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My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

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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 Rose is just a distant memory. Jamie is far more interested in his cat, Roger, his birthday Spiderman T-shirt, and in keeping his new friend Sunya a secret from his dad. And in his deep longing and unshakeable belief that his Mum will come back to the family she walked out on months ago.

When he sees a TV advert for a talent show, he feels certain that this will change everything and bring them all back together once and for all.

256 pages, Paperback

First published March 1, 2011

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About the author

Annabel Pitcher

12 books490 followers
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.

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5 stars
4,923 (33%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,818 reviews
Profile Image for Nafiza.
Author 7 books1,186 followers
October 25, 2015
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 friendship but I am getting ahead of myself. Maybe the synopsis (or perhaps the title) tipped you off but the book deals with the way a family copes after one of its members is killed in the horrible terrorist attack in London when bombs went off in trash cans in the city.

The narrator of the story is a ten year old boy and if you think the complexity is compromised by the young age of the narrator and protagonist, please think again. The best thing about using such young mediums to tell a grown up story is that there are so many chances of saying the profoundest of things in the simplest of ways. You know the saying…”from the mouths of babes…?” Yeah. Jamie’s portrayal of his life, of his longing for his mother, of his inability to steer through the shark infested waters that is elementary school rife with bullies and biased teachers is so on the point that you cannot help but be drawn immediately into the story. His voice is fresh, wondering and perhaps, a little intentionally, cheeky. His observations are pertinent and at times may, again unintentionally, make you snort out with laughter. His relationships with his parents and his remaining sister are also shown in a beautiful manner.

I am Muslim and often times I have felt uncomfortable reading books that deal with Muslim terrorists simply because I feel that all Muslims are tarred with the same brush whether we deserve it or not. That is why I appreciate the exquisite way in which Pitcher handles the whole issue. I love how she doesn’t demonize or canonize any character. Even those you would happily cast in a black hue are given gray shades and juxtaposed in interesting ways that end up showing their humanity. Sunya and Jamie’s relationship is also one of the strong points in a book that really had nothing but strong points. And I loved the delicate way in which Pitcher made her point about racism and blind hatred.

There is also a cat in this novel and though it does not talk, it has as much presence (if not more) than a person. You have to admire authors who can make you react that way to an animal that is presented throughout the whole novel through someone else’s eyes.

The manner in which Jamie’s family deals with death, the journey to, if not absolution then, acceptance of circumstances. There is as much a warning in here as there is hope. The writing is beautiful and Pitcher again utilizes Jamie’s age to write the most beautiful descriptions in the simplest of ways. Here’s an example:
The leaves in the puddle look like dead goldfish. And all the green as 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.

In conclusion, I reiterate: Read this book. You will not regret it. (You might cry though.)
Profile Image for Maggie.
415 reviews430 followers
August 16, 2012
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 all, Muslims killed his daughter. Another benefit is the job waiting for him, something he couldn't find in London what with all the foreigners stealing jobs. Never mind the bottle of vodka he empties everyday. Jamie goes to his new school, where he's picked on and told to "go back to London." The only person who smiles at him is Sunya, the girl wearing a hijab. But Muslims killed his sister and he's supposed to honor his father, who hates Muslims, isn't he?

A middle grade book dealing with terrorism and death? Needless to say, I had my doubts. However, Annabel Pitcher confronts issues like hate, loyalty, and loss in such a straightforward way that its simplicity belies its depth. Even more impressive, she confronts the pressure to grieve.

Jamie grieves the loss of his family and his parents' marriage, but he doesn't cry over the sister he barely remembers. How can he? He was 5 years old when she died. His parents and various therapists, though, tell him it just hasn't hit him yet. His mother once made him change a school essay on a special person from a soccer player to Rose, and the story she made him use resulted in his being teased mercilessly by the other students. Poor kid. Over 20 years later and parents still don't understand. As much as I hated Jamie's parents, I loved this storyline because I wonder how many kids who've prematurely lost parents and siblings and relatives are acting how they THINK they should instead of how they actually feel. And I wonder how many kids know that it's okay to feel... nothing. Or close to nothing. How do you mourn someone you barely know or remember? I always hear kids being told that it's okay to cry, it's okay to cry, but it's also okay not to cry.

