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The Anti-Book

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With nods to The Phantom Tollbooth and Coraline, this darkly funny fantasy is a classic-in-the-making--the story of a boy who wants the world to disappear . . . and what happens when it does. 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 eve With nods to The Phantom Tollbooth and Coraline, this darkly funny fantasy is a classic-in-the-making--the story of a boy who wants the world to disappear . . . and what happens when it does. 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. Full of humor and surprise, and slyly meaningful, this is a Wizard of Oz for today's generation--a fantastical quest for comfort and belonging that will resonate with many, many readers.


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With nods to The Phantom Tollbooth and Coraline, this darkly funny fantasy is a classic-in-the-making--the story of a boy who wants the world to disappear . . . and what happens when it does. 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 eve With nods to The Phantom Tollbooth and Coraline, this darkly funny fantasy is a classic-in-the-making--the story of a boy who wants the world to disappear . . . and what happens when it does. 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. Full of humor and surprise, and slyly meaningful, this is a Wizard of Oz for today's generation--a fantastical quest for comfort and belonging that will resonate with many, many readers.

30 review for The Anti-Book

  1. 5 out of 5

    MissSusie

    Cute book, with a fantastical world! One of those ‘be careful what you wish for’ especially if you wish for everything and everyone to go away. Jorjeana Marie did a great job at the narration she had a lot of different voices and accents that she did masterfully! I will be buying this one for the library! 3 ½ stars I received this book from PRH Audio’s Volumes App for a fair and honest review

  2. 5 out of 5

    Pooja

    Guest Review! "The Anti-book is a really good book that takes place in the real world and the Anti-world. It's full of cool abstract things such as a dog who is a god, a water-up, a housefly and a bubblegum kingdom. The main character Mickey is complicated but has a very good imagination. People who like books with fantasy and creative concepts will like this book. I think this book was really good and would like to read more books like this one. I would rate this book 9/10." Disclaimer: This ARC w Guest Review! "The Anti-book is a really good book that takes place in the real world and the Anti-world. It's full of cool abstract things such as a dog who is a god, a water-up, a housefly and a bubblegum kingdom. The main character Mickey is complicated but has a very good imagination. People who like books with fantasy and creative concepts will like this book. I think this book was really good and would like to read more books like this one. I would rate this book 9/10." Disclaimer: This ARC was won in a Goodreads giveaway. This is the recipient's honest and voluntary review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    This is an MG book that seems to be an absurd, silly, and fun story on the surface, but really has more substance and depth to it going into how a pre-teen/young boy feels while going through some hard times in his life and figuring out how to cope and deal with it all. If you've ever wanted to be alone and everyone to leave you alone because of being so angry and having so many emotions and things to deal with in life, then you'll likely be able to relate to the MC, Mickey, in this story. Mickey This is an MG book that seems to be an absurd, silly, and fun story on the surface, but really has more substance and depth to it going into how a pre-teen/young boy feels while going through some hard times in his life and figuring out how to cope and deal with it all. If you've ever wanted to be alone and everyone to leave you alone because of being so angry and having so many emotions and things to deal with in life, then you'll likely be able to relate to the MC, Mickey, in this story. Mickey is angry and upset all the time lately because of everything happening with his parents getting divorced and feeling alone. He's also trying to process all his emotions and learn to love and accept himself. Mickey wins a prize from a bubblegum wrapper and his prize is called The Anti-Book. After he gets this anti-book, he looks at it and discovers that the only instructions are to erase it and write it. He writes down everything he doesn't like or hates, and wishes were gone, and soon enough he finds himself in an anti-world. In this new anti-world, everything he knows is gone because he erased it. After wandering for a little while though, he finds his tiny big sister, his big sister's boyfriend who is a car, a little flying house that seems familiar, and a mysterious somewhat invisible boy who talks him into going to find The Bubble Gum King at the top of the mountain to help him fix the mess he's made and get back to his normal world. Mickey goes on a journey with his group to find The Bubble Gum King so he can find a way back home. On this journey, he learns more about the anti-world, the people in it, how it works and continues to learn how to process his emotions talking to his tiny big sister, a little flying house, and his dog. In the end, the somewhat invisible boy, Shadow, is identified, who he is and what his purpose is. This is an MG read with a lot of depth to it in helping talk about some hard things and how it's okay to feel things and love and accept yourself. I received this book from the North Texas Teen Book Festival and all opinions are my own. Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Group/Penguin Young Readers Group for letting me read and review this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus It's very clear that this is the author "Pseudonymous Bosch"; there's the same talking-to-the-reader, Lemony Snicket-esque snarky tone. This also has a bit of a British, David Walliams feel to it, but the author seems to live in the US. E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus It's very clear that this is the author "Pseudonymous Bosch"; there's the same talking-to-the-reader, Lemony Snicket-esque snarky tone. This also has a bit of a British, David Walliams feel to it, but the author seems to live in the US.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Karissa

