Hot Key Carnegie Challenge Book 4: My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher

Whilst we pour over our wonderful Young Writers Prize entries (So impressed! Keep ’em coming…) we can consider what literary heights the winners might climb. The Carnegie Prize is one of the most well-renowned and respected of them all, which brings us back to our challenge!

Since our last challenge we have been enjoying My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher. A book that is described as ‘a stunning debut novel about the tragedy that tears apart a family after a terrorist attack’.

The blurb : 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…’

A great video trailer really  caught my eye – here it is!

We’ve heard really wonderful things about this book – what about you?


5 responses to “Hot Key Carnegie Challenge Book 4: My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher

  1. It’s another one of the CKG2012 books that Little M and I both enjoyed a lot. Little M said it was much better than she thought it would be because it doesn’t dwell on the bombing itself. I thought it was very funny and poignant. But both of us were a bit disappointed with the culminating events. And neither of us thought that the mother’s characterisation was realistic. Little M said she didn’t believe that a mother would be like that. But the children’s characterisation was wonderful especially Jamie, Sunya and Jasmine. We also liked the trailer.

  2. I read this way back when it was on submission and I loved it. I remember reading it in one sitting and going through all range of emotions, with my heart in my mouth at the end. Jamie’s voice was so fresh and it’s one of those books that has stayed with me for years. A great achievement for a debut author I think!

  3. I thought it was beautifully written. I was so comfortable with the way she did the dialogue that I didn’t notice that it was all reported speech until more than half way through. A really good debut – enough to beat Patrick Ness? Hmmmm.

  4. This was a charming and heart-strings-pulling book for me, but – while I agree that the trailer is great – I can’t figure out the thinking behind the cover.

    I had been given this book when I worked at Hachette – Orion published it, and they were so excited about it that they gave away a hardcover to everyone in the company. But I’d never been compelled to put it at the top f my reading pile, because I didn’t understand what it was about. The back cover, a quote from the inside, also didn’t give me any clues. Or maybe it gave me the wrong ones. I’m not sure.

    But now that I’ve read it, I’m so glad I did. It is a gripping story of a family in grief, but it never wallows or is manipulative. It felt honest and unexpectedly uplifting. I love love love the brother/sister relationship. A very strong book, more than worthy of all the attention it is getting!

  5. georgiahotkey

    I agree with saraathotkey about the confusing message of the book’s cover … I too have had it for ages and not read it as I was put off by the slightly odd kid on the front with a finger over his lips. It looked to me as if it was going to be an overdramatic suspense/scary story of some kind. When in fact it could not be further from that – I was so very pleasantly surprised by it. It is an extremely well crafted novel that for all its big themes and emotional dramas never feels over the top or sentimental. Completely heartbreaking at times, gutwrenching at others (Sunya: ‘I wish I was normal’; Jamie’s mum asking him where he got his spider man top from), and very very funny at others (the Ofsted inspector scene …) It reminded me of Artichoke Hearts by Sita Brahmachari – a book which also examines family and grief and growing up in a similarly gentle yet extremely powerful way.

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