My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece – Annabel Pitcher

Ten-year-old Jamie hasn’t cried since it happened. He knows he should have – Jasmine cried, Mum
cried, Dad still cries. Roger didn’t, but then he is just a cat and didn’t know Rose that well, really.
Everyone kept saying it would get better with time, but that’s just one of those lies that grown-ups
tell in awkward situations. Five years on, it’s worse than ever: dad drinks, Mum’s gone and Jamie’s
left with questions that he must answer for himself.
This is his story, an unflinchingly real yet heart-warming account of a young boy’s struggle to make
sense of the loss that tore his family apart.


39 thoughts on “My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece – Annabel Pitcher

  1. Ten year old Jamie hasn’t cried since the tragedy occurred, the tragedy that turned his dad into a wreck. Jamie didn’t really know Rose that well as he was so young when she died so why should he grieve for her?
    I found this book rather depressing. There were hardly any happy moments and the author seems to have matched the events with the atmosphere very well. Having said that, the funny bits that take place at school were brilliant and make me smile whenever I think of the book.
    I thought that sometimes the characters behaved out of character, not like I thought they would in some situations. I, personally, hated the dad. I couldn’t feel sorry for him and I thought he was selfish and aggressive.
    I thought this was a good book but it was too depressing for me to say that I really enjoyed it.

  2. This story is told by Jamie. When he was five, his sister was blown up by a Muslim terrorist bomb. Now he is ten, he can hardly remember her but she still has a big effect on his life.
    They have moved to the Lake District to make a new start and Jamie is hoping that life will get better – his mum will come home and his dad will stop drinking and get round to sprinkling Rose’s ashes on the sea, something he can’t face.
    Jamie soon realises that nothing has changed. Then on his first day at his new school, he has to sit next to a Muslim girl in a headscarf. He doesn’t know what to think. Eventually, Sunya and Jamie make friends and support each other against the class bully but what will happen if his dad discovers that he’s hanging around with a Muslim?

    An intriguing novel that had me hooked from the very first sentence. The characters are so real that it felt like a true story. I’m looking forward to more books by this author.

  3. I did enjoy this book but I found it hard to believe some of the things that are described and this spoilt it a bit.
    Jamie’s family has been torn apart. His dad drinks to forget and his mum has left them – all because his older sister has been killed. Eventually, Jamie and his dad and remaining sister Jaz move to the Lake District to make a fresh start and Jamie is left to work out why this tragic incident has torn the family apart.
    The story was good but some of the scenes, like the nativity episode, weren’t believable. I just don’t believe Sunya would have had the nerve to do that and I couldn’t believe in the class teacher at all. I also thought that the book had too many sad notes.

  4. Halfway through, I started laughing out loud and then I quickly looked back because I thought perhaps I should be crying. It’s that sort of book.

  5. An intriguing novel that had me hooked from the very first sentence. The characters are so real that it felt like a true story. I’m looking forward to more books by this author.

  6. The funny bits that take place at school were brilliant and make me smile whenever I think of the book. I thought this was a good book but it was too depressing for me to say that I really enjoyed it.

  7. I did enjoy this book but I found it hard to believe some of the things that are described and this spoilt it a bit. I also thought that there were too many sad notes.

  8. My Sister lives on the Mantelpiece is a bit slow to begin with but it eventually picks up. Personally I wouldn’t read this book again or recommend it to friends because of the subject it covers.

    My Sister lives on the Mantelpiece is about a family who are trying to get over the death of their daughter, Rose, who died in a terrorist bombing attack. The story is told by Jamie, Rose’s brother, who is facing the difficulty of his family. His dad drinks because he is depressed and doesn’t like Jamie’s Muslim friend, his mum had an affair and ran off and Jamie wishes everything can be normal again.

    I would give this book 5 out of 10 as it was well written but it isn’t the book for me as I found the book depressing, repetitive, slow and it didn’t hold my attention.

  9. This book had me hooked from the first word and it made me laugh at the school bits but I thought it lost the story a bit towards the end 🙂

  10. I found this book easy and enjoyable to read but found the father’s character difficult to connect with and understand his opinions. However, Jamie’s character was inspiring and this kept the book alive especially as he had experienced many sad things in his life.

