You Read What? Book Reviews: My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece

Author: Annabel Pitcher

Publisher: Orion Publishing Group

Date Published: March 1st 2011

Format: Hard Cover

Source: Toronto Public Library

Synopsis:

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.

Number of Days It Took to Read: 3

Cover:

Not a fan of this cover. If I saw this at a book store or library, I wouldn’t have picked it up. There’s nothing about it that intrigues me or pops out at me among the other books that are vuing for my attention.

The Writing Score: 4 out of 5

Recommendation: A Must Read

Memorable or Forgettable: Memorable

Rating: 4 out of 5

Review:

If I were to have chosen this book on my own, I wouldn’t have read it. The synopsis and cover didn’t get me to want to read this book and I guess the protagonist being so young was one of those reasons because I was afraid it would be a children/middle grade type book.

I did end up reading it because it was the book choice of the Forever Young Adult Book Club (the 2nd Toronto based group). I found this book surprisingly good. This is the perfect example of writing as a juvenile without juvenile writing (i.e. amateur or poor writing). As discussed in last night’s book club, I enjoyed the fact that this was told from ten year old Jamie’s point of view and not his older sister, Jas, because that would’ve been a predictable Young Adult novel featuring angst, romance and tragedy. We have enough of those going around. Having Jamie sort of removed from the death of his sister, Rose, allows for a third person type removal or observation for readers while still having the personal touch of first person narration. It also allows for a more truthful or purer outlook on the world that children tend to have.

I enjoyed the story’s subject very much and feel that this book (although told by a ten year old) should be read by late middle schoolers and young adults. Adults would enjoy this as well. The characters were brilliantly written and I LOVE Sunya so much (I wanted her to be MY best friend while others wanted to be her). She was a strong, young female lead and I also loved Jas who was Jamie’s only anchor.

This wasn’t a full blown 5 out of 5 because there were some plot holes in the story that we went over during the book club meeting. There was also the fact that I wasn’t completely blown away by the story (there were a few places that were a little too much or could have been handled differently. Otherwise, it was a really great and something I recommend people to read.

A. A. Omer

The opinions expressed here are mine and readers are welcome to disagree. In fact, I encourage it! I never believed in putting particular books or authors on some sort of universal pedestal but you’re free to put it on your individualized pedestal because I most certainly will.

2 thoughts on “You Read What? Book Reviews: My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece

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