My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece, by Annabel Pitcher, is a touching story about a young boy named Jaime Matthews whose sister, Rose, died in a terrorist bombing. Jaime was five years old and Rose was ten when she passed away in London. After the terrorist bombing, Jaime’s mother became very distant and left the family. With Jamie’s world crashing in around him, his father decided to move him and Jasmine, Rose’s twin sister, to the quiet countryside. Jaime is constantly reminded of his sister’s death; Rose is sitting on the fireplace mantelpiece and Jaime’s father constantly puts down Muslims and refuses to acknowledge them at all. Living in the countryside seems to be a great move for Jaime and his family until he starts school and has to keep a secret…his best friend is Sunya is a Muslim.
Pitcher’s moving story takes readers to topics that are not usually discussed in young adult novels: death, racism, and betrayal. As a child, Jamie does not understand why Sunya is a ‘bad person’ in his father’s eyes and why he is not allowed to be her friend. Jaime sees Sunya as a caring, friendly ten year old who is much nicer than most of the other kids in school. While Jaime sees a true friend, his father sees an enemy. The parallelism between Jaime and his father shows readers the true value of looking at life through a child’s eye. I would highly recommend this powerful novel to any reader, young or old.
- Posted by Jacquie