Jamie also struggles to reconcile his father's view of evil, murderous Muslims with the bright, sunny girl who keeps extending her hand to him. Sunya, seeing Jamie's fascination with superheroes and Spiderman, claims that she's a superhero too. She proudly points to her hijab as part of her superhero costume. I loved Sunya. She's bold and fierce, loyal and kind. She doesn't shy away from her identity, even as the kids call her Curry Breath and other names.

While Jamie and Sunya's relationship is born of struggle, Jamie's relationship with his sister Jas is based purely on love. This is the relationship that made me cry. Jas is just a kid herself and she's lost her twin, but she refuses to let Jamie be hurt. She tries to do the job of two parents as best as her 15-year-old self can. Older sisters, be sure to drain the battery on your phone beforehand so you don't end up calling your mortified younger brothers.

It's sad to say that a book like this is timely and necessary, especially for a younger audience, but it is. It's also hopeful and surprising. A very strong debut by first time author Annabel Pitcher.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher.

This review appears on Young Adult Anonymous.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
1,276 reviews119 followers
December 5, 2018
Five years ago, Jamie’s older sister was blown up by terrorists in an attack in Trafalgar Square. The terrorists also, unknowingly, blew up Jamie’s family. His father worships the urn that holds Rose’s remains, while drinking himself senseless to numb the pain. Rose’s twin sister apparently has an eating disorder. And Jamie’s mother? She abandoned the family altogether.

Jamie’s dad moved the family away from the city is an attempt to distance his family from his memories of the event that he blames on ‘all’ Muslims. So who should become Jamie’s only friend in his new school? Sunya—a charming, smart little girl who also happens to be Muslim!

Pitcher handles the issues of alcoholism, racism, and bullying with sensitivity. Jamie and Jasmine (the twin sister who remains) come to terms with their grief and loss. The narration by David Tennant is excellent. Recommend this heartwarming young adult novel.
Profile Image for Serena.
106 reviews35 followers
July 10, 2020
I’m writing this review with tears still in my eyes! My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece broke my heart and made me feel all warm inside at the same time. I feel it is rare to find a book which makes you laugh and cry in equal measure, which is exactly what this novel achieved.

This book is narrated by Jamie, a 10-year-old boy, whose older sister was blown into pieces by a terrorist bomb in London 5 years ago. His family are overcome with loss and torn apart by their grief. When they try to have a fresh start, Jamie is sat next to a Muslim girl named Sunya in his new school. His thoughts are "Muslims killed my sister" over and over again but Sunya doesn’t seem like a terrorist at all… She is kind, funny and beautiful.

The character development in this book is truly fantastic. This wonderfully written story took me on an emotional rollercoaster and tackled Islamophobia from an innocent child’s perspective. This is definitely one of my favourite reads this year. I highly recommend this book, please give it a read! Although, you may need some tissues…
Profile Image for Darlene.
370 reviews130 followers
September 30, 2018
I listened to the audio version of this book by Annabel Pitcher and it was narrated by David Tennant.

When we meet ten-year-old Jamie Matthews, he is living in London with his family... his mother, father and fifteen year old sister, Jas... oh yeah, and his other sister, Rose.... Rose lives in an urn on the mantelpiece. What we first notice about Jamie is that he is a sweet, average 10 year old boy... he loves his big orange cat, Roger; he loves super heroes and especially loves Spider Man and he loves his family. But it's also quickly apparent that Jamie's family has become completely unglued. You see, five years prior, Rose (who is the identical twin to Jas), was killed in a terrorist bombing. Since that time, the family has been falling apart in its grief.

Finally, unable to find solace in her husband and family, Jamie's mother finds comfort in a man she met in a support group and she leaves her family behind. Jamie's father, wishing to get away from London, takes Jamie and Jas and moves to the countryside... to a little village by the sea called Ambleside. Jamie's father assures them that they will have a fresh start; but upon arriving, he once again deposits the urn on the mantelpiece; and Jamie and Jas realize that this change in scenery will NOT be a fresh start after all. For the past five years, on the anniversary of Rose's death, Jamie's father has attempted to take her ashes to the beach and scatter them at sea.Each time, he is unable to let go and returns her urn to the mantelpiece.

