MY SISTER LIVES ON THE MANTELPIECE by Annabel Pitcher
Kirkus Star

MY SISTER LIVES ON THE MANTELPIECE

Age Range: 10 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

Jamie lives in a bizarre world, where a sister can die in a bombing, and the only way to bring Mum and Dad together is by auditioning for Britain’s Biggest Talent Show.

Five years after her death, Rose remains foremost in his parents’ minds, “living” in her urn on the mantelpiece. His parents barely know Jamie, nor are they able to recognize Rose’s twin, Jasmine, as an individual. Capturing the confusion of an optimistic but sensitive child navigating a tough situation without guidance, Jamie’s narration is by turns comic and painful. His only friend is Sunya, whose headscarf billows behind her like a superhero cape and who helps Jamie fight the class bully. Yet Jamie cannot tell Sunya how his parents have abandoned the family: his mum to an affair; his dad to alcohol. The fact that Sunya is Muslim and therefore, according to Jamie’s dad, responsible for Rose’s death, is a brilliant counterpoint and an issue that Jamie must work through. Each character is believably flawed, and readers anticipate the heartbreaking scene when Jamie’s plans for a family reunion fail. However, the final triumphant chapters of this striking debut demonstrate that even as Jamie’s sorrows increase, so too, does his capacity for understanding, courage and love. Mum is gone, but Dad may recover, and Jasmine and Sunya are in Jamie’s corner.

Realistic, gritty and uplifting. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-316-17690-3
Page count: 226pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2012




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