Anything That Isn't This

Anything That Isn't This

3.31 (151 ratings by Goodreads)
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Shortlisted for the Peters Book of the Year.

Seventeen-year-old Frank Palp lives in a grim little apartment, in a grim little building, in an exceedingly grim (and rather large) city. Cobbled streets and near-destroyed bridges lead one through Old Town and Old New Town, and war-damaged houses stand alongside post-war characterless, concrete hutches. Most people walk hunched over, a habit from avoiding snipers, but others are proud to stand tall and make the world take notice . . . This is a city full of contradictions, and Frank is no exception.

He mostly hates his life, he definitely hates the ludicrous city he is forced to live in and he absolutely with complete certainty hates the idiots he's surrounded by . . . and yet he is in love. A love so pure and sparkling and colourful, Frank feels sure it is 'meant to be'. His love is a reward for all the terrible grey that he is surrounded by - which would be great, if the girl in question knew he existed. And then one day, the perfect sign lands in his lap. A message, in a bottle. A wish, for 'anything that isn't this'. The girl who wrote this is surely his soulmate - and now he just needs to find her.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 480 pages
  • 129 x 197 x 31mm | 382g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Yes
  • 1471404641
  • 9781471404641
  • 492,168

Review quote

An astonishing novel, beautiful to look at, thrilling to read. By turns, brooding, atmospheric, romantic and funny, with the unmistakeable whiff of Kafka. But what stands out for me, are the luminous illustrations by my favourite artist, one Mr. Chris Priestley. -- Chris Riddell This is a beautifully written and illustrated love story with echoes of Kafka, set in an alternative Prague. There are stories within stories, unrequited love and dark humour but what makes this book sing are the seventy stunning illustrations by the author, himself. A perfect coming together of words - and pictures -- Chris Riddell * The Guardian * The writing is ironic and witty, making Frank likeable and completely plausible. The narrative moves rapidly with many twists and short believable incidents; you are immediately caught by the character and the events. Depicted through brief vivid description and the wonderful illustrations, the city itself is the real heart of the book. -- Jaki Brien * School Librarian SLA Journal * This is a dense, demanding read, and its 468 pages might well put off the more reluctant reader. But Priestley's beautiful monochrome illustrations are scattered liberally alongside the text and help the story along no end, as it builds to a phantasmagorical climax * Armadillo Magazine *
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About Chris Priestley

Chris Priestley spent his childhood in Wales and Gibraltar, and his teens in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, before going to art college in Manchester. He moved to London and freelanced as an illustrator and cartoonist for twenty years before getting his first book for children published. He has written lots of books, fiction and non-fiction, has won awards here and abroad and been nominated for many others, including the Carnegie Medal. He now lives in Cambridge and spends a great deal of time looking out of the window... Follow Chris at or on Twitter: @crispriestley
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Rating details

151 ratings
3.31 out of 5 stars
5 15% (23)
4 32% (49)
3 28% (43)
2 17% (25)
1 7% (11)
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