    I did find it interesting how the speech was on the same line and not in speech marks but in italics, also the front cover makes the book inviting.

    Many people found the book emotional, but I did not particularly get upset about the story line, except when Roger the cat dies.

  11. I thought this book was extremely good. For me, I can tell a book is good when I can’t put it down, which was the exact situation for this book! I read it in a day and it never bored me! Although it was depressing in some places Annabel Pitcher portrayed the characters’ emotions extremely well. I found that some of the bits in school were very entertaining and great fun. I just couldn’t believe Sunya would do such things. I was very moved when both the parents came to watch the talent show, also how the mum would have come to Christmas etc, but she did not receive the letters in time. I would rate this book 8/10. I’m looking forward to reading more books from Annabel Pitcher!

  12. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it’s probably one of the best books that I’ve read. It’s truthful but not too depressing and has enough emotion to make you care without spoiling the rest of the story. I had watery eyes when Roger died.
    This book is a real page turner that I couldn’t put down. I haven’t anything negative to say and I’d strongly recommend it to other 12 year old readers.

  13. This is a fairly good story and is funny in parts but also not very true to life. It isn’t my favourite.

  14. Halfway through this book I forgot that Jamie’s sister had died because I was so engrossed in everything else that was happening.

  15. I enjoyed this book because of the emotions that it brings. It is a great book but it is sad in places and this makes it a real page-turner. By Alex
    I think this book is a good example of how people live in a suburban city and how people deal with family based issues. By Ella

  16. Jamie’s family has been torn apart: his dad drinks, his mum has abandoned them and, worst of all, one of his sisters has been killed by a Muslim terrorist bomb. This book isn’t as depressing as you would think – I really enjoyed it! It’s well written and the funny parts are fantastic. The only bit that made me feel really sad was when Roger, Jamie’s cat, died. I felt that he’d played quite a big part in the story and this really upset me.
    I loved the ending. It tied up all the loose ends (mostly) and left me feeling very happy and impressed with the book. I especially liked Jamie’s comment that his family would get a ‘satisfactory’ if it was inspected by Ofsted. He couldn’t have said that at the beginning.
    This was the first of the five shortlisted books that I read and it made a really satisfying start. I enjoyed it from its startling beginning all the way to the end!

  17. I didn’t find this story credible at all. These are things that annoyed me:
    • In real life that class teacher would be fired. Nobody could respect her.
    • If Sunya minded so much about wearing a veil she would never take it off for a boy.
    • I could not believe that nobody at school noticed Jamie’s unwashed blood soaked T-shirt, even when he wore it day after day.
    • I’m sure someone from the high school would have been round about Jas’s anorexia and absences when nobody answered the phone.
    • I couldn’t connect with the characters
    • There was no climax – the end was really downbeat.

  18. This sad story is written from ten year old Jamie’s perspective. He’s five when his big sister Rose is blown up and he can’ cry because he can’t remember her. He can’t remember ever crying because nothing could be worse than what happened to Rose. His other sister tries to keep things together but all Jamie wants is his mum back and his dad to do normal dad things.
    Can his new Muslim friend make up for the hole in his life?
    I didn’t think that I would like this book but I was wrong and glad to be. This book made me smile, made me laugh, made me cry and sometimes even shocked me.

  19. During the funny bits I actually didn’t laugh because I realized how sad Jamie’s life had been until that point. There were points when I almost cried. I read the best bit – when Sunya sticks sausage shapes on all the figures in Daniel’s nativity scene – to my little sister and she burst out laughing.

  20. This amazing book touched something deep inside me that the others failed to reach.

  21. I liked this book as it is quite sad but enjoyable and I loved the way the characters are each made, like the sister who is a bit like Goth, and the other characters are different.
    By Sidra

  22. I liked this book, the characters and the story line. It’s realistic, especially when their mum leaves them, and very funny in places.
    I didn’t like the way the speech was put in italics. I found this very confusing.

  23. I really enjoyed this book. I cried at it because sadly the cat died and I’ve got a cat. I really didn’t see that coming. It has great detail and description but it also lets my imagination work. I really hope that you release some more books because I would get them straight away.

