Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Tristan Strong #1

Kwame Mbalia

fiction childrens fantasy
adventurous emotional lighthearted medium-paced

496 pages | first published 2019

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 journal. 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 gods 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?

What the community thinks

summary of 420 ratings (see reviews)

Content warnings

Expand filter menu View warnings


adventurous 100%
funny 70%
emotional 54%
inspiring 37%
hopeful 35%
lighthearted 23%
mysterious 23%
tense 21%
reflective 18%
informative 12%
challenging 6%
dark 6%
sad 3%


fast 51%
medium 45%
slow 3%

Plot- or character-driven?

Plot: 68% | A mix: 21% | Character: 10%

Strong character development?

Yes: 91% | No: 5% | It's complicated: 3%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 88% | It's complicated: 10% | No: 1%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 96% | It's complicated: 3%

Flaws of characters a main focus?

Yes: 82% | It's complicated: 13% | N/A: 1% | No: 1%

Average rating