Author: Simon, Raphael
Mickey finds a book that promises to erase whatever is written in it, and after filling the page with all the things and people he dislikes, he finds himself in the anti-world where everything familiar is gone.
Kirkus Reviews (02/01/21)
School Library Journal (+) (04/01/21)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 04/01/2021 Gr 5 Up—"Get lost!" is Mickey's regular response to his parents, older sister Alice, and even his dog Noodle. The 12-year-old's attitude stems from his sister's bullying boyfriend who constantly taunts Mickey, claiming everything he does is "gay," as well as his parent's recent divorce announcement. Mickey's one joy is chewing Bubble Gum King gum, and occasionally using the mail-in coupons for cheap prizes such as the "Anti-Book." When he receives this journal-like book it states only, "To erase it, write it." Mickey quickly scribbles down hundreds of people, places, and things, awakening the next morning to find himself in his created Anti-World, where things are not gone but topsy-turvy. His sister's boyfriend has turned into a car, his big sister is now the size of his thumb, and cacti are attacking him. Is this a dream or a nightmare? And how will Mickey fix it all? This is a contemporary, quirky escape from the adolescent doldrums. From page one, tween readers are ensnared with Mickey's relatable life. 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. Mickey's Anti-World is confusing, weird, and defies logic, authentically mimicking a tween mindset while also working as Mickey's emotional catharsis. Simon focuses on Mickey's development as a whole person, of which sexuality is a minor component. Reminiscent of Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Mickey eventually comes to terms with his sexuality and his parents' divorce, ultimately achieving self-confidence. VERDICT Highly recommended for libraries; the strange, fantastical nature of this book is a fresh and welcome remix of the coming-of-age genre.—Mary-Brook J. Townsend, The McGillis Sch., Salt Lake City - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/01/2021 Mickey is absolutely sick of everything: his annoying dog, his absent older sister, his divorcing parents, his bully-filled school—everything. The only thing that he still likes is bubblegum, and when his recently purchased pack includes an offer for a mail-order book, he immediately sends away for it. Of course, the prize turns out to be disappointing, like everything else in his life—it’s just a notebook of empty pages—but after noticing a brief instruction (“To erase it, write it”), Mickey lists everything that has been bugging him, and whatever he writes disappears from existence. At first this seems like a dream come true, but he soon realizes that his new world may actually be a nightmare. 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. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.