    This was a sleeper book. Like, I honestly wasn't expecting much from it. The description and cover caught my attention, but it didn't seem like I would care much for it. How wrong I was! Mickey is angry all of the time, at everyone and everything. This anger stems from the fact that his parents are getting divorced and have found someone new to marry. Both his father and mother are marrying a woman that are both named Charlie and bake chocolate chip cookies - one bakes them chewy and the other b This was a sleeper book. Like, I honestly wasn't expecting much from it. The description and cover caught my attention, but it didn't seem like I would care much for it. How wrong I was! Mickey is angry all of the time, at everyone and everything. This anger stems from the fact that his parents are getting divorced and have found someone new to marry. Both his father and mother are marrying a woman that are both named Charlie and bake chocolate chip cookies - one bakes them chewy and the other bakes them crispy. His sister is dating a Chad that is obsessed with his car and keeps calling Mickey and everything else he doesn't like "gay'. The only thing giving Mickey serotonin right now is bubble gum. Specifically, Bubble Gum King bubble gum because it blows the biggest bubbles. One day his father (who is also his counselor and Human Development teacher at school) recommends that Mickey write down everything that he is grateful for or likes. Instead, Mickey ends up finding a notebook on the ground called The Anti-Book. He knows what anti means. He ends up writing everything he doesn't like and wishes would just get lost. What he doesn't know is that the book works. And when he erases everything, he enters the anti-world where everything he wrote in the book comes back....but backward. Mickey is struggling with his parents divorce, the guy his sister is dating and their relationship, and his lack of friends at school. The adventure he goes through in the anti-world helps him relate this his sister more and begin to sort out his feelings more than before. This is a good novel for students that may be struggling with divorce. It also addresses Mickey's struggle with his own identity, which he isn't sure of himself but his sister respects nonetheless. #divorce #emotions #identity

  6. 5 out of 5

    ramram

    Have you ever wanted everyone and or everything to go away? The book “The Anti-Book” by Raphael Simon, is about a boy who has these thoughts. Mickey, always says, “GET LOST!” to everyone. He changes after that. Affter reading this book, you would likely to be more thoughtful about other things. Mickey is a boy whose parents are getting divorced. Mickey loves to chew gum and one day, while opening a gum pack, got a prize that is called the Anti-Book. There is one thing that you need to know about Have you ever wanted everyone and or everything to go away? The book “The Anti-Book” by Raphael Simon, is about a boy who has these thoughts. Mickey, always says, “GET LOST!” to everyone. He changes after that. Affter reading this book, you would likely to be more thoughtful about other things. Mickey is a boy whose parents are getting divorced. Mickey loves to chew gum and one day, while opening a gum pack, got a prize that is called the Anti-Book. There is one thing that you need to know about the Anti-Book, to erase it, write it. This book is really fun and surprising. The Anti-Book (as in the actual book), is really, really understandable. Has anyone ever angered you? Do you ever feel soooooo annoyed that you would want everything to go away? Also, have you ever thought about someone in a different way, as in the opposite way of them? Like a big sister, turned into a sister little, or a little sister, as in size. You wiuld be more careful about them right? The most surprising part of the book was when Shadow back-stabbed Alice, Felicity, Mickey and Noodle (here’s a tongue twister, Pad kid poured curd pulled cod). Whoo knew that Shadow was actually BGK? def not me. I love how the book is written. It is written in 3rd person but you can hear Mickey’s thoughts. It’s a Narrator, like it is an invisible person reading Mickey’s thoughts and saying them buy also includeing their own thoughts. You can see this at the beginning, when the narrator was talking about how Mickey wanted everyone to go away. The narrator says, “You see? Mickey wants you to go away.” I like it when authors do that. Next time you want to read a good book, choose “The Anti-Book” by Raphael Simon.Chose it because it is fun, surprising and written in an interestign way. Go read it! :)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nannette Demmler