The family ambles on.... Jamie's father seeks solace in the bottom of a vodka bottle; Jas dyes her hair pink and pierces her nose and Jamie.... well, he starts his new school feeling alone and bewildered and even feeling guilty because he can't even REMEMBER Rose. He wears the same Spider man t-shirt day after day , telling himself that he won't change it or even wash it until his mother comes home. But as sometimes happens, Jamie's life takes an unexpected turn... he makes a friend... a girl named Sunya. What Jamie first notices about Sunya is that she wears a hijab; so he realizes she is Muslim. He also knows that his father would never understand or approve of his friendship with Sunya. After all, his father tells him repeatedly that Muslims killed his sister. But all Jamie knows is that in addition to their shared love of super heroes, this girl has the most amazing, expressive dark eyes.... they sparkle. And Jamie discovers that he can make her laugh and that making her laugh makes him happy... and it makes her eyes flash and smile. He knows that she looks at him with understanding and for the first time, in a very long time, he doesn't feel so alone.

Perhaps this story seems a bit simplistic and childish in the solution it presents to this boy's grief and loneliness; but I have thought a great deal about this book since I finished it and I think that sometimes the best solutions are INDEED the simplest ones; and sometimes that simple answer can be seen only through the eyes of a child.... a child who isn't bogged down by a lifetime of prejudices and outdated ways of looking at the world. This story was told in Jamie's voice and it was one not only of loss and grief but also one of an unlikely friendship, which allowed him to cope and heal and which inspired him to hope that his family would survive. Through Jamie's friendship with Sunya, he was able to see with his heart and through her compassion and understanding he came to believe that the strange and wonderful ties which had pulled his family apart might one day pull them back together again.

This story was heartbreaking but also incredibly hopeful. It explored the power of human connections and human beings' capacity for compassion.

David Tennant did a wonderful job in giving Jamie a voice.
Profile Image for Liz Janet.
581 reviews381 followers
April 5, 2018
“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 Sunya, that is nothing like his father says, and he begins to question whether or not he can follow his father’s views.

“I stared up at the sky and raised my middle finger, just in case God was watching. I don’t like being spied on.” This child is brilliant. Jamie is a brilliant character. When he was five his sister died, but he does not mourn her, because he never truly knew her, nor does he remember her. How can his parents expect him to constantly suffer for someone who never had a chance to be a part of his family? Does he know it is okay to not feel sad over someone you don’t love? It is okay to cry for those lost, but it is also okay to not cry for those we never knew. How can his parents still think he is not “grieving right”? Apart from this he has to deal with his mother’s abandonment for someone else that “understands her,” as he is no longer part of her life. And his father’s ignorance, his fear and belief that all Muslims are evil bastards that commit terrorist acts. He battles this view since Sunya keeps befriending him.

Sunya is another brilliant character. She is too young in my opinion to wear a hijab, but she wants to, and she doesn’t let other’s opinions of this and her culture stop her bad-assery. She goes by Girl-M, her superhero name, and is very witty and kind, and ever so clever when it comes to taking revenge on the bullies. (Her hijab is an important part of the book later on, so pay attention, so sad and good I want to cry.)

The sibling relationship was one of the strongest points of the book. After their child-abandoning-mother and their alcoholic-Islamophobic-father basically abandon their children, Jas, the sister, takes care of Jamie and becomes the parent figure. Their mum could not stand Jas no longer looking like an exact replica of Rose and ran as fast as she could, then their father moves them to a small town where he is going to work, but instead spends his time drinking himself into oblivion while staring at Rose’s ashes.

“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.”

The parents also idolize Rose, to them she never did anything wrong, as if all she did no longer mattered, because she had died so tragically. It made me feel like the parents were not really in pain, but rather pretending that they were, because they did not have much to be proud of her, so they chose to ignore it, rather than see it as what it was, part of her personality. And this is not to say they did not love her, nor that they were not hurting, but that they felt somehow guilty, I din’t really remember where I am going with this, so make of it what you will.

READ IT! It is a particularly important book at this day and age.
Profile Image for MA®IBEL.
303 reviews77 followers
December 11, 2017
Me ha gustado mucho. Me ha hecho reír, llorar y pensar. Lo termino con un nudo en en el pecho y con una tímida sonrisa. Uno de los libros que más me ha llegado este año, sin duda. ❤❤
Profile Image for Lynda.
204 reviews61 followers
February 7, 2013
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!
Profile Image for Sesana.
5,008 reviews348 followers
June 19, 2014
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 death cut in his family. There are so many books and movies meant to help children grieve, and so few that tell them that it's ok if they don't feel the grief their families want them to.

