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My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  12,365 ratings  ·  1,571 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
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 1st 2013 by Indigo (first published March 1st 2011)
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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 ja…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)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  12,365 ratings  ·  1,571 reviews


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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
...more
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
Kathleen
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 blam
...more
Darlene
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
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
...more
Liz Janet
“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
...more
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
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!
Lisa
Oct 07, 2011 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
...more
Stephanie Forster
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
Olivia-Savannah  Roach
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
...more
Laura
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
...more
Lianne - Literary Diversions
I cannot remember the last time a book made me cry like this. Ugh. All the feels.
Marie the Librarian
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.
Amanda Stephany (mandsandherbooks)
SPOILER FREE REVIEW

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 ac
...more
Bethany Piggott
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book
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
...more
haley
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
...more
Lia
Feb 19, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
What can I say about this book?

The boy Jamie is the only developed character, and that isn't saying much. The parents are too extreme in their acting out; they lacked zero emotional maturity. There's no attempts to tackle the reality of grief without descending into archetypes. Also, there was a profound lack of continuity in the story arch; the father drinks all day and doesn't work, yet there's no mention of food running out, or bills going unpaid, or the lights going out!

The twin, Jas is no
...more
Michelle
Feb 08, 2013 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
...more
Kathleen
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is positively the most heartbreaking and emotional book I have ever read. I was sad. I was delighted. I laughed. I felt sad and broken. I cried. I sobbed. I felt everything. All the emotions - they are in this book. Filled with sad, broken people who can't reach outside their grief - it's heartbreaking. The audiobook is beautifully narrated by David Tennant and has this gorgeous, sort of naïve, bit of music that floats in between chapters. I highly recommend it. I'd like to listen to it aga ...more
Lily
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
...more
Emma
Mar 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
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
...more
Rita
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
...more
Beth Bonini
Jun 21, 2014 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
...more
Cherie
Aug 08, 2014 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!
Sheida
Jun 10, 2015 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.
Jana
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable and certainly important read.
Calzean
Five years after the city-wide terrorist bombing attacks in London, one family of a victim continues to deal with the consequences. The family is a victim also with mum leaving for another man, the father sunk in booze, the dead girl's 15 year old twin going Goth and the 10 year old narrator facing a new school, confusion in choices to be made and massive bullying.
The author has done a brilliant job in producing a 10 year old awkward boy with red hair, zero friends, little sporting prowess and f
...more
Rona
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
...more
Teresa
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 all
...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.

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