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My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece [Hardcover]

Annabel Pitcher
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

1 Mar 2011

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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Product details

Read a sample chapter [PDF]
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Childrens; First edition (1 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444001833
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444001839
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 197,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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.

Product Description


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)

Book Description

Narrated by ten year old Jamie, a stunning debut novel about the tragedy that tears apart his family after a terrorist attack, and how they rebuild their lives.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-felt, Heart-rending story 27 April 2011
Format:Audio CD
This is a story of how a family copes with tragedy. But told through the eyes of a 10 year old boy who finds himself in a new school with parents emotionally unavailable due to their own struggles to cope with the death of their daughter. The book is funny, sad, and inspirational, often at the same moments. Details in the book add to its realistic tone. Although written for children, I enjoyed this book as an adult as it dealt with themes of resilience and prejudice. The book is beautifully read by David Tennant whose voice conveys the heartbreak and isolation this young man feels but also the humor, friendship, and spirit that keep him going.
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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! 6 Feb 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is brilliant!!! It's the story of ten year old Jamie, whose family is fractured due to a terrible event that happened five years earlier, when his sister Rose was blown up by a bomb.

Jamie is a wonderful character. The book is written in the first person, and what Jamie tells us, the readers, is unintentionally funny as he takes things quite literally. But you can also feel his bewilderment and pain at what has happened to his family. He doesn't remember Rose and he doesn't understand why she seems to be all that matters to his parents, rather than him and his other sister Jas. He's also trying to fit into a new school in the Lake District, where he meets a girl who he knows he shouldn't be friends with, and incurs the wrath of the school bully.

Unusually for me, I knew as soon as I started reading this book that I would love it. It's totally uncompromising, and Jamie is quite blunt about what happened to Rose, as kids often are. It kept my interest from start to finish and I loved picking it up to read it.

This is one of the best young adult novels I have read, and it is definitely a book that adults can read and enjoy too. I look forward to seeing what Annabel Pitcher does next, as she is an author to watch in the future.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't wait for more 9 May 2011
This is a brilliant, beautiful, funny, real, tender, engaging and wonderful book. On the one hand, an important and current story that reflects on some of today's biggest political issues - and on the other, this is simply a gripping, moving and beautifully written book. Just as Emma Donoghue did with Room, Annabel Pitcher has managed to get inside the head of a young boy who is experiencing events way beyond his understanding, and by drawing the reader into his world, she makes us take a fresh and insightful look not only at the events of the book itself, but at the world around us. Jamie is adorable and his story will move you in every way. I can't wait to read more from this brilliant new author!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Brilliant!!! 25 Feb 2011
Just finished the book in one night, absolutely brilliant! I cried and cried which is not like me and at the same time this book doesn`t leave you in the dark mood after you turn the last page but there is hope to it! I am an avid reader both in English and Russian but I didn`t experience such an emotional rollercoster for a long tme! I don`t get carried away easliy but this was something special! Well done Annabel, it`s a fabulous debut and can`t wait for your next novel! 10/10!!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
What a lovely book this is! Quite unchallenged as one of the best books I've read in months, years! I was only going to take a look at the beginning and then get on with my busy day, but couldn't give it up so I sat down and read the whole book in one go. And I cried too!

Buy a copy. You'll love it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Alison: [...]

Five years ago Rose died. One moment that tore Jamie's family apart. Now his Mum has left them, his Dad is an alcoholic and the only person there for him is his sister Jas, who was Rose's twin. But nobody understands why he doesn't cry for Rose, why he doesn't miss her, because they remember her and he doesn't, he was too young when she died. Now they have moved to the Lake District for a new start, to make things better, only it doesn't seem to be working. Jamie still has deal with school bullies and his mother's indifference. And just how does he explain to his father that his only friend is a Muslim, especially after Islamic terrorists killed his sister.

People have been telling me that I should read this book for months, that it is a heartbreaking, moving story that just deserves to be read. Yet I'd been putting it off because I hated the cover. Yep that's right, me, a school librarian that tells kids daily that they shouldn't judge a book by a cover was put off by a cover. I was so relieved when the Carnegie books were delivered and I found that they had changed the cover for the paperback. One I could get excited about reading it now and two the cover actually matches the story that I'd been told about.

And the story. I'm beginning to wonder if the Carnegie judges have shares in Kleenex this year as this is yet another shortlisted book that can't help but move you to tears. I keep wondering if all the Year 7's shadowing the Awards will give up due to the bleakness of some of the books but they are just so well written that they keep coming back for more. This is no exception. The book is written from Jamie's point of view and by the end you feel as though you know him inside out.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read
Brilliant book. Told by the 10 year old main character as he tries to find his way through life with a dead sister and alcoholic father, it is a touching and often funny read. Read more
Published 7 days ago by L
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Crafted
The novel is a stunning example of the ways in which a child's view on the world (in all his misunderstandings) can craft a wonderful story. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Victor
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly fabulous!
"My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece" is a fabulous title for an equally fabulous book. The main character is ten-year old Jamie who is struggling through life due to the... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Laura Besley
5.0 out of 5 stars an enchanting, engaging read.
A charming and funny insight to the life of a young boy whose sister has died. Even though this is a children's book I thoroughly enjoyed it. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Brill
Really enjoyed this book. Easy to read, emotive, this book will make you smile and bring a tear to your eye.
Published 18 days ago by Kel A
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching, heartbreaking, with a twist of humour. You will laugh & cry.
A heart-breaking story about a family who are dealing with the horrific loss of a sister/daughter. The book is not centred around the death of Rose, but of the struggles they face... Read more
Published 19 days ago by Abi22
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it.
A beautiful, sad and inspiring story, an eye opening book. I could not put it down, highly recommended especially for parents who think only of themselves, and forget they have... Read more
Published 23 days ago by maggie
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Absolutely amazing funny sad and all the things people love in a book a must read for all ages from child to adult all will enjoy
Published 28 days ago by Livvy
5.0 out of 5 stars 5*
I have never ever cried at a book before. This was a first. Thank you to my lovely patient for recommending it!
Published 1 month ago by sarahlouiseblackwood
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
Well written, really thought about view point of the child. Tricky subject - terrorism touched on but carefully done. Great read!
Published 1 month ago by AlicePalace
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