My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece – Annabel Pitcher (2012, Little, Brown and Company, New York)
You have to know going into this one that you’ll need a box of tissues at hand – it’s obvious by the title. Told from the point of view of ten year old Jamie, who barely remembers his dead sister Rose, killed by a terrorist bomb five years earlier, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece is a heartbreaking account of a family broken apart by tragedy and Jamie’s relationships with his sister Jas (Rose’s twin), their alcoholic father and absent mother. It’s also an important story about bullying and racism – and the lengths Jamie, his friend Sunya, and Jas go to make things right in a mixed-up world. Powerful stuff, beautifully and sensitively written.