Review of My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

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.

I just finished My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher and I it is so hard to write a review for this book. It was definitely unlike any other book I have read before.

  • The book is written through the POV of a ten-year-old boy named Jamie. It was really interesting to look at life through his eyes, especially after the death of his sister, Rose.
  • Rose’s death was so current with the daily acts of terrorism in the world. I have read stories about families affected by terroristic acts in the US, but not any other part of the country. There are bombings on the news all the time and it was really moving to read a story where the random act of terrorism really broke apart a family.
  • Jamie’s character was so pure, he didn’t want to discriminate against Muslims and he really didn’t understand death. It was neat to see through his eyes and feel his pain as his mother and father broke up because of the death of Rose.
  • The writing style in this book was amazing. It was so unique and interesting. The book seriously starts with “My sister Rose lives on the mantelpiece. Well, some of her does. Three of her fingers, her right elbow and her kneecap are buried in a graveyard in London.“
  • Instead of quotations Annabel chose to use italics. It was sometimes hard to distinguish who was talking and I had to reread sentences a few times.
  • I believe it is aimed at as a young adult book, at least that is how my library categorized it, but I think it was more middle school or lower. I think younger adults could definitely understand the themes in the story.


  1. I haven't heard of this one but sounds really emotional and I love emotional reads. I love the sound of Jamie's character and I think it's easy to connect with her. And authors or editors tend to put quotes in italic often now and it's so hard to concentrate sometimes. I guess we're used to good ol' quotation marks.
    Great review :)

  2. The writing style of this book seems so enjoyable. The starting bit got my attention enough for me to want to read it.

    P.S. I nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award! Check out the details here.

  3. This sounds like a very intense, heartbreaking read. I'm glad it was so well writen, though. I have another of this author's books that I've been meaning to try :)

  4. Sounds like an interesting book though not sure if I can cope with the italics thing - read a book like that years ago and had the same problem as you - very off-putting

    P.S. I nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award as well! :D For details, click here

    Witless Fool @ Obsessive Compulsive Reader

  5. This one sounds very interesting. I like books written from the view of children.

  6. Hmm I'm not a fan of middle-school books, tbh. So many people love them, but I never feel like I can relate to the protagonists because they're just too young. You know?

  7. I like this review. Even though I don't normally read books for middle grade, I'm actually curious about this one.

  8. I'm more and more inlove with your review technique! Terrorism isn't really my cup of tea, neither is reading in a 10 year old's POV but the book does sound interesting. Paulina @ Tangled In Pages

  9. The writing style sounds intriguing. Italics instead of quotations? That would take some getting used to!

    Nice review! This wasn't really on my radar, but now I'll keep an eye out for it.

  10. I think I've commented and told you before, but this is one that I really want to read. I loved KETCHUP CLOUDS, Pitcher's newest book, and am eager to see if I love this one just as much. I like that it might actually be more MG than YA... I run a MG Book Club and this one might be an apt pick. Thanks for the review, MIssie!

  11. Is this about the 7/7 bombings in 2005? It sounds emotional, and while I love emotional books, it would take a while for me to build up to one like this. Because it's too real, and I don't think I'm brave enough for that yet. But, it sounds like one everyone should read, so I hope I will be able to one day.

  12. I haven't heard of this one, but it sounds good. I may add it to my list!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  13. I'm glad that you enjoyed this one. The italics for dialogue is a deal breaker for me. I hate that books are trying to be so trendy with dialogue when all it does is make it more confusing to the reader.

  14. I really like books that are able to cover this topic about grief, and the family dynamics associated with it. This book sounds interesting, and I'll keep my eyes out for it. :)


I'd love to hear what you thought of the book or others you think I will like! Please share your thoughts! Thank you for the thought, but I am not participating in awards.