The Swimmer. The Rebel. The Nerd.
All Ryan, Harley and Miles had in common was Isaac. They lived different lives, had different interests and kept different secrets. But they shared the same best friend. They were sidekicks. And now that Isaac’s gone, what does that make them?
Will Kostakis, award-winning author of The First Third, perfectly depicts the pain and pleasure of this teenage world, piecing together three points of view with intricate splendour.
THIS BOOK. Let’s talk about Kostakis and his book that’s going to send me into a cardiac arrest because my nerves can’t take it and my heart can’t cope.
There is so much to love about this story, the boys themselves in particular. I fell in love with Ryan from page one. Through his entire story I rooted for him, feared for him, practically fell in love with who he is and I regret nothing.
Harley was different. Harley got a gradual and slow leak sympathy that turned my affections to him by the end. I never disliked him, there’s always reasons why someone is they way are, reasons we see early on in his perspective. But even from those understandings there becomes something more that makes you adore him ever so slightly. Harley is rebellious and doesn’t seem to care, but there are moments, brilliant moments, and it’s clear he’s just a kid and he’s lost and he’s a teenage boy.
Miles, oh Miles. He comes off as so standoffish and no one seems to like him and it is torture you have to wait until the final section to hear his story, but when you do, oh my goodness. I don’t want to pity miles, he doesn’t make you either. But in a way he is almost his own worst enemy but at the same time he isn’t. He is just Miles. Like Harley is took a bit of warming up to him, his style, but getting inside his mind breaks your heart and having Miles tell his story after the other two is a divine and perfect move by Kostakis.
What I adored about this book was how we got to see each guy deal with what happens. We see their coping mechanisms, their mistakes, and their grief. Each boy does something different and learning how to live in a world without Isaac is a learning curve for them all in many different ways.
If I could shove this book into the hands of every one I passed on the street I would be happy. This isn’t a book that will automatically change your world or your opinion or try to teach you anything. It may do that, I don’t know, but this book is a fantastic and invigorating experience. You become so invested in every little aspect of this book and these three guys and their lives, even Isaac. I was invested in his life and who he is and technically he isn’t even in it!
Isaac comes to life on the pages, we see who he was through his three friends, see his relationship with each of them, what he meant to them. As much as you fall in love (granted of varying degrees) with each of the boys, you fall in love with Isaac as well.
The structure has to be addressed because breaking the story into the three perspectives was not only marvellous, but each section is like a mini cliff hanger that sends you into a cascade of emotions and stress. Each of the boys start their story from the same time point give or take, and we see overlapping moments to previously mentioned conversations or events, but Kostakis does not make it feel like a recap, it’s seamless and fits so incredibly well. By the time we hit part three with Miles we have many of the same events retold differently again, but the time frame