My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

Book rating: 03 Hardback

By (author) Annabel Pitcher

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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.

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Author information

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.

Customer reviews

By Stephanie Forster (Stepping out of the Page) 05 Nov 2011 3

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.

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I loved this book because it is one of the few books that have made me cry. Yet it still has an uplifting theme of hope which carries you through the sad moments. I couldn't put this book down but not because it is action packed, not because it is frightening and not because it's exciting just because you can't stop reading until you know Jamie will be OK. -- Rosie, age 13 READING ZONE (cont) Another thing I love is how contemporary issues such as racism, divorce and terrorism are explored through the eyes of a family Affected by all of them. A really great book and I can't wait for the next book by this new writer. -- Rosie, age 13 READING ZONE I think that the book is very interestINg because it shows how some people cope, or fail to cope with difficult situations... this book stirs up the emotions we face when challenged by split loyalties betweens friends and families. -- James, age 12 I thought the plot was really clever. I like the way that the plot was based around true events that occured... also it is based on things that happen in life in this age... -- Ruhaan, age 12 it is fantastic. Sad but fantastic - I loved it! -- Tonicha, age 12 READING ZONE This is a remarkable debut about a boy whose home life is blighted by a tragedy that breaks up his family. How the author, Annabel Pitcher, manages to confront so many issues including divorce, bullying and alcoholism - and keep us reading - is a tribute to the warmth, insight and gentle humour within its pages. I loved the characters she develops, the relationships she builds, and the pace and completeness of the novel. She is definitely one to watch. -- Caroline Horn THE BOOKSELLER A compelling and courageous novel. Jenny Downham, author of BEFORE I DIE If there was a book to redefine the phrase 'emotional rollercoaster' it's this one... There are a few things we love about this book which don't include the fact that it'll make you cry out loud. Because this is not your bog standard weepy. All the characters come bouncing to life and you learn to like them (sort of) despite their flaws and the mistakes they make. Secondly, it might be tragic, but really, it's about hope and bravery and believe it or not it's pretty funny too. SUGARSCAPE.COM Begin reading this book and you'll be utterly mesmerised by the voice of a ten year old boy... MY SISTER LIVES ON THE MANTELPIECE will bring both laughter and tears to the reader, both young and old... a debut novel from an author with a bright future. LOVEREADING4KIDS This is a corker of a children's/ YA novel as it examines grief and how it can tear families apart... This novel will make you laugh and cry - Jamie is one of the most credible child narrators I have ever encountered and you feel drawn right into his world - warts and all. LOVELY TREEZ READS Brilliantly observed and packing a huge emotional punch, this impressive debut manages to be heartbreaking, poignant and hilariously funny, and quite unputdownable. -- Fiona Noble THE BOOKSELLER Begin reading this book and you'll be utterly mesmerised by the voice of a 10 year old boy whose family have quite frankly gone AWOL since one of his twin sisters was blown up by a terrorist bomb 5 years before. Narrated by the boy... [it] will bring both laughter and tears to the reader, both young and old but don't be put off by the main protagonist being only 10. This is definitely a book for boys and girls aged 11+ and is a debut novel from an author with a bright future." LOVEREADING4KIDS This heart-wrenching book is one of a kind and not to be missed... in my view GENIUS -- 'Wookie' GUARDIAN CHILDREN'S BOOKS: FIRST LOOK BOOK CLUB This book oversteps the boundaries of "really good" and crosses into the section marked "favourites" -- 'Peace_love_books' GUARDIAN CHILDREN'S BOOKS: FIRST LOOK BOOK CLUB The strength of the book is its ability to make moments of extreme emotion seem humourous when viewed in a different light. Verdict: tricky subject well handled with comedy gold moments -- Thomas Murphy FLIPSIDE MAGAZINE A compulsive read ABC MAGAZINE ...a book full of hope. It is sure to resonate with its readers for a long time. -- Lucy Thompson, Waterstones Winchester WATERSTONES BOOKS QUARTERLY My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece is one of the best debut novels to come out of England for a long time. In fact, it's so well written you wouldn't think it was Annabel Pitcher's first book. She's extremely accomplished in her writing and storytelling and she's managed to make every character real and three-dimensional. There wasn't a single moment where I doubted... When you read a book and that happens, you know you've found something special. -- Jenny Davies WONDROUS READS It's a powerful novel that breaks down emotional human reaction brilliantly... Annabel Pitcher has penned a novel that can be consumed within a day and be thought about forever. LIBRI POPULUS This funny, tender, uplifting and, at times, angry book will have wide appeal THE SCHOOL LIBRARIAN This appealing story explores tolerance and intolerance, and ways of grieving and loving. -- Nicolette Jones THE SUNDAY TIMES This book is real. Real life, raw and gritty, not sugar coated to make it easier to digest... This book will really stir up your emotions, leaving you crying your eyes out by the end... This is a book that should be read by adults as well as children. Just be prepared for your emotions to take a battering. SERENDIPITY BLOG The strength of the book is its ability to make moments of extreme emotion seem humorous when viewed in a different light. Tricky suibject handled well, with comedy gold moments. FLIPSIDE It's funny. It's truthful. It lives off the page. It has a warmth you can bask in; an honesty you can cut with a knife... This is one of those stories which has elements that will stay with me for good. Clear your shelf for the awards, Annabel Pitcher. The rest of you? I urge you to get your hands on a copy. -- Philip Ardagh THE GUARDIAN