    ARC provided by Dial Books via NetGalley for an honest review. Have you ever felt like just making everyone go away? I certainly have, and I am sure many kids will be able to relate to Mickey just wanting to be left alone. Mickey is having a tough time, his parents are divorcing, his sister is dating a boy that bullies him and he is just struggling to feel like he is accepted as he is. Mickey is certainly a boy that kids will be able to relate too. He is insecure and feeling lonely and misundersto ARC provided by Dial Books via NetGalley for an honest review. Have you ever felt like just making everyone go away? I certainly have, and I am sure many kids will be able to relate to Mickey just wanting to be left alone. Mickey is having a tough time, his parents are divorcing, his sister is dating a boy that bullies him and he is just struggling to feel like he is accepted as he is. Mickey is certainly a boy that kids will be able to relate too. He is insecure and feeling lonely and misunderstood, and angry all of the time. So when he gets the anti-book it isn’t a huge surprise that he writes just about everyone and everything into it. Which of course is the start of his amazing and personal journey through the anti-world that he created. If you are familiar with this author’s other books, the style will feel very familiar. It is full of talking to the reader moments and plenty of snark from his characters. The world building is very well done. I liked that the anti things and people represented their personalities in the real world. This book does have a very real Phantom Tollbooth vibe to it which was not lost on me as an adult, but not sure kids know that story as well today. There are some very nice moments between Mickey and his sister that speaks to sibling relationships well. Sometimes sibling misunderstand each other or have falling outs, but they still love each other and eventually will find their way back to each other. I really liked the story and the pacing was pretty good, although a bit slow in the middle. I loved all of the different areas of the anti-world and how they were mirrored in the real world. The characters and adventures that Mickey encounters are just scary enough to keep the kids engaged, but not too scary. Overall I think this is a delightful book that will entertain many kids, while delivering a message of not giving up hope that you will find your place in the world and be accepted for who you are. https://elnadesbookchat.com

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    I received an electronic ARC from PENGUIN GROUP Penguin Young Readers Group through NetGalley. Imagine if you could get rid of anything that bothers you simply by writing it down. Mickey discovered he could. His Anti-Book was a bubble gum prize and he decided to test it by getting rid of people/things he was mad at. Middle grade readers will love thinking about this and then thinking some more when they see the results of such actions. Mickey ends up in the Anti-World ruled by the Bubble Gum King I received an electronic ARC from PENGUIN GROUP Penguin Young Readers Group through NetGalley. Imagine if you could get rid of anything that bothers you simply by writing it down. Mickey discovered he could. His Anti-Book was a bubble gum prize and he decided to test it by getting rid of people/things he was mad at. Middle grade readers will love thinking about this and then thinking some more when they see the results of such actions. Mickey ends up in the Anti-World ruled by the Bubble Gum King - identity unknown though astute readers may figure it out before Mickey. Everyone/everything he got rid of now has an anti- form in this new environment. He has to interact with them and figure out how to save his sister, his dog and his own world. To do so he has to visit lands called Mad, Bad, Sad and finally Glad. Simon captures the emotions a child feels when a trauma happens in a family - in this case, a divorce and upcoming remarriages. Readers see Mickey do some self-reflecting and growing as he engages with his sister and other characters to save them. There is plenty of humor to balance the more serious undertones. In the end, Mickey gains the courage to face his real areas of pain and have honest discussions with both his dad and his mom. Love the epilogue that shows he still is a realistic pre-teen.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Pat Trattles