It's also about friendship and loyalty, revolving largely around Jamie's friendship with the absolutely delightful Sunya. She's smart, bubbling with energy, clever, and wonderfully confident. And she's a Muslim girl who wears a hijab. This isn't a problem for Jamie so much as it is for his father. Because, as he says so often, Muslims killed his daughter. So yes, there's a thread of bigotry here, as Jamie struggles with his warring impulses to be a good son and a good friend.

But mostly, it's about a family crumbling under the strain of losing a child. Jamie's mother has left the family. His father drinks and is so caught up in his memories of his dead daughter that he can't really see his living children. Jamie's lovely sister, Jasmine, is trying so hard to give Jamie the love, support, and nurturing that he needs. But she's fifteen, and she has issues of her own. It's Jamie's bland acceptance of his family situation as is that's so heartbreaking. At one point, his father hugs him, and he somewhat proudly refers to it as the first ever hug from his father in his life. My heart felt a little more dented after that.

If you're looking for a tearful exploration of grief, you'll probably be disappointed. As for me, I was happy to find something so different, with such an achingly authentic narrator. Which is why Jamie will stick with me long after a more ordinary, more manipulative book would vanish after a few days.

While I'm here, I'll admit that this book really only ended up on my TBR because the audiobook is narrated by David Tennant. Obviously, that was a good choice because it is a great book. But it was also wonderful to hear him reading it to me. He has a very nice voice under any circumstance, and especially so when he's able to use his natural Scottish accent. I don't doubt that many Doctor Who fans will listen to this book solely to hear his voice, and I think they'll be very glad they did so.
Profile Image for Nata.
402 reviews103 followers
October 10, 2020
Despre un băiețel de 10 ani care, la un moment dat, rămâne fără una din surorile lui. Tragedie care îl costă multe întrebări și situații de neînțeles. Abandon, dor de mamă și dintr-odată, peste noapte, devine un matur într-un corp de copil.

Foarte reală povestea. Bine scrisă. Emoționantă și, totodată, dură. Mi-a fost așa milă de el, of. Bună carte, foarte bună.
Profile Image for Lisa.
639 reviews5 followers
October 8, 2011
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(the narrator) realize why his father is finding it so hard to deal with the death of his sister, Rose.

That part of the book was amazing. It's what made it a four star book in my eyes.

Also, the friendship, possibly budding first love between him and a girl named Sunya was adorable and fresh.

And finally, his relationship with his sister Jasmine(twin of Rose) was beautiful. Very beautiful. The love they have for each other was beyond sweet.

I recommend it. It dealt with some sad subjects in such a beautiful way.

Profile Image for Siv30.
2,297 reviews120 followers
November 29, 2017
"אמא שיקרה שוב. היא אמרה שעם ציונים טובים אפשר להשיג כל מה שרוצים. אבל מה שרציתי
היה שהיא תהיה בערב הורים, והיא לא היתה."

ג'יימי בן ה 10 עובר עם אחותו ג'ס ואביו למנצ'סטר. אחותו רוז נהרגה בפיגוע של קיצונים מוסלמים בלונדון וכל מה שנותר ממנה הוא אפר בכד מוזהב על מדף בסלון. אביו שוקע במצולות המרה השחורה ואימו נוטשת אותם כדי לחיות עם גבר אחר -נייג'ל -חבר בקבוצת תמיכה.

ג'יימי בן ה 10 מתמודד עם שורת אכזבות, מצוקות, חלומות ומאבקים למצב את עצמו בחברה ובמציאות אותה הוא לא תמיד מבין עד הסוף. לצידו עומדת סוניה, ילדה פקיסטנית עוטה חיג'ב שבאומץ בלתי יתואר עוזרת לו להתמודד עם המציאות הלא פשוטה בה הוא חי.

ג'יימי נקרע בין אהבתו לסוניה ובין נאמנותו לאביו שרוב הזמן שיכור. אביו שמסרב לראות שיש גם מוסלמים אחרים.

ג'יימי גם מסרב להשלים עם הנטישה של אמו וכשהוא מקבל חולצת ספיידרמן ליום הולדתו הוא מסרב להוריד אותה במשך שבועות רבים אבל בה ובנעלים הקטנות מידי שקיבל ליום הולדתו הוא מוביל את הנבחרת של בית ספרו לניצחון.

