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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Name of This Book Is Secret comes a darkly funny story about a boy who wants the world to disappear. This fantastical quest for comfort and belonging was called “a surprisingly powerful, formula-breaking coming-of-age story” by the New York Times.
Mickey is angry all the time: at his divorced parents, at his sister, and at his two new stepmoms, both named Charlie. And so he can't resist the ad inside his pack of gum: "Do you ever wish everyone would go away? Buy The Anti-Book! Satisfaction guaranteed." He orders the book, but when it arrives, it's blank—except for one line of instruction: To erase it, write it. He fills the pages with all the things and people he dislikes . . .
Next thing he knows, he's wandering an anti-world, one in which everything and everyone familiar is gone. Or are they? His sister soon reappears--but she's only four inches tall. A tiny talking house with wings looks strangely familiar, as does the mysterious half-invisible boy who seems to think that he and Mickey are best buds. The boy persuades Mickey to go find the Bubble Gum King—the king, who resides at the top of a mountain, is the only one who might be able help Mickey fix the mess he's made.
From Raphael Simon (a.k.a. beloved author Pseudonymous Bosch!) comes this Phantom Tollbooth for today's generation—a fantastical quest for comfort and belonging that will resonate with many, many readers.
About the Author
Raphael Simon is an author who lives in Pasadena, CA, with his husband and twin daughters. He is definitely not the alter ego of infamously anonymous author Pseudonymous Bosch, writer of the New York Times bestselling Secret Series and the Bad Books.
"Filled with clever wordplay and puns come-to-life. Its world crackles with imagination . . . The Anti-Book is a surprisingly powerful, formula-breaking coming-of-age story." —The New York Times
★ "Simon’s omniscient narrator speaks to readers with equal parts humor, sarcasm, and intrigue. Short, quick-moving chapters, filled with dialogue and action, will keep the interest of its target audience . . . the strange, fantastical nature of this book is a fresh and welcome remix of the coming-of-age genre." —School Library Journal, starred review
"Lively interstitial illustrations show the White tween in both realistic and fantastical settings . . . Short sentences and a fast-moving plot will especially appeal to reluctant readers. A bubble-gum story disguising some real substance." —Kirkus
"Simon offers wacky, inventive sidekicks and plenty of humor, but it’s also weirdly refreshing to adventure with a grumpy protagonist truly wallowing in his misery. On the flip side, it’s heartening to watch Mickey grow in self-love and self-awareness and ultimately realize that he has been papering over deeper emotions with surface complaints. A sweetly silly but satisfying concoction." —Booklist
"With this fast-paced, humorous adventure, Simon explores the complicated interplay of negative emotions as Mickey learns to confront his shifting 'states of mind' and cope with the world around him." —Publishers Weekly
“This book will move you, make you laugh, and change the way you think. A mind-bending experience, unlike anything you've ever read before.” —Adam Gidwitz, author of The Inquisitor’s Tale
“This exciting, clever, and ultimately moving book deserves a place on the same shelf as our most beloved children’s fantasies.” —Trenton Lee Stewart, author of The Mysterious Benedict Society
“Wildly original. Witty. Whimsical. This book is clever and full of good humor. Kids (and their parents) will love it." —Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of Counting by 7s
“Quirky, snarky, and fast-paced. I’m very much pro The Anti-Book. I loved it!” —Chris Grabenstein, author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
“Rafi Simon has created a wildly inventive world and a story that is both deep and deeply funny.” —Stuart Gibbs, author of Spy School