  24. I loved this book, by far my favouite! It wasn’t just sad for me, it was a mixed emotion, thrilling and funny. It’s like I’m just there and I dreaded to finish it, every time I met a cliffhanger I was speechless ( and I’m a right chatterbox, I even talk to my self), 10.5/10 from me, a well desrserved score. BRAVO!
    by Joseph

  25. I really liked this book. I cried at the end when Roger died and it was absolutely fantastic.

  26. I cried at this book because it is quite a sad book. I recommend this book to everyone who likes to have a good cry at a great book

  27. This book was an amazing, life like, emotional rollercoaster! When I got to the first page I knew it was good. Every time I reach the next chapter I need a box of tissues. This mixed emotional book gets a well deserved 10.5/10. Well done Annabel Pitcher! Bravo!

  28. Hey everyone, this book was amazing, life-like, an emotional rollercoaster! When I got to the first page I knew it was good, every time I reached the next chapter I needed a box of tissues. This mixed emotional book gets a well desereved a 10.5/10. Well done Annabel Pitcher! Bravo!
    by Joseph Pattison

  29. I really enjoyed your book. I loved the personalities – like how her dad tried to change in the end. I loved how his sister made an effort to get Jamie presents even from their mam. Hope you make more books like this, I will be the first to get it

  30. I thought this book was really good because it had a very similar life story to many people I know. I also liked this book because it was more down to earth than any other book I’ve read. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a reality book for children.
    By Maryam
    My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece is a great story but it is really depressing. Other than that there was nothing wrong, however it was a bit racist to Muslims.
    By Kiara

    I found this book OK, and it was good in some places, although parts of it were quite sad and depressing. I didn’t like the fact that there are no speech marks, so it could get quite confusing.
    By Zoe

  31. My Sister lives on the Mantelpiece is a very interesting book. It manages to be sad and funny and moving at different times. The ‘forbidden’ friendship between Jamie and Sunya is touching and it’s tragic to realise how the 9/11 bombs must have ripped families apart.
    The whole story revolves around Rose but is really about Jamie (and remaining big sister, Jas). It’s been written with a lot of care to show different people’s views in a non-judgmental way. I cried a bit with sadness in some parts and cried with laughter at others and this just shows the quality of the writing.
    An excellently written book with the right balance of humour and seriousness. Most of the characters were lovable and suspense builds up right to the end as the reader tries to work out which way the plot will go.

  32. This was very sad but I quite enjoyed it. I liked the way the author vividly described all the characters in the book. 8/10

  33. This is a sad story narrated by Jamie whose older sister was killed by Muslim extremists when he was little. The tragedy tears the family apart but Jamie can hardly remember Rose and cares more about his cat and his new friend, Sunya. Unfortunately, the cat is run over and Jamie has to keep Sunya a secret because she’s a Muslim. It’s a good book but very sad.

  34. I really liked the plot of this story, and Jamie and Jas are easy to relate to, but I thought some parts – like Sunya taking off her Hijab for Jamie – were too unrealistic to believe. I did enjoy it though. It was easy to believe in the struggle that the family was having and I think this book works for both boys and girls.
    It’s a great read and I’d recommend it.

  35. This book, told from Jamie’s point of view, describes how family life changed when his big sister Rose was killed in the 9/11 bombings. His mum takes off, his dad takes to drink and hating Muslims and his remaining sister tries to keep things going. Jamie is lonely until he meets a Muslim girl at his new school.
    I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone. My only criticism is that Sunya is introduced as very headstrong and self-centred and this makes her hard to like as the story unfolds. On the whole, this is a well written and sometimes humorous book.

  36. I enjoyed the bit when Jas came home with pink hair and piercings so she could be seen as herself rather than her dead identical twin. Personally, I blame Jamie’s mum for Rose’s death. I think his dad was really quite decent and the mum kept letting the family down. When the dad stopped drinking for a short time, he was quite caring. This was a good story but not my favourite.

  37. From what I’d heard, I already had high expectations of this book and was going to try it anyway. I wasn’t disappointed – it was very good and I do hope that there will be a sequel.

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