My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece By: Annabel Pitcher
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012, 224 pages)
Okay, last Advanced Reader Copy title (for now!). Jamie is ten years old and lives with his family in London. Unfortunately, his family has been living a somewhat disjointed existence for the past few years. Jamie is the youngest of three, he has two older twin sisters, Jas and Rose. The thing is, Jas is the only sister still alive. Rose was killed years prior in a terrorist attack and now resides in an urn in the house.
Not surprisingly Rose’s death has put a strain on the family and Jamie’s parents have had a hard time getting past it. When his mother leaves and his father takes Jamie and Jas to live somewhere “away from Arabs” Jamie wonders if it will help things and how long it will take before his parents are back together. When he starts at his new school he’s determined to fit in, but finds himself befriended by Sunya, a Muslim. He knows his father wouldn’t approve, but his friendship with Sunya is what brightens his days. He just has to do what he can to ensure his father doesn’t find out about her… and he has to try and reconcile the fact that he has his own questions about how to feel about their relationship.
This juvenile book drew me in quickly and I’m glad I picked it up. It deals with a serious subject matter in an accessible way and its target audience doesn’t keep it from appealing to older readers. This is definitely a book that could spark interesting conversations between parents and their kids when looking at things like terrorism, hatred, prejudice, death, etc.