost a child in a terrorist attack would be a tearjerker, possibly to the point of being manipulative. It's what I expected. But that isn't what Pitcher was writing about. In some ways, it's the exact opposite. Pitcher isn't writing about the rawness of new grief. This isn't about Jamie's grief over losing his sister, because he doesn't really feel grief. He doesn't remember her, never really knew her, and only misses her because of the hole her ...more
Lisa
I was almost finished writing a review for this when I pressed a button that made it all disappear. SO now I'm mad.

So now I'm writing a simplified version.

This book snuck up on me. I didn't know if I'd like this book because it's told from a ten-year-old boy's perspective. But at the end, I was emotional and trying not to cry(I did succeed but it was tough for me).

The last quarter of the book was written so well and was HEARTBREAKING. Something happened that ripped my heart out and made Jamie(th
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Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
A really easy, quick and enjoyable read. The title of this book is what attracted me to it - It sounds really intriguing and it gave me high expectations. The premise of the book was fantastic. The book actually deals with quite a few issues (racism, alcohol abuse, grief, family break-ups) through they weren't all so obvious. I found it a little difficult to get into the childish nature of the writing (The narrator is 10 year old Jamie), but after I got more used to it, I found it quite charming ...more
Caris
When I first started this book, I was immediately repulsed. The initial pages simply dripped with voice in the same way teenaged Hollister employees drip with foul smelling cologne. It was like being back inside the head of the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime protagonist, where the weird, simplistic thoughts are so forcefully injected into the narrative so that you just know that the character is brilliant in spite of his intellectual shortcomings. This kid, Jamie, is not mentally c ...more
Lynda
Wow! I laughed, I cried (dammit!). What a wonderful book. I can not believe it is a debut novel. The writing is fantastic.

The book is narrated by Jamie, a 10 year old, and the narration feels very "real", like he is simply sitting across from you telling you his story, with such innocence. And his story deals with some heavy topics; terrorism, racism, alcoholism, bullying and the deterioration of the family unit.

This is an author worth following. I'm hooked. Next book please!
Tiff at Mostly YA Lit
This is a bold, brilliantly written piece on family, loss and how to cope.

Jamie Matthews is a 10-year old boy whose family has been ripped apart by tragedy. His sister Rose was killed in a terrorist bombing in London five years ago. Rose's twin, Jas, now lives totally in her shadow according to their parents, and Rose's ashes sit in an urn, almost taunting the Matthews family with her presence.

Jamie's parents are a mess. His father is an alcoholic, raging against all Muslims for "killing" his
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Michelle
Jamie is the younger brother of teenage twin sisters; one who passed away in the London tube bombings. This event is treated the same way as 9/11 often is and it (embarrassingly) never occurred to me it could’ve had the same national effect.

In any case, while the reverberations of this incident shake the county they shake Jamie’s family most of all. His parents are separating and his father has become one of those crazy, rambling Muslim-haters (another market I thought the U.S. cornered), not to
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Cherie
Lynda already wrote everything I want to say about the book and the author so read her review.

My addition is to say what a wonderful pleasure it was listening to David Tennant read the story to me. He really made Jamie come alive.

An exceptional story raised even higher by an exceptional performance in audio!
Georgiana 1792
Mi chiamo Jamie e non sono invisibile

«Se non fossimo andati a Trafalgar Square o se non esistessero i piccioni o se fosse stata una bambina più obbediente, Rose oggi sarebbe ancora viva e la mia famiglia sarebbe felice.»

Com’è possibile che, in poche pagine, siano concentrate così tante emozioni? Una stella tra i rami del melo è uno di quei libri che suscita una miriade di sentimenti: rabbia, impotenza, tenerezza, compassione. Forse dipende dal fatto che, sebbene Jamie abbia solo 10 anni, negli u
...more
Kristin
Check this review out and others on my blog: Get Real.

