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?From Amazon
So I was reading through old blog posts recently and found a few I wrote about reading with my book buddy. He was 10 at the time (he’s grown now) and we read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series together. Because of my cousin, I was an early Rick Riordan fan.
So when I heard that Kwame Mbalia was going to write a story under Riordan’s imprint at Disney that incorporated Black American folktales and West African deities, I knew it was going to be a must read for me.
It’s take me a minute to get to it – I’ve had my copy since November 2019 – but I think I had to be ready. I’m definitely ready now.