Thanks to NetGalley and Disney Publishing Worldwide for a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review!
You guys. When I saw the email saying I had access to the ARC of Tristan Strong Destroys the World I started dancing in my classroom. Seriously. (I don’t have students in class yet, so it wasn’t super embarrassing.) I have been excited to read this for months and as you will read below, it didn’t disappoint! It was definitely a bright moment in the midst of a difficult teaching time.
In this sequel to Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia, a month has passed since Tristan has left Alke and his new friends after defeating an evil haint and fixing the tear between worlds. Things seem slightly back to normal under spirits show up at his grandparents’ farm and warn him of a new evil coming his way…which soon shows up, trashes the farm, and kidnaps Nana, taking her back to Alke. With the help of new and old friends, Tristan must return to Alke and use his powers as an Anansesem (storyteller) to try to save Nana and both of the worlds he loves from a terrible fate.
In the words of Tristan Strong, SWEET PEACHES. That is the exact phrase that went through my head after finishing this book. I loved it just as much as I loved the first one, and maybe even a tiny bit more. Mbalia has such a gift of communicating about tough subjects (trauma, in particular) in such eloquent and accessible ways. I read this for my myself, but also thinking about my 7th grade students and not only does Mbalia communicate about trauma, but he teaches his readers what that even means, the many ways it can manifest itself in those who have experienced it, and how one might try to start to heal. The storytelling element in this second book was stunning–in the stories themselves and in the way Tristan has to learn new aspects of his power. Tristan Strong Destroys the World was exciting and impactful and then end had me like WHOA. There was nothing I disliked about this book and I can’t wait to tell my students about it!
HIGHLY recommend. If you love middle-grade novels, or anything by Rick Riordan or the “Rick Riordan Presents” line, you will love this one. It is necessary to read these books in order–if you pick this one up first you might be a bit confused. I’m so excited to talk the ear off of everyone I know about this book (like I did with the first one).
Wishing lots of bright moments for all of you, and keep reading! 🙂