Tristan Strong Keeps Punching by Kwame Mbalia

Tristan Strong Keeps Punching by Kwame Mbalia. Disney Hyperion, 2021. 97813680547874

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Fantasy 

What did you like about the book? Tristan Strong is in New Orleans for a Strong family reunion, but also to collect as many Alkeans and their stories as he can in his role as Anansesem. When his Story Box Phone (the “SBP”, which lets him communicate with Anansi) is snatched away, Tristan gets dragged into a new mystery: who is kidnapping children and spirits? We also get introduced to a new named King Cotton. Most important, Tristan must come to terms with the depths of his anger, which is about more than just fighting monsters. With his new Alke powers, Tristan is becoming more aware of the ways in which the historical violence of slavery is affecting the present. “No one else is upset that the story of America has been written in blood! … I’m angry because the world keeps telling me I shouldn’t be angry!” Action packed from start to finish and with the “Riordan Presents” perfect blend of poignant, powerful messages and humorous moments, this book is a worthy conclusion to a fabulous series. Best of all, Gum Baby is back!!

Anything you did not like about the book? The pacing was a little uneven, but overall it’s a wonderful ride!

To whom would you recommend this book? Students who like the Rick Riordan series should definitely try out Tristan Strong.

Who should buy this book? All elementary and middle school libraries and all public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Fantasy

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Absolutely if you’ve read the first two books in the series!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA

Date of review: December 1, 2021

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