זה ספר עצוב, מעצבן וכואב שמסופר בקולו של ג'יימי על משפחה דיספונקציונלית, על אם גועלית שנטשה את ילדיה, על אומץ, חברות אמת ועל אהבת אחים אמיתית. זה סיפור על התמודדות והקושי להתמודד במקום לברוח. ראיתי במקומות מסויימים שהוא מוגדר ספר לילדים, לדעתי ממש לא!

גם אם הסאב טקסט של הספר עוסק באומץ וחברות והתמודדות עם אובדן ואכזבה, וגם אם בסופו של דבר המשפחה הדיספונקציונלית הזו מקבל "מספיק" וזה בסדר מבחינת ג'יימי, ספר שהטקסט הישיר שלו עוסק בנטישה, אכזבה ובגידה של האם בילדים שלה, ועוסק באב אלכוהליסט הוא לדעתי לא ספר לילדים.
Profile Image for Stephanie (Stepping Out Of The Page).
465 reviews222 followers
August 7, 2011
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 and the humour was wonderful. This novel is all about seeing problems and prejudices through a childs eyes and in this, it succeeds. A rather simple yet effective book.
Profile Image for Olivia-Savannah .
643 reviews453 followers
March 27, 2019
I don't usually read MG. I don't usually love a book I decide to randomly pick up so much. But this book, is so so relevant even though it is now a backlist title.

- I loved that all of the characters have their complexities and issues they need to work through.
- I love Jamie, the main character. Such a honest, true voice like a child would have.
- That title is very clever and admittedly I picked it up for that title.
- The morals and messages in this story of forgiveness, friendship and family... as well as pain and heartbreak are so striking.
- Annabel Pitcher has definitely woven this story well and carefully, and her writing shines.

It's a recommend from me!
Profile Image for Melindaaaa.
568 reviews36 followers
May 27, 2018
Atmosférou mi to připomínalo mého milého (Ne)obyčejného kluka. Hrozně kouzelný, závažný, silný, důležitý a skvěle zpracovaný. Oproti Kečupovým mračnům neskutečnej posun, kam se na tohle hrabou. Neoplakala jsem to, ale dovedu si představit, že to někoho může pekelně potrápit a dojmout. Překvápko roku ♥ Nevím, proč jsem tak dlouho váhala s přečtením.
95 %
Profile Image for Vojtěch.
864 reviews132 followers
November 19, 2017
Lidi... Tahle kniha není dokonalá. Není to ani bestseller. Ale víte co? Je úžasná svým jedinečným způsobem (a taky mnohem lepší než Kečupová mračna, věřte mi). Čekal jsem průměrné a oddechové vypr��vění, místo toho jsem dostal něco, co mě uhranulo a vyrazilo mi dech. Možná je to právě tím, jak je příběh přímočarý a že si na nic nehraje. Nebo je to zkrátka tím, že vám Jamie jako správný mladý hrdina sedne. Nekompromisně boží.
Profile Image for Marie the Librarian.
1,352 reviews225 followers
September 20, 2017
Well this was a surprising and bittersweet read. Jamie is precious and my heart aches for him. Sunya is amazing I love her. Jas is also pretty darn great and their parents are buttheads.
Profile Image for Adrian Biháry.
Author 0 books51 followers
October 2, 2017
Áno, je veľká pravda, že táto kniha nie je megagigadokonalá. Ale čo koho do toho? Pre mňa osobne sú najlepšie knihy také, kde si zamilujete postavy a ste rozhodnutí ísť s nimi na koniec sveta. Prežívate s nimi všetko, čo oni a vnímate svet ich očami, ste odhodlaní za ne bojovať. To preto som dal Súboji kráľov jednu hviezdu, pretože aj napriek tomu, že štýl Martina je skvelý a jeho svet nemá najmenšej chybičky, postavy so mnou nič nerobili, nič mi nehovorili a bolo mi úplne jedno, či ich Martin v danej kapitole odbachne.
Ale táto kniha mala postavy, ktoré som si ja osobne neskutočne zamiloval a to je dôvod, prečo má kniha odo mňa takmer plný počet hviezd. Jamie bol skvelým a bystrým rozprávačom, jeho vety vo mne vyvolávali smiech aj smútok naraz, a to všetko som cítil intenzívne, pretože to tak cítil aj on. Jeho sestra bola super a taktiež sa mi páčila tá celková zmes myšlienok ako napríklad predsudky, čo je smrť a čo život, individualita a podobné veci, ktoré sú už v ya lit toľko omieľané, ale v tejto knihe bolo všetko podané originálne.
Určite si od autorky prečítam ďalšie knihy. Priznám sa, absolútne som nečakal, že sa mi to bude tak páčiť.
October 7, 2019