What does death do to a family? How does grief take shape? When and how do the survivors heal? My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece explores these questions and others with solemnity, sarcasm, realism and even a bit of humor.

Jamie is 10 years old, and even though he doesn't much remember his sister Rose before she died from a terrorist attack five years ago, he and the rest of his family continue to live with her spectre. At the start of the st
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Emma
My mum loved this book. It's rare she says she loves a book, and she's a bigger reader than me. So I think I expected big, cry-inducing, things from this book. So I’m just gonna put this out there- I didn’t love this book.

I remember reading books like these when I was a child, where these children have less than perfect childhoods for whatever reason and I never understood their actions or reasons for thinking the way they did. So there you have it, I didn’t ‘get’ the story.

I found the book
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Savindi
Cover Gushing Worthiness: I believe this is the original cover for My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher and I'm not a fan to be honest. Yes the boy on the cover is Jamie, but it doesn't capture the essence of the book.In my opinion the cover of the edition I have is much more suitable for the book. The cover is vibrant and the illustration of the urn the reader’s attention. The font used for the title is really awesome and stands out quite well.

Review

My sister Rose lives on the mantelpiece. We
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A.E. Curzon
Ten year old Jamie, the narrator of this book, takes us through his day to day life in a simplistic and sometimes heart-breaking manner. Following the tragic death of his sister Rose, killed by a terrorist bomb in London, Jamie’s life, and that of his older sister, Jas – twin of the dead Rose- takes a very sad road. Rose’s death has a tremendous effect on all the family, and both parents deal with their anguish in their own way. Jamie’s father turns to drink, whilst his mother turns to another m ...more
Lucy Smith
I stayed up until half one this morning reading this book. Because I HAD to know how it ended. I was initially attracted to the book because it sounded a little bit different. Told from the perspective of a ten year old boy who can't remember his sister who died in an extremist terrorist attack 5 years previously (and who now lives in an urn on the mantlepiece); from the get go there is a hell of a lot of tension in this story. Dad is an alcoholic racist bigot, mum has run away with a man from t ...more
Jill Overmyer
The plot of this book has already been described widely on this forum so there's no need for me to reiterate, and the publisher's blurb tells you all you need to know anyway, so all I can add is my personal reaction to this book.
While this book may be classified as "young adult", I think that is selling it short. It is, or at least should be, a book for everyone. It deals with issues such as grief, alcohism, parental neglect, racism and bullying in such a matter of fact way that makes its impac
...more
Candy Wood
The only explanation I have for this book being on both the Guardian and Carnegie awards lists is that its first-time author has managed to push several trendy buttons. Coping with death by terrorist attack, check. Anti-Muslim prejudice, check. Dealing with a school bully who is also a classic teacher’s pet, check. Alcoholic parent, check. Looking to reality TV, specifically Britain’s Got Talent, to solve all of the above, check. And besides all those, 10-year-old narrator Jamie has to deal with ...more
Julia
Ten year old Jamie’s family is a mess. His sister died five years ago in a terrorist attack in London, and his Dad isn’t functioning; he drinks, he grieves and he allows his children to parent him. Jamie’s fifteen year old sister Jasmine, Rose’s twin is more there for him, than their father. Mum has abandoned them.

