My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

Written by Annabel Pitcher

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Winner of the 2012 Branford Boase Award for an outstanding debut novel.

Heartbreaking and funny in equal measure, 10-year-old Jamie's direct and wide-eyed account 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. Beginning a new life in the Lake District with his older sister and his father, who mourns his daughter through alcohol and a wild rage against her killers, Jamie knows he should feel sadder than he does. The truth is, he can hardly remember his sister; and what is happening with his new school and new friends, especially Sunya, is more urgent – as is his yearning for his absent mother. Emotionally charged, this is a wonderfully touching story which never slips into worthiness.

The LoveReading Comment:

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, My Sister lives on a Mantelpiece 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.

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert one of our members also told us what they think of this title. You can read their full review below.

  • Tegan Butler-Moore, age 10 - My Sister Lives On the Mantelpiece is a sad, real book about a troubled family with two pieces missing. The question on everyone's mind, can anything ever fill the gaping hole left behind.
    Nothing has ever gone the right way in the family, and youngest child Jamie can’t quite see how his family can get over it. His sister’s loss is alien to him until his own loss makes him realise how upsetting it can really be.


My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher

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.


'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 its exciting - just because you can't stop reading until you know Jamie will be OK. Another thing I love is how contemporary issues such as racism, divorce and terrorism are explored through the eyes of a family effected 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

'..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

'..the plot was really clever. I like the way that the plot was based around true events that occurred... also it is based on things that happen in life in this age..' - Ruhaan, age 12

'Sad but fantastic - I loved it!' - Tonicha, age 12, READING ZONE

And some passion from a number of staff at the publisher:

‘Makes you laugh out loud, it makes you cry; it reaffirms your belief in the power of the novel.’ Lisa Milton, Trade Managing Director

‘Warm and funny and horrific and heartrending all at the same time – the whole gamut of human emotion is in this book.’ Maggy Park, Field Sales Administration Manager

‘Every bit as compelling as Curious Incident... Blackly funny and moving.’ Mark Stay, Digital Key Accounts Director

‘My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece is outstanding and very, very memorable. Tragic, poignant, funny and utterly absorbing, this is a book that I want to pass on to everyone I know.’ Felicity Johnston, Editorial Assistant

About the Author

Annabel Pitcher

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. She won a Betty Trask award for her first novel My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece .

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Book Info


240 pages
Interest Age: From 12


Annabel Pitcher
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Orion Children's Books (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) an imprint of Orion Publishing Co

Publication date

1st March 2011




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