Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (A Tristan Strong Novel, Book 1) (Tristan Strong, 1) - book cover
Growing Up & Facts of Life
  • Publisher : Rick Riordan Presents; Reprint edition
  • Published : 22 Sep 2020
  • Pages : 528
  • ISBN-10 : 1368042414
  • ISBN-13 : 9781368042413
  • Language : English

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (A Tristan Strong Novel, Book 1) (Tristan Strong, 1)

Winner of a Coretta Scott King Author HonorBest-selling author Rick Riordan presents Kwame Mbalia's epic fantasy, a middle grade American Gods set in a richly-imagined world populated with African American folk heroes and West African gods.Seventh grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he's going to spend on his grandparents' farm in Alabama, where he's being sent to heal from the tragedy. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie's notebook. Tristan chases after it--is that a doll?--and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature's hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world. Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left black American folk heroes John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky. But bartering with the trickster Anansi always comes at a price. Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves?

Editorial Reviews

Mbalia expertly weaves a meaningful portrayal of family and community with folklore, myth, and history―including the legacy of the slave trade―creating a fast-paced, heroic series starter.―Publishers Weekly

Mbalia's African American and West African gods (with villains tied to U.S. chattel slavery and the Middle Passage specifically) touch on the tensions between the cultures, a cultural nuance oft overlooked. Readers who want more than just a taste of Alke will be eager for future books.―Kirkus

Mbalia's epic debut centers African American characters and tradition, featuring a pantheon of legends and a plot worthy of such tricksters as Brer Rabbit and Anansi the Weaver. Perfectly paced, this cinematic adventure never drags, anchored by Tristan's conversational narration and balanced by his struggle to cope with a friend's passing. It brims with heart, humor, and action, successfully crafting a beautifully unified secondary world that brings the power of stories to glorious life.―Booklist

Overall a stellar mix of the playful and the serious, the traditional and the original, this novel marks the emergence of a strong new voice in myth-based children's fantasy.―BCCB

Part of the "Rick Riordan Presents" series, this debut novel offers a richly realized world, a conversational, breezy style, and a satisfying conclusion that leaves room for sequels.―SLJ

This epic tale is worthy of the endorsement of Rick Riordan, who wrote the preface in this novel. A guaranteed edge-of-your-seat read aloud for upper elementary and middle school fans of tall tales, mythology, and folkloric literary adventures.―SLC

Readers Top Reviews

Foi muito bem a entrega. Meu filho começou a ler o livro essa semana
yves s
Buy this book for my girl, dhe is very happy with it
Sammie B.
I had been waiting for this book ever since it was announced in, what, 2018? It’s been a long, harrowing wait. I’m not the person I once was. TL;DR: THE WAIT WAS MORE THAN WORTH IT. Sooo freaking worth it. This book just absolutely blew away any and all expectations I had. Tristan Strong Punches A Hole in the Sky is a masterful mid-grade story about a relatable kid struggling with grief who happens to enjoy punching things. And who doesn’t? It’s got a black pantheon of gods, a vast new world, and action that just won’t quit. I actually have absolutely no negatives about this book? Despite it being kind of long for middle grade, it was over before I even knew it. My only regret is having to wait for the sequel, because October is soooo far away. My Thoughts: - Tristan’s voice is just so natural and funny that it grabbed me right away. Tristan is a cross between relatable character and snarkmaster, which made him funny without being one-dimensional. And boy did I laugh—so freaking hard—throughout this book. The book is written as if Tristan Strong is telling the reader a story—his story—and there are plenty of moments where Tristan speaks directly to the reader. The voice felt very natural, and the story was almost like sitting around a campfire and having someone tell you how they spent their year. Except … more exciting. - This book has Gum Baby, and she is … erm … well … a force that you just have to read to truly appreciate, I think. Gum Baby is all sass in a very small, sticky frame. From the minute she graced the page, I knew I was going to love her. In fact, all the side characters in this are inexplicably lovable, even the rude, sarcastic, and potentially villainous ones. I don’t want to talk about too many of the side characters, because discovering the pantheon for yourself is part of the journey. - There’s the whole world of Midpass to explore in this book, and it’s as wondrous as it is terrifying, and I never wanted to leave. I loved the journey through this world and all the new locations and creatures and people that are discovered. It’s giant and vast, and obviously, there’s more bits of it to be uncovered in the subsequent books, and I’m so ready for it. - There’s a whole pantheon of black gods, legends that have come to life, and this was such a refreshing take on mythology. The pantheon in this book is a mixture of Akan gods (like Anansi the storyteller and Nyame, the sky god) and African American folk legends (like John Henry and Brer Rabbit). It was so exciting and nostalgic to get to read about the heroes from the stories I heard or read as a child. I just grew more and more excited as the book went on and I recognized more and more things I was familiar with. And if you’ve never heard of these things, regardless of your age? It’s a nice introduction into a rich culture of lore....
Bought this book for my 10 yr. old son as a birthday present. He is loving it so far!
I found Kwame Mbalia on Twitter by accident a few months ago, and he’s smart and hilarious. When I found out his first book was coming out, I went ahead and ordered it. The forward starts with high praise from Rick Riordan, who says he envies those of us reading it for the first time. That’s my favorite compliment to give any book or show. Tristan Strong does NOT disappoint. I’m not really a fantasy/folktale kind of person, but I should really stop saying that because I loved this book and it’s both of those, and more. It’s clever and heartfelt and unlike anything else I’ve read. If you loved Black Panther, though, I can almost guarantee you’ll love Tristan. Buy a copy for yourself and at least one more for a kid, a classroom, a little free library, or a school library near you. It’s the kind of book you finish and want everyone around you to read it immediately so you can gush over it with them.

Featured Video