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Extended Audio Sample My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece Audiobook, by Annabel Pitcher Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Annabel Pitcher Narrator: David Tennant Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2012 ISBN: 9781611132427
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My sister Rose lives on the mantelpiece.
Well, some of her does.
A collarbone, two ribs, a bit of skull, and a little toe.

To ten-year-old Jamie, his family has fallen apart because of the loss of someone he barely remembers: his sister Rose, who died five years ago in a terrorist bombing. To his father, life is impossible to make sense of when he lives in a world that could so cruelly take away a ten-year-old girl. Rose’s surviving fifteen-year-old twin, Jas, lives every day in Rose’s ever present shadow, forever feeling the loss like a limb, unable to be seen for herself alone.

Told with warmth and humor, this powerful story is a sophisticated take on one family’s struggle to make sense of the loss that has torn them apart—and their discovery of what it means to stay together.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[A] powerfully honest, quirkily humorous debut novel…Jamie’s pivotal friendship with a Muslim girl, Sunya, is a standout. Pitcher tackles grief, prejudice, religion, bullying, and familial instability through the unsentimental voice of a boy who loves Spider-Man and Manchester United, misses his mother, and—truth be told—doesn’t remember his dead sister all that well. The adults in Pitcher’s story may be a mess, but the kids are all right.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “As a study of grief’s collateral damage, it deals with the topic realistically without losing sight of hope. Jamie is a frank narrator whose naïveté is tempered by the wisdom he acquires. He relies on his relationship with Jas for stability and eventually sets his own moral compass. An outstanding first novel.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • "It lives off the page. It has a warmth you can bask in; an honesty you can cut with a knife." The Guardian UK
  • “Capturing the confusion of an optimistic but sensitive child navigating a tough situation without guidance, Jamie’s narration is by turns comic and painful…Each character is believably flawed, and readers anticipate the heartbreaking scene when Jamie’s plans for a family reunion fail. However, the final triumphant chapters of this striking debut demonstrate that even as Jamie’s sorrows increase, so too, does his capacity for understanding, courage, and love.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “This book is a great catalyst for opening conversations about death and loss as well as difficult discussions about hatred and prejudice.”

    Children’s Literature

  • “Compelling and believable…By turns heartbreaking and hysterically funny…This is an important book that could be used in classes and book-discussion groups. Don’t let it fall through the cracks.”

    School Library Journal (starred review)

  • “This is a book which could easily have sunk under the weight of sentimentality. That it doesn’t, that it is an inspiring tale of resilience and kindness, is a tribute to Pitcher. This is a fine debut novel. Truthful, clear-eyed, and wise.”

    Telegraph (UK)

  • “It lives off the page. It has a warmth you can bask in; an honesty you can cut with a knife.”

    Guardian (UK)

  • “So completely does David Tennant slip into the authentic voice and point of view of ten-year-old Jamie that the listener is immediately immersed in the story. Tennant doesn’t perform vocal acrobatics, and we don’t need him to: His nuanced delivery and pleasing Scottish brogue perfectly convey all of Jamie’s bewilderment, frustration, grief, and fears as he navigates the choppy waters of adolescence…Pitcher’s writing is full of humor and charm, even when dealing with difficult subject matter including bullying, racism, alcoholism, and the death of a loved one. Listeners will give their hearts over to Jamie, his sister Jas, his friend Sunya, and his cat Roger. Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Named a Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books for Children for 2013
  • Longlisted for the 2011 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize
  • A 2013 ALA Notable Book for Children
  • Winner of the 2012 Atlantic Wire YA/Middle-Grade Award for Most Deftly Handled
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About the Author
Annabel Pitcher graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English Literature, and went on to edit television scripts for the comedy Harry Hill and the long-running soap opera Coronation Street. She is now an English teacher in West Yorkshire, England, where she grew up. Annabel started writing My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece in Ecuador, on a round-the-world trip, and finished it in Jordan. This is her debut novel.
About the Narrator

David Tennant has won critical acclaim for his performance as Detective Alec Hardy in the hugely successful crime drama Broadchurch. He shot to global fame during his tenure as the Tenth Doctor in the Doctor Who series and has starred in a number of other award-winning films and television shows.