    This book was given to me by netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The story grabbed me from the very first page. Mickey’ parents recently divorced. His sister ignores him, and he faces constant bullying. Mickey just wants his world to disappear. Inside a pack of gum he notices an ad for The Anti-Book, guaranteed to grant his wish to make everyone go away. When he opens the book he finds it contains only one instruction: “To erase it, write it.” He fills the book with page after page of th This book was given to me by netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The story grabbed me from the very first page. Mickey’ parents recently divorced. His sister ignores him, and he faces constant bullying. Mickey just wants his world to disappear. Inside a pack of gum he notices an ad for The Anti-Book, guaranteed to grant his wish to make everyone go away. When he opens the book he finds it contains only one instruction: “To erase it, write it.” He fills the book with page after page of the people and things he wants to erase – his parents, sister, dog, school, the list goes on and on. When he wakes the next morning, things around him have disappeared. At first Mickey is ecstatic but he soon begins to feel uneasy. He rationalizes that if writing his list can erase it, maybe he needs to erase the list to bring the world back. But it doesn’t work quite as planned. He enters the Anti-World where he slowly encounters backward versions of the things he erased. With the help of a nearly invisible companion he must navigate through Mad, Bad, Worse, Sad and Glad before returning to the real world. While the middle of the story dragged a bit, the book is full of fun and humor. This story of the quest for belonging and acceptance will surely resonate with middle grade readers.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Ashby

    Ummm.... I'm not so sure about this one. I liked the idea of the Anti-Book and how the main character was able to erase all the things he didn't like, but then it just got pretty weird and lost my interest. There were also some internal logic issues. The one that stuck out to me specifically was that the boy could not remember that his sister's boyfriend used to say he was gay. I'm ALL FOR writing down "using 'gay' as a dis" in the Anti-Book!! And it's cool how that usage completely disappears f Ummm.... I'm not so sure about this one. I liked the idea of the Anti-Book and how the main character was able to erase all the things he didn't like, but then it just got pretty weird and lost my interest. There were also some internal logic issues. The one that stuck out to me specifically was that the boy could not remember that his sister's boyfriend used to say he was gay. I'm ALL FOR writing down "using 'gay' as a dis" in the Anti-Book!! And it's cool how that usage completely disappears from his brain after he writes it in the book. But by that logic, shouldn't he also lose all memory of his family, school, sister's boyfriend and his friend, and all the other stuff he wrote down? I struggled with this pretty much the same way I struggle with time travel in stories. In the end, this came out somewhat below three stars but not as low as two.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sofia

    Mickey wishes everyone would go away. His divorcing parents, his sister, his sister's boyfriend, his dog-- Mickey wants them all to just get lost. When he finds a prize in a pack of his favorite gum: the Anti Book, which will allow him to erase things just by writing them down. Once he's erased just about everything he can think of, Mickey finds himself alone in the Anti World-- or so he thinks. Reminiscent of The Phantom Toll Booth and Roald Dahl (and a touch of Lemony Snicket-esque narration!) Mickey wishes everyone would go away. His divorcing parents, his sister, his sister's boyfriend, his dog-- Mickey wants them all to just get lost. When he finds a prize in a pack of his favorite gum: the Anti Book, which will allow him to erase things just by writing them down. Once he's erased just about everything he can think of, Mickey finds himself alone in the Anti World-- or so he thinks. Reminiscent of The Phantom Toll Booth and Roald Dahl (and a touch of Lemony Snicket-esque narration!), this book is incredibly imaginative, fun, and full of word play. It also does a great job of talking about how to deal with difficult feelings like anger and loneliness! I listened to the audiobook thanks to an ALC from Libro.fm, but the hard copy is also riddled with awesome illustrations.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ali Mark