Meanwhile, they’ve moved to the Lake District and Jamie goes to school with Sunya, a Muslim girl. Sunya is Jamie’s only friend. Jamie’s Dad hates Muslims. As if Jamie didn’t have enou
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Nelly (◡‿◡✿)
THESE TEARS ARE EVERYWHERE oh god this book is so lovely and it's heartbreaking and warm at the same time and the plot is really simple but the writing is so honest and poignant and sweet I'll never be ok again
Jamie
Mar 06, 2013 Jamie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Frank Cottrell Boyce
Maybe it's my anglophilia, but I LOVED THIS BOOK! It shows how there are many ways to deal with grief, but that is not the bravery of this book. Having a father who is a mostly sympathetic character deep down, but also, at the time, a horrible racist was a brave choice and undoubtedly reflects not just England but all Western culture. The ending, with Roger, nearly made me cry, and I didn't feel manipulated, I felt as if it was right for the age group. While this was widely praised in England, i ...more
Ela
Apr 22, 2012 Ela rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ela by: Carnegie
Initially I only picked up this book because it was shortlisted for the Carnegie 2012 award. It appeared uninspiring and slightly pretentious.
However I was pleasantly surprised, the characters are well developed and convincing; they all have thier own problems to deal with. The writing is pleasing and Annabel Pitcher deals with a wide range of serious issues (love, loss, devorce, neglect, abuse, racism, terrorsim etc) realistically and seamlessly.
The conclusion was great it remained rational whi
...more
Beth Bonini
This book is difficult to classify. Technically, it is a children's book; it has a 10 year old narrator, and the story is told entirely from his point-of-view. And yet, I'm more apt to describe this book as YA -- or "for everyone" who has grown up and had to deal with all of the losses, big and small, that life throws at you. (That should cover pretty much everyone.)

Young Jamie has had to deal with loss on a spectacularly huge scale. His sister has died in a terrorist bombing five years before
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Lynda Kelly
I sat out in the carpark at work lunchtime finishing this sobbing and trying to keep my mascara from not looking like I'd suffered a death in the family in the intervening half hour !! It was bound to be sad due to the subject matter but it's certainly not all doom and gloom. Jamie who narrates has some witty observations for a ten year old (although he probably doesn't see them that way-he just tells it like it is). Interesting to read his observations through my adult eyes. At times I felt rea ...more
Jennie
I'm struggling to write a review for this book. It was very hard to put a star rating on it because I'm not sure as to how I l
felt about the book. It's amazingly written and so, painfully real but also terribly bleak.


Annabel Pitcher has achieved something I thought unachievable; her story is from the perspective of Jamie, a ten year old boy, and it takes on very heavy topics - terrorism, death, religion, prejudice, problem parents and more. But the innocence and naïvety of Jamie are what make
...more
Zora
You should read this and decide for yourself; I had a hard time picking how many stars and three is nearly a random choice. The text version is irritating with needless irksome typographical choices, so listen to the audio version and save yourself that frustration. (It's narrated well by David Tennant.)

The book follows a 10-year-old boy whose sister died in the London terrorist bombings. His parents have both moved past grief into a sort of selfish faux-grief orgy and fetishizing of the cremain
...more
Edward Sullivan
A brilliantly written, richly layered, superb portrait of a grieving family and a touching friendship. Moving, real, and painful but with many wonderful touches of humor. A truly exceptional story.
Liz
Continuing with my ongoing love of young adult fiction and all novels grief related is this latest book, which I really loved. Narrated by 10 year old Jamie Pitcher it tells the deeply personal story of the individual and collective impact of grief and trauma on a family when someone dies suddenly. The family is enjoying a day out when tragedy strikes suddenly and brutally leaving them literally lost to find all of the pieces to put back together – a strong ongoing metaphor throughout the book. ...more
Serendipity Reviews
It is five years after the bombing that killed his sister Rose and Jamie's family are still trying to repair the unrepairable damage the event caused. His parents have separated, leaving Jamie and his sister living with their Dad, who now suffers with a severe drinking problem and often needs his children to look after him.Their mum has deserted them and doesn't seem keen to keep in contact at all. Jamie struggles to come to terms with the devastation his family continues to suffer, over a perso ...more
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Annabel Pitcher studied English at Oxford and has since worked as a script writer and an English teacher. She lives in Yorkshire with her husband. MY SISTER LIVES ON THE MANTELPIECE was her first novel. She is a full-time writer.
More about Annabel Pitcher...
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“I stared up at the sky and raised my middle finger, just in case God was watching. I don't like being spied on.” 40 likes
“In fact she was quite bad and according to Jas she was naughty at school, but no one seems to remember that now she is all dead and perfect.” 12 likes
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