Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

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Series: Tristan Strong Vol. 1   

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Annotation: Percy Jackson meets American Gods in a richly-imagined world populated by African American folk heroes and West African gods.
Catalog Number: #253783
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 482 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-368-04241-4 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8744-3
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-368-04241-3 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8744-4
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018057192
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
Publishers Weekly
In this triumphant middle grade debut inspired by West African mythology and African-American folk tales, black seventh grader Tristan Strong is sent from Chicago to spend the summer on his grandparents- Alabama farm. His best friend has just died, and he-s lost a boxing match (much to his boxing family-s disappointment). When a talking doll named Gum Baby steals his prized book of stories-
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 58 Tristan is reluctantly on his way to spend the summer with his grandparents on the family farm. In his pocket he carries the journal of his best friend Eddie, killed in a bus accident. Tristan's survivor guilt means he hasn't read the journal, and he is trying very hard to ignore the strange green glow coming from its cover. When Gum Baby, a figure from West African legend, tries to steal the journal, Tristan races to retrieve it, breaking a bottle on his grandmother's bottle tree and falling through a flaming hole into a parallel world. Here, the stories Tristan's grandmother tells are solidly real: in the course of breathless chases, close escapes, and mounting stakes, he meets John Henry, Brer Fox, High John the Conqueror, and other figures from African and African American folklore. A race to retrieve Anansi's story box reveals Tristan's destiny as an Anansesem, a storyteller of power, and makes him a pivotal figure in the saving of this strange new world. While the novel is lengthy, the pace is quick, secondary characterizations are nicely delineated, and the folkloric figures are heroic and true to their legends. The world-building includes evocative descriptions of skeleton ships, manacled monsters, and deadly villains. In addition to being rife with action, the story is rooted in the emotional journey of the protagonist; between making friends and losing them, Tristan finally makes peace with Eddie's death. VERDICT 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. Janice M. Del Negro, GSLIS Dominican University, River Forest, IL
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* After losing his debut boxing match, two weeks following his best friend Eddie's death, Tristan Strong is sent to his grandparents' Alabama farm. He grew up on his nana's stories ack American folklore and African myths ich Eddie had been collecting in writing. This journal is all Tristan has left of his friend, so when one of those myths, the hilariously volatile Gum Baby, shows up to steal it, Tristan gives chase. In the struggle, he punches a Bottle Tree, inadvertently unleashing an evil spirit and tearing a hole into a parallel universe. The world he falls into is an amalgam of Nana's stories, and as Tristan lands in the middle of a conflict between gods, heroes, and ruthless iron monsters apping, serpentine manacles must reclaim Eddie's journal and return home, but not before discovering his own power and fixing the damage he caused. 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.
Word Count: 100,219
Reading Level: 4.8
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.8 / points: 15.0 / quiz: 505341 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.2 / points:23.0 / quiz:Q77794
Lexile: HL680L

Winner of a Coretta Scott King Author Honor

Best-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?

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