    Gut Instinct Rating: 5 Characters: 5 Believability: 5 Uniqueness: 5 Writing Style: 5 Excitement Factor: 4 Story Line: 4.75 Title Relevance: 5 Artwork Relevance: 5 Overall: 4.86🏳️‍🌈 • Review In Short: This book (written by an author also known as Pseudonymous Bosch) was the best kind of middle grade book because it covered the hard topics, without making them terrifying things. Emotions, divorce, depression, anger, fear, questioning orientations as well as actually facing sexual orientation, and of course Gut Instinct Rating: 5 Characters: 5 Believability: 5 Uniqueness: 5 Writing Style: 5 Excitement Factor: 4 Story Line: 4.75 Title Relevance: 5 Artwork Relevance: 5 Overall: 4.86🏳️‍🌈 • Review In Short: This book (written by an author also known as Pseudonymous Bosch) was the best kind of middle grade book because it covered the hard topics, without making them terrifying things. Emotions, divorce, depression, anger, fear, questioning orientations as well as actually facing sexual orientation, and of course - bullying. They were all covered in such an innocent way that made them easy to face.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    The Anti-Book has an intriguing premise and trailer. I read tons of middle grade books and this was unique. The reading experience felt a little off. In the beginning, we know the main character is mad at the world. But it was hard to root for him when you didn't understand where that anger came from. The story definitely gets bizarre. I like the message that you can change the voice inside your head. I am not at all sure what my 5th grade students will make of this. The Anti-Book has an intriguing premise and trailer. I read tons of middle grade books and this was unique. The reading experience felt a little off. In the beginning, we know the main character is mad at the world. But it was hard to root for him when you didn't understand where that anger came from. The story definitely gets bizarre. I like the message that you can change the voice inside your head. I am not at all sure what my 5th grade students will make of this.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    This review is based on an ARC copy. What a refreshing book. This middle-grade novel was a joy to read, I could not put it down. I was hooked from the very beginning when he starts erasing the world and was along for the ride the whole way on the edge of my seat. I have not read a story with this concept before and it was refreshing to see not only a kid struggling with life changes but also navigating a world of his own making and the consequences of that. I definitely think this book is worth r This review is based on an ARC copy. What a refreshing book. This middle-grade novel was a joy to read, I could not put it down. I was hooked from the very beginning when he starts erasing the world and was along for the ride the whole way on the edge of my seat. I have not read a story with this concept before and it was refreshing to see not only a kid struggling with life changes but also navigating a world of his own making and the consequences of that. I definitely think this book is worth reading.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chance Lee

    An allegory for running from your problems until you find a healthy way of expressing your feelings. I liked the narrative voice. However, the absurdist fantasy romp lost my interest as an adult reader. I skimmed most of the book once cactuses began playing dodgeball. The author really stretches to compare this book to COVID-19 in his author note.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    This book has a quite a pan original storyline and characters. I’m not quite sure, though, that it’s intended audience would “get” all of it. The other flaw I saw was it got a tad preachy at the end.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Riley Wang

    Hi! You might want to publish this in a mobile app so a lot of readers can see your lovely work. Check on the NovelStar app and see how other writers earn by pursuing their passion in writing. You can also check out their Facebook page to meet other writers.

  18. 5 out of 5

    LS Johnson

    Definitely not what I expected from the description. I thought there would be humor, but I really didn’t find any with the exception of poop jokes. There were some nice lessons though.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Kind of funny, absurd middle grade book with underlying notes on emotional well-being, self-love, gender, and sexuality.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amelia

    i loved all the characters

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Daly-Boas

    I’m looking for great books for a 10-year old boy, and while this was close, it just felt more like an after-school special than a book to get lost in.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    Good read

  23. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    Reminded me of The Phantom Tollbooth

  24. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    Do you sometimes want everything to just go away and leave you alone? I do. I felt very seen by the opening scenes in this book. We then go on an adventure that is rather toll-booth-esque, verging towards too silly for me to follow along but also very fun. Tie in some self-reflection, some emotional intelligence pointers, and some family dynamics and you have a great story!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Kids are going to love this book! Great characters on a journey unlike any other!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bec

    Trigger warnings: (view spoiler)[bullying, homomisia (hide spoiler)] This was a fantastic kids' book that I would recommend for any middle-grade readers! The premise is fun and interesting (what kid doesn't want to wish away all their problems?). The setting and characters are both fun and hilarious. The writing style is easy, whimsical and undoubtedly would have any child in giggles. A fantastic book all-around. Note: Review copy (audio) received via Libro.FM. This does not impact opinions wit Trigger warnings: (view spoiler)[bullying, homomisia (hide spoiler)] This was a fantastic kids' book that I would recommend for any middle-grade readers! The premise is fun and interesting (what kid doesn't want to wish away all their problems?). The setting and characters are both fun and hilarious. The writing style is easy, whimsical and undoubtedly would have any child in giggles. A fantastic book all-around. Note: Review copy (audio) received via Libro.FM. This does not impact opinions within this review. blog • trigger warning database • more links Happy reading! ❤

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chelsey

  28. 5 out of 5

    Iris

  29. 5 out of 5

    Noel Knepper

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah See

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