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.
By Raphael Simon, 2021