3.5/5 Stars

...That's my rating if you consider everything. The plot and the writing and all of that stuff about which I care about when rating a book. Let's imagine, however, that my rating was only based on the range and depth of emotions this book made me feel. Then it would easily be a 10/5 stars read.

This is a simple and complicated story at the same time. For example, it's interesting to me that the main cause for a lot of the characters' actions throughout the story actually took place before the events described in the novel, it being the death of Jamie's sister Rose, who was killed in a terrorist attack five years before. We get to see how Jamie's life has been marked from nearly the beginning by the death of a person he can barely even remember, for he was only five years old when it happened. We get to see how helpless and puzzled he feels about his parents being more preoccupied with someone who's gone than with him and his older sister Jas, who are still there.

Jamie's mixed feelings about Rose stroke me as very authentic, and I loved how his relationship with his dead sister is a strong character development point for our little hero. The evolution of Jamie's relationships with people close to him are very well done in general, even if sometimes the outcome wasn't what he (or us readers) would have expected. My favorite relationship of Jamie's has to be the one he shares with his older sister Jas, who is also a brilliant character in her own right. Their interactions are both heartwarming and honest, and it's delighting to see how through the ups and downs they could be sure they had each other's back. That was something beautiful and powerful which really got to me.

I won't write more about the important relationships in the books, because to me, a huge part of the story's magic relies on seeing them bloom for yourself. I quite liked how the author depicted most of the adult as well as the kids as complex characters, and how they interacted with each other. However, I wasn't a fan of the parts that took place at school because they featured some pretty horrible characters, but I think Sunya's presence made up for it.

Now Sunya, who's Jamie's best friend from school, is a Muslim girl with a great imagination who made me smile nearly every time she appeared. At first she stroke me as unrealistically kind and passionate, but as the story progresses we get to see how she's a real little girl with real feelings who's just trying to be her best self. She's definitely a character I would have loved to read about when I was a kid.

Jamie's realationship with his parents is incredibly important in the book, and i really don't know how to talk about it without giving a lot away. It certainly contributes to the feeling of helplessness that lingers throughout the whole narrative, and makes you ponder about just how important family bonds are when you're Jamie's age.

There were parts when I couldn't stop reading and others that I felt were not so well achieved, but as a whole this book is so good and important. While it does feel like a huge lesson, it neither feels like one adults are trying to teach kids, nor one kids are trying to teach adults. It is a lesson about understanding and empathy and compassion and letting go, which are things that come in handy at any age. It has several powerful quotes that both broke and changed me, and I'm glad I got to go on this short but big journey with these wonderful characters.

One last thing, the parts with Jamie and his fish from the pond were really moving and the imagery was simply beautiful. One of the simplest aspects of the book yet one of my favorites.
Profile Image for Laura.
2,614 reviews79 followers
February 15, 2016
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 that one should follow to teach children about how to accept death.

This book is not one of those books, while it is. This book is about a ten-year-old boy who, when he was five, witnesses one of his twin 10-year-old sisters being blown up by a terrorist bomb. It is random, though attributed to a Muslim terrorist group, and so his father hates all Muslims.

The story picks up five years later. And while, yes, it about dealing with grief from a death, it is also about moving to a new school, and being the odd one out. It is also having to deal with human beings, who also happen to be parents, and how they deal with their grief.

But don't think this is a downer, though it did have me crying at one part. The voice of Jamie is so real, and so natural and so funny it kept be going, as was his friend Sunya, who knows that she is also the odd one out, as well, because she is Muslim and wears a hijab, in very white, Christian school.

In one scene he visits Sunya at home, and he notes:
...when I walked past her parents' bedroom on the way to the loo, there weren't any signs of bombs...
(as his father has told him all Muslims build bombs).

And this line, which reminds me of Lilo and Stitch (which also made me cry by the way), the part where Stitch "This is my family. I found it, all on my own. It's little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good.", but in this case Jamie says:
If Ofsted inspected my family then I know what grade we'd get. Satisfactory. Okay, but not brilliant. But that is fine by me.

