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While I was skimming through the books at Barnes & Noble one weekend, I was beginning to feel restless because I couldn’t find a novel I was interested in buying. I was about to head for the Graphics section when suddenly a wide, magenta-colored book caught my eye. Its title was Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky. I reached for it and immediately noticed the bright yellow “Rick Riordan Presents” symbol on the front. Rick Riordan was one of my favorite authors at the time and had written many fantasy books about mythology.

I opened the book and started reading. Tristan was a boy from Chicago who was transported into another world following two devastating events in his own life, including the death of his best friend. This book contains many of the supernatural characteristics that show up in many of Riordan’s books, but I think what sets this book apart is that there is a story behind this character: There was a terrible accident, and while Tristan is dealing with it, he gets involved in the difficulties of a group of people from a whole other world asking for his help. He has to choose between dwelling on his own loss and taking charge to help others.

Bravery in battle doesn’t mean anything when you decide to help a random group of people who are in terrible danger while your best friend just died. But even though Tristan is still grieving for his friend, he is still willing to help others who need help. Tristan learned to look out for others and not just for himself. His selflessness is something that I think we can all learn from. This book made me think that even though I don’t live in a magical world of mythology, I can still give the same caring attitude to everyone and be very selfless to others. It’s not about the setting, it’s about the characteristics of the person, and he inspired me to try to be more like him.

That is why I highly recommend this book to read—not just because of the events that happen, but because of the story behind this character, and the lessons that blend with the regular excitement that comes from an action-packed book.

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia. Rick Riordan Presents, 2019. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!

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