Monday, December 29, 2014

Book Review: My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

13068707My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece Discussion
Title: My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece
Author: Annabel Pilcher
Hardcover, 211 pages
Published 2012 by Galaxy
For readers who like touching realistic fiction 

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece is the story of Jamie and his broken family.  Five years ago when Jamie was only five, his sister Rose was killed in the London Sept. 9th terrorist attacks.  Her death has left his family confused and disheveled.  His mother has run off with Nigel, a man she meet in grief counseling, and his father has become an unemployed alcoholic.  Jas, Rose’s twin, is not only trying to figure out how to live without her twin, but also has to learn to take care of her father and brother.

After Jamie’s mum leaves them, his father decides move to the country.  Jamie has trouble fitting in at his new school; the only friend he has made is Sunya.  Sunya is clever and mysterious; she has beautiful brown skin, a lovely freckly on her lip, and wears a hijab to cover her thick brown hair.  Jamie and Sunya connect instantly and become fast friends.  They bond over being the outcasts in class and pretending to be superheroes.

This book is a fantastic book about loss, family, friendships, and belonging.  I don’t want to give any of its secrets away, and I encourage any reader who likes touching realistic fiction to give it a try.

During the summer I read Annabel Pilcher’s KetchupCloud and enjoyed it. (I’d give it 3 stars out of 5) I didn’t plan on reading any of her other books, but I just can’t resist the title and cover.  So, without knowing anything about this book other than the title, author, and cover I checked it out.  I’m so glad I did this book was very good, and had a lot of amazing characters and issues.  It’s pretty unique considering the narrator is a ten year old boy, but the tone and content of this book is definitely YA.

·       I really like that this was a YA book in a 10 year olds point of view.  It was a refreshing change from the infinite sixteen year old narrators.  Sometimes Jamie’s naivety was heartbreaking.
·      I really liked that this book made me see the London Tube Bombings in a new light.  I was 11 when 9/11 happened and the incident is scarred into my brain.  I remember how scared everyone was, and yet I vaguely remember the London Bombings.  It was an unreal thing that happened on the other side of the world.  I am so glad this book made me see those attacks and their aftermath in a new light.  In a way this book is a historical fiction.
·      I absolutely love Jas.  She is a good big sister who takes care of her brother and her father.  She is the more understanding and most adult character in this book.   I feel like she is the only character other than Jamie that has managed to live a real life after losing Rose.
·      I love the comfort that Jamie seeks in his cat, Roger.  As a cat lover I thought their relationship was sweet and true to real cat/cat-owner’s relationships.
·      Also, I love Sunya!  She has such a sweet spirit about her.  She is genuine and she protects Jamie when Jas isn’t around.  I think it is important to see strong female Muslim characters in YA literature especially ones who live in Western culture.   Sunya is a strong and loving young girl, and I love her in this book.
·      I really don’t have any real complaints about this book.  The other things I didn’t like were the sad parts, but they were necessary for the book to make you feel Jamie’s pain.

Click here to read my review on Annabel Pitcher's other book Ketchup Clouds.

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