Profile Image for Vendea.
1,466 reviews159 followers
October 6, 2017
Úplně nevím, co si o téhle knize myslet. Kečupová mračna se mi moc líbila, takže jsem se na Sestru docela těšila. Anotaci jsem nečetla, takže jsem pak byla poměrně překvapená... Příběh je to určitě silný, místy mi z některých postav (třeba Jamieho otec) bylo až zle. Nic to nemění na tom, že jsem začala nenávidět Rose... a ne, bylo mi fuk, že je mrtvá. Je fajn, že tam byl i ten rasismus... Pro mě nejsilnější zážitek? Konec -

Profile Image for Endlessbibliophile.
1,012 reviews472 followers
January 7, 2018
Jo, jo, jo!
Annabel Pitcher mám fakt ráda, moc.
Tahle knížka mě dostala stejně jako Kečupová mračna, nebo spíš ještě víc.

Perspektiva desetiletého kluka je místy těžko pochopitelná, ale věrohodná.
Autorka se citlivě dotýká spousty témat (alkoholismus, anorexie, rozvod, šikana, rasismus...) a zpracovává je vážně dobře. Jen mi vadilo, že zvlášť hlavní hrdina občas některé z nich ignoroval.

Jednoznačně 4,5/5*, ale plný počet dát nemůžu, i když mi to vehnalo slzy do očí.
P.S.Ty tlapky na stránkách :3

Celá recenze: https://marky-books.blogspot.cz/2018/...
Profile Image for Mary Rose.
222 reviews71 followers
August 14, 2015
Después de leer este libro me dan ganas de abrazar a Jaime, a Sunya, a Jas, a Leo e incluso al señor Matthews, que en ocasiones me dieron ganas de gritarle, sacudirlo y que de una puñetera vez reaccionase al ver como trataba en ocasiones a sus hijos... Pero no lo puedo culparlo y reprocharlo del todo cuando aún recuerda con dolor a Rose y no asume la perdida, especialmente bajo las circunstancias en que murió su hija.
A través de Jaime nos cuenta como es su vida junto con una familia destructurada, de su día a día en su nueva escuela, su esperanza de volver a ver su madre mientras todos los días se pone su camisa de Spiderman y de su amistad con Sunya. Es difícil no querer a Jaime. Su voz es tan fuerte que siempre he terminado poniéndome de su parte y querer ver todo desde su punto de vista. Aunque hay que reconocer que una vez en nuestras vidas hemos vivido desde ese punto de vista cuando eramos muy chicos.
La verdad no me esperaba encontrar un libro realmente bueno y que me conmoviera muchísimo.
Profile Image for Takoneando entre libros.
614 reviews72 followers
May 14, 2019
He reído, he llorado, me he emocionado muchísimo con esta historia.
Dura, muy dura, pero estar narrada bajo la voz de un niño hace que esa ingenuidad le reste crudeza (o puede que esa misma voz infantil lo haga más emotivo).
Un libro de perdones. De perdones en todos los aspectos. Y un libro de convivencia, también de convivencia en todos los aspectos. A veces resulta más difícil convivir con nuestros propios demonios que con los del vecino.
Una grandisima historia
Profile Image for Ssanp.
71 reviews10 followers
May 3, 2018
Es un libro para adolescentes y creo que pueden aprovecharlo bien, en cuanto a mi es una pérdida de tiempo. No lo recomendaría.
Profile Image for Mollyvknize.
169 reviews353 followers
December 2, 2017
Uff...tak tohle bylo hodně depresivní čtení. Alespoň pro mě. Bylo to tak smutné, že se mi do té knihy chvílemi ani nechtělo. Kniha má svůj příběh a poselství. Pokud máte chuť na něco smutného a melancholického. Sáhněte po Moje sestra žije na krbové římse a čtěte o tématech jako ztráta dítěte, otec alkoholik, šikana ve škole a smrt. Já jsem asi ve fázi, kdy jsem to úplně nedávala.
Profile Image for María.
159 reviews178 followers
February 12, 2013
Algunos ya sabéis que me aburren un taco esas novelas que no tienen diálogos, en las que los personajes apenas interactuan entre ellos en primera persona, bien, pues este no tiene "diálogos", y lo pongo entre comillas porque hay algo, pero relatado desde el punto de vista de Jamie. Es como si el protagonista nos escribiese una carta citando lo que dice cada persona pero sin ponerlo como un diálogo fluido si no más bien "mi hermana dijo" o "mi padre dijo" y quizá haya sido eso lo que para mi punto de vista, le quita mucha puntuación al libro.

