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My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece Hardcover – August 14, 2012
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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With his family still grieving over his sister's death in a terrorist bombing seven years earlier, twelve-year-old Jamie is far more interested in his cat, Roger, his birthday Spiderman T-shirt, and keeping his new Muslim friend Sunya a secret from his father.
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Warning: A cat dies. But the death of the cat leads, in a believable and real way, to more than one epiphany. There's a realistic "things-are-going-to-be-better-even-if-they-aren't-perfect" ending.
And while there are one or two moments where the main character, Jamie, seems a little old for his age, they aren't jarring enough to throw you out of the story. This is a kid who's been through a lot...he would be a mature 10-year old. And Jasmine, his sister, is a wonderful character.
Can't wait to see what comes next from Annabel Pitcher's pen. She's one to watch.
I read so little middle grade and even less contemporary middle grade, and while I still can’t say that My Sister Lives On the Mantelpiece was my cup of tea, even I could see how perfectly Annabel Pitcher nailed the voice of her ten year-old main character, Jamie. My brief stint as a substitute teacher let me see writing samples from ten year-olds and yes, it’s a little more simplistic than the adult thought process, but it’s not dumbed down by any means. They can be very observant.
And at times, Jamie’s observations were a little horrifying. With a drunk racist for a father, and an absentee mother… frankly, the adults in this book made me a little doubtful about humanity.
I loved that the point of view Pitcher chose to take on this was Jamie’s. From someone who was closer to his sister, who was killed in the bombing, like her twin or a parent, the novel would have probably focused way more on the grief. With Jamie, it went back somewhat to that observing; how it affected everyone else affected him more than his own grief. Largely it was about a boy who just wanted to live a normal life.
But it was a little hard for me to get with the program and connect with Jamie. I couldn’t connect with him about grief that he didn’t feel, and though there was plenty more to be found in the book– friendship, sibling relationships, and comedic relief, the part that really struck home for me was when Jamie felt a different sort of grief, and was able to connect it to what his father felt.
The novel didn’t exactly end on a happy note, but it left off on a realistic note: one of hope.
To sum up: Not particularly my kind of book, but a quick and short read with a superbly authentic voice that pulled a range of emotions from me, from laughter to horror and sadness to hope.
The two main characters, Jas and James, are well defined in this novel. Makes the reader want to adopt the two and show/give them some love.
While the book is recommended for young adults, this 70 year old could not put the book down!