Thoughts: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

So Rick Riordan Presents has had some hits and missing for me. Honestly mostly misses in the past year or so. Even one of my favorite authors completely missed the mark. This one though, very much a win! Click through for my loose thoughts.


Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

Source: Library/Libby Checkout
TL;DR: Very Recommended for fans of Middle Grade/YA

Some loose thoughts:

  • This book takes a wonderful look at old vs new. We see the new myths and legends of those people who were forced into slavery working (or not working) with their original myths and legends. I fully didn’t expect that, and when I realized what was happening it was amazing.
  • This book is much darker than I anticipated at turns as well. Tristan survived a bus crash that his best friend did not. Because of that he suffers with survivor’s guilt and grief. For me, as a person learning to deal with heavy grief, this meant a lot to me. It honestly surprised me how unflinching it was with those images and feelings but it really worked, especially balanced out by some of the more ridiculous humor.

“The point is,” High John interrupted with a ghost of a grin, “you should grieve your friend. But remember to live your life as it is now, and not how it would have been. Never forget, but accept. Understand?”

  • The humor was a bit over the top into the age bracket, but balanced out by the moments of profound grief and imagery like I mention above, it worked out. I found myself laughing out loud and let’s be honest – most of my highlights are of the most ridiculous middle grade jokes (really my kind of humor). If you don’t enjoy simple grade school humor, a lot of this will be a miss for you.

Tristan Strong the butterfly whisperer. Whoop-de-poop-de-do.

  • This book felt like a complete world. A complete story. There was no innate awareness I had during this that this was a ‘Rick Riordan’ book. It didn’t feel like it was trying to be one of his books. This was just happened to be put out by his imprint, but was would have stood incredibly strong on it’s own. The characters were fascinating, layered, and fun. I really recommend this one.

Everybody wears life’s scars a little differently, I supposed.


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