Por otro lado, la historia es más que maravillosa. Jamie es un niño a cuya hermana mataron en un atentado en Londres un 9 de septiembre, y desde entonces su padre no puede recuperarse de ese gran palo que le ha dado la vida. Desde entonces, conviven con una urna donde se encuentran las cenizas de su hermana, o al menos de parte de ella.

Nos encontramos con un padre abatido hasta el punto de abandonar a sus otros dos hijos pensando solo en su hija muerta. Eso a mi me causa cierto rechazo, porque considero de un egoísmo extremo esa actitud. El pobre Jamie intenta recuperar a su familia, ya rota por el suceso del 9 de septiembre, pero ¿lo conseguirá? Jamie aprenderá una lección muy dura de la vida.

El niño es una ternura y creo que es la representación más fiel sobre un niño real que he visto en mi vida. He leído últimamente muchos libros donde aparecen niños, pero Jamie ha sido para mi parecer el más real con diferencia; no entiende las preocupaciones ni las acciones de los mayores, se deja guiar por sus impulsos, desobedece a los mayores, le va bien y mal en el colegio. Él no entiende que su padre está siempre borracho y que su madre no vaya a verlo. Tiene su apoyo en su gato Roger y su hermana Jas y esos han sido los grandes alicientes para que termine de leerlos.

Otro personaje que también merece la pena es la hermana de Jamie, Jasmine, una chica que para su edad me parece muy madura, todo consecuencia de lo que le ha deparado la vida. Intenta proteger a su hermano y lucha con su padre y contra su actitud con ellos.

Tengo que decir que es una de las novelas de ficción realista -contradicción en su estado puro- que más me ha gustado, pero que a su vez, no me ha gustado tanto. Es algo que aunque quisiera, creo que no podría explicarlo.

Tras el viaje a Manchester al concurso de talentos que bien nos recuerdan a "Britains Got Talent", algo hará que a Jamie se le abran los ojos y vea la vida en su más cruel faceta.

¿He llorado con este libro? Al principio pensé que todos esos comentarios que decían que habían llorado y tal eran una exageración, pero anoche comprobé con mis propios ojos -y nunca mejor dicho- que llevaban toda la razón.

Es un libro para aquellas personas que les gusten las historias duras y entrañables contadas desde un punto de vista inocente.
Profile Image for Tiff.
568 reviews539 followers
November 15, 2012
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 daughter, and his mother left them to be with a guy from her support group. With no work in London, Jamie's father moves them to the Lake District, where he hopes to get work and be able to get away from things, But as soon as they get there, Rose's urn gets put right back on the mantelpiece, and Jamie knows things will be exactly the same.

So what does he do? He befriends the one person he's not supposed to befriend, a Muslim girl named Sunya. And he tries to find a way to fix his family by holding out hope that his mum will come back, and doing his best in school. Problem is, he's being bullied at school, his teacher doesn't really like him, and his dad can't get his act together.

The brilliance of this book is in the voice of Jamie, who narrates everything in with the gorgeous innocence of someone who doesn't really understand tragedy. He doesn't remember Rose, and he doesn't really miss her because of that. All he knows is that his family can't cope, and his dad pays more attention to the memory of Rose than he does to Jamie or Jas.

This is an incredibly sad story, but it's not depressing. Through Jamie's innocence, we still get a lot of light and humour in the darkness, particularly with Sunya, who is pretty much the coolest, most clever kid ever. At times, I felt frustrated (as I should have), because I wanted so badly for Jamie's parents to get their acts together and realize what amazing kids they had, and how they needed to keep living for them, but I don't think it could have worked any other way. The strenght of this story is in its realism and Pitcher's understanding that things aren't going to magically get worked out.

I know this review doesn't say that much, but honestly, I don't want to spoil it. The back half of the story is so beautiful and emotional, and the climax so heart-wrenching that I can't even talk about it - although animal-lovers should beware.

It's not perfect, but MY SISTER LIVES ON THE MANTELPIECE is a definite middle-grade winner.
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