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My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece. Annabel Pitcher


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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.

About the Author

Annabel graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English Literature and an ambition to be a children's author. She had a variety of jobs before deciding to travel the world and focus on writing. Annabel now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and two young sons. Her first book, MY SISTER LIVES ON THE MANTELPIECE, won the Branford Boase and a Betty Trask Award in 2012 and KETCHUP CLOUDS won the 2014 Waterstones Children's Prize. Annabel's work has been shortlisted for numerous prestigious awards including the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Galaxy British Book Award and the Red House Children's Book Award and longlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the 2012 CILIP Carnegie Medal. Visit Annabel's website at and follow her on Twitter @APitcherAuthor.


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 *

In this powerfully honest, quirkily humorous debut novel, first published in the U.K., 10-year-old narrator Jamie and his family are still dealing with his sister Rose's death in a terrorist bombing five years earlier. After Rose's twin, Jas, stakes her independence by dying her hair pink on her 15th birthday, the family falls apart-their mother runs off with another man, and their alcoholic father moves from London to the Lake District with the children, where he lavishes attention on Rose's urn. (In one of many heartbreaking details, Rose's parents cremated part of their daughter's remains and buried the rest, a devastating metaphor for the family's ongoing inability to handle the tragedy.) Jamie's pivotal friendship with a Muslim girl, Sunya, is a standout. Pitcher tackles grief, prejudice, religion, bullying, and familial instability through the unsentimental voice of a boy who loves Spider-Man and Manchester United, misses his mother, and-truth be told-doesn't remember his dead sister all that well. The adults in Pitcher's story may be a mess, but the kids are all right. Ages 12-up. Agent: Catherine Clarke, Felicity Bryan Literary Agency. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Gr 7 Up-Five years ago, Jamie's sister Rose was killed in a terrorist bombing, and his family has since crumbled. An urn containing Rose's ashes is an ever-present reminder of the tragedy. Jamie, 10, doesn't remember Rose, and would rather play football or watch Spiderman than dwell on her death. Looming larger are his mother's absence, his father's alcoholism, and his sister's disorder. At his new school, Jamie becomes the target of a cruel bully. The one bright spot in the boy's life is his friendship with classmate Sunya, a delightful Muslim girl who sticks up for him and shares his love of superheroes. But even this causes conflict, because weren't Muslims responsible for the bombing that killed his sister and shattered his family? Jamie chooses to see past his father's unrealistic prejudice with the hope of having his first loyal friend. The ending isn't perfect, but Jamie's family does learn to better manage their grief and face other problems that have been tearing them apart. Annabel Pitcher's compelling tale (Little, Brown 2012) authentically presents death, friendship, prejudice, and other complex issues as experienced through a child's unique-and sometimes naive-perspective. Situations ring painfully true, and the characters are exceptionally well-drawn, particularly Jamie and Sunya. Narrator David Tennant sounds too mature to portray young Jamie, and he does little to vary his voice for other characters. Tinkling piano music between chapters distracts from the story. The print version of this book is a must-have, but skip the audiobook.-Alissa Bach, Oxford Public Library, MI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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