Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece” as Want to Read:
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  8,484 Ratings  ·  1,221 Reviews
Ten-year-old Jamie Matthews has just moved to the Lake District with his Dad and his teenage sister, Jasmine for a 'Fresh New Start'. Five years ago his sister's twin, Rose, was blown up by a terrorist bomb. His parents are wrecked by their grief, Jasmine turns to piercing, pink hair and stops eating. The family falls apart. But Jamie hasn't cried in all that time. To him ...more
Hardcover, 226 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Orion Children's Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Sarah I've been set the same homework! Part of a project on the book. I realise this is a little late, but my plan was to draw a mantlepiece with the ash…moreI've been set the same homework! Part of a project on the book. I realise this is a little late, but my plan was to draw a mantlepiece with the ash jar in the middle and a Jamie Doll and Sunya Doll slumped on either side.(less)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom RiggsThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonGo the Fuck to Sleep by Adam MansbachThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own M... by Catherynne M. Valente
I Picked It Up Because of the Title
102nd out of 1,005 books — 784 voters
The Sense of an Ending by Julian BarnesThe Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWittBefore I Go to Sleep by S.J. WatsonWhen God was a Rabbit by Sarah WinmanThe Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
Man Booker Prize Eligible 2011
47th out of 155 books — 273 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
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
Jubilation Lee
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
Liz Janet
May 03, 2016 Liz Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
“My sister Rose lives on the mantelpiece.
Well, some of her does.
A collarbone, two ribs, a bit of skull, and a little toe.”

This story follows ten-year-old Jamie, after one of his sisters died during a terrorist bombing, and the effects this has had within his family. His mother and father are separated, mother has found another lover, father has become a fervent Islamophobe, and his other sister Jas, lives in the shadow of Rose, the one that died. But Jamie meets a girl, a Muslim girl named Suny
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
Oct 08, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 07, 2013 Lynda rated it it was amazing
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!
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
Feb 20, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, ya
El gran acierto de este libro: el punto de vista de Jamie. Es increíble cómo la autora capta la voz de un niño de 10 años: imaginativa, incansable, irritable, divertida..., y la traslada a las páginas del libro para que Jamie nos cuente su historia.

Todos lidiamos con el dolor de formas diferentes, pero cuando la hermana de Jamie muere en un atentado nadie le pregunta cómo se siente, pero todos le dicen cómo debería sentirse. Este libro es la historia de un niño que trata de recuperar a una fami
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
Originally I was only going to give this four stars, but when a book can drive me to tears it automatically becomes a five star read.

Assorted thoughts:
1. The ending's very open ended and leaves some things unresolved. I'm not sure how I feel about that
2. I really like Jamie, I think he's so sweet and adorable and I like the damn honesty in his voice. Kids are always so honest and I liked that in the narration.
3. Jamie's relationship with his sister Jas is really cute.
4. I like how all the chara
Anita Vela
Mar 31, 2015 Anita Vela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anita by: Maite Vela
Shelves: lecturas-2015
La historia trata de Jamie un niño de 10 años y su familia tras una perdida muy dolorosa e injusta. Hace 5 años, Rose, la hermana gemela de Jass, murió tras un atentado terrorista en Londres, desde entonces nada ha sido igual para la familia, se empieza a romper en pedacitos. Empieza por la culpa cargada de reproches entre los padres y no ponerse de acuerdo con que hacer con los restos de Rose, y deciden “repartirlos”. Es entonces cuando empieza a romperse la familia. La madre los abandona, el ...more
✿Ivy Roots✿
After I finished reading My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece I broke into tears and held the book close to my chest, right above my heart.

This year hasn’t been an awful year with books, I have given a few five-star reviews that really deserved it. I liked these books, some of them I even liked-liked, some of them I even loved. But I loved-loved this book, if there is even such a thing.


My entire soul bled for this story and I found myself suddenly unable to put the book down. I feeling I have n
After reading Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher, I was recommended to read My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by her as well. And I'm glad that I did.

This is a sad and heart-wrenching story about a ten-year-old boy and his wondrous and innocent view on his life and the ones surrounding him.

Jamie was an adorable character; he sometimes didn't get the deeper meaning of what his sister or his friend said to him and I would get frustrated in some scenarios, but it was understandable. He was ten year
Beth Bonini
Jun 21, 2014 Beth Bonini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 08, 2013 Michelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade, 2013
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
Jun 16, 2015 Sheida rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I normally hate stories told from the point of view of children cause the writer always ends up either making the child sound too mature or too stupid. This book had a nice blend though, it felt relatively authentic for the most part. It didn't feel like a complete story and there was something missing but ... overall, I enjoyed it.
Aug 09, 2014 Cherie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Aug 28, 2016 Veronique rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ondanks de goede reviews had ik niet hoge verwachtingen van dit boek. Verteld door een 10 jarige kan toch niet veel soeps zijn. Tegen mijn verwachtingen in een mooi en ontroerend boek.
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
Not gonna lie: the main reason that I chose this audiobook was for David Tennant's narration. I'd never listened to an audiobook before and decided that a short book and a familiar voice was how I wanted to ease myself in. Consuming this book through my ears meant that I wasn't able to analyze it as much as I normally might - but sometimes, that's ok. There's something comforting about just sitting back and being read to, especially with a book like this.

This story is about a 10-year-old boy nam
What a great book. What a wonderful book. Made me laugh, made me cry, all the things good books should do. Although this is a quick read, and helps a character deal with death, divorce, and moving to a new school it does so, so well, that you don't notice that there might be teaching moments.

Back in the days when I was in college, I took a course called "Death and Dying in Children's Literature" and we studied things like "Bridget to Terebethia", and we learned that there are certain formulas th
The story begins five years after the death of a ten year old girl from a terrorist bomb. The family is falling apart. The now-ten-year-old son tells us -- to the best of his ten-year-old understanding -- what has happened to his parents, his sister, and himself in the wake of this tragic event.
I wish this was a story of love and redemption. It is, but it's not. It is a story of a family muddling through.
The author did an extraordinary job of capturing the interior life of a little boy who grapp
Okay, I confess, I cried near the end.

This book is told from the perspective of a 10 year old boy, Jamie, whose parents have split up following the death of one of his twin sisters as a result of an October terrorist bombing in London five years ago. He now lives with his father and Jasmine in the country and is beginning a new school. His father drinks, he misses his mother and his sister feels as though she is living with "a shadow" changing her hair color to pink & her clothing style to
Apr 04, 2016 Lize rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dit boek stond al een hele tijd op mijn veel te lange te lezen lijst en nu is het er eindelijk van gekomen om het te lezen. Wat ben ik blij dat ik het gelezen heb! Zo een mooi en ontroerend boek. Het is in eenvoudige taal geschreven met eenvoudig woordgebruik maar toch zitten er meerdere moeilijke thema's in verwerkt: het verlies van een zus/dochter waar ieder op zijn of haar manier mee omgaat en die zus is dan nog omgekomen door de aanslagen van 9/11 doos moslims. Hoe ga je dan om met moslims? ...more
May 19, 2016 Hally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The leaves in the puddles look like dead goldfish. And all the green has turned brown and purple, as if the hills have got bruises. I like the world this way. Summer’s a bit too bright for me. A bit too happy. Flowers dancing and birds singing like nature’s having a big party. Autumn’s better. Everything’s a bit more droopy and you don’t feel left out of all the fun.


This book has somehow managed to touch me more than anything I've read in a long time. It deals with so many issues, most
Mar 06, 2013 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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, ...more
Laly Arce Chumpitassi
Lo amé!!! lo amé lo amé!!!
Ver toda la crueldad y lo terrible de un ataque terrorista desde la perspectiva de un niño de 10 años que lo vivió cuando tenía 5 años y no entendió bien qué pasó, y no le afectó pero que tuvo que vivir con padres separados y con el fantasma de su hermana muerta. Pronto una reseña en el canal
Aug 03, 2014 Sharmilla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Lianne - Literary Diversions
I cannot remember the last time a book made me cry like this. Ugh. All the feels.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Everybody Jam
  • Being Billy
  • Black Heart Blue
  • When I Was Joe (When I Was Joe, #1)
  • Life: An Exploded Diagram
  • Fourmile
  • Artichoke Hearts
  • Solace of the Road
  • Flying the Dragon
  • A Greyhound of a Girl
  • Pearl Verses the World
  • The Weight of Water
  • Out of Shadows
  • Child of the Mountains
  • The Year of the Rat
  • Hidden (Hayling Cycle, #1)
  • After Eli
  • Whisper
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...

Share This Book

“I stared up at the sky and raised my middle finger, just in case God was watching. I don't like being spied on.” 60 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.” 19 likes
More quotes…