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My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece [Paperback]

Annabel Pitcher
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)

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Book Description

29 Sep 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

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Indigo (29 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780620292
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780620299
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 204,019 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


This is a warm-hearted, funny tale which will by turns make your spirit soar and your heart break... Painfully honest and beautifully written, you'll devour it - and hopefully be left looking at the world a little differently. (COSMOPOLITAN) was so moving, sad and yet ultimately uplifting in a way I can't possibly describe to you. It's just something you simply have to read for yourself. (MAGIC OF READING)

This is a book which could easily have sunk under the weight of sentimentality. That it doesn't, that it is an inspiring tale of resilience and kindness, is a tribute to Pitcher. This is a fine debut novel. Truthful, clear-eyed and wise. (Martin Chilton THE TELEGRAPH)

Tackling current issues, this debut is brave and significant. (DAILY EXPRESS)

You know how, every once in a while, you find a book that you know will become a class reader, found in every book cupboard, on every reading list? Well, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece is just one of those books. It is a stunning, special read. (NATE CLASSROOM)

Heartbreaking and funny in near equal measure the story of 10-year-old Jamie's direct and wide-eyed telling of the emotional chaos he and his family live through following the death of his sister in a terrorist attack is poignant and warm hearted. Emotionally charged, this is a wonderful, touching story that never slips into worthiness. (THE OBSERVER)

I can't imagine you could read this novel and remain dry-eyed ro fail to clutch it tightly, desperate to know what happens next but almost unable to turn the page to fund out in case it's not what you hoped it would be. (CORNFLOWER BOOKS)

I loved this book! Jamie was a fantastic narrator and I felt I understood his complex problems entirely (FARM LANE BOOKS)

the story is told with warmth and humour. A tear-jerker, but without sentimentality. (THE INDEPENDENT)

The stand out title of the year, a heart-warming tale of a young boy whose elder sister has been killed in a bomb attack in London. Despite the dramatic premise, this book manages to be both solidly realistic and very funny. An exceptional debut. (Suzi Feay FINANCIAL TIMES)

... at time funny, at times unbearably sad and is at all times brutally honest. It is one tale that cannot and will not leave you unmoved, and is a truly convincing debut novel. (LIBRARY MICE)

an original, warm and subtle exploration of grief... A complex beautifully drawn story infused with dry wit. (Viv Groskop THE OBSERVER)

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
21 of 21 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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7 of 7 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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22 of 23 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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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! 6 Feb 2011
By Nicola in South Yorkshire TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
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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8 of 8 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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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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars All very annoying and put me off the story
Thought it was a decent enough storyline; however, the edition I was sent was American so, despite the events taking place in the Lake District, the boy wore 'cleats' (football... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Karyn O'Hare
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it
A great book with amazing descriptions, a definite must read. I got really hooked and emotionally attached to the characters, I couldn't stop reading. šY~ŠšY"sšY"-
Published 14 days ago by Clip-clop
5.0 out of 5 stars A really moving book
I loved this book and cried my eyes out from 80% on! The narrator is absolutely loveable and my heart broke for him over and over again. His voice is very cleverly written. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Jen Balchin
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and awe-inspiring, a book with a fresh voice ...
Unique and awe-inspiring, a book with a fresh voice and a story that asks deep questions through the innocent voice of a ten year old. Perfection.
Published 1 month ago by Ms Nicola Caswell
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely moving with moments of comic brilliance
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece is the touching story of a family recovering from extreme tragedy. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rosen Trevithick
5.0 out of 5 stars This book was purchased for my 10 year old grandson ...
This book was purchased for my 10 year old grandson. He found the start quite
slow but after about 25 pages, he was hooked. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs Sandra Gee
5.0 out of 5 stars sad
It was sad i didnt like that the family dont get along but they eventuly do get along nicely.
There was a bit of love there to
Published 2 months ago by aloysius henryanto
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING!
My daughters review:
My Sister Lives On The Mantlepiece is set five years after the 9/11 bombings and is told in the perspective of ten year old Jamie, whose sister sadly died... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Lisa
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange book which I did struggle with but you must ...
Strange book which I did struggle with but you must keep going. Be warned there are some real tear jerking moments . However it is a.fntastic book
Published 2 months ago by Kathie Palin
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This book is so different to any other that I have read, at first I really wasn't interested in it. But, once I properly started I couldn't stop. Truly amazing book
Published 3 months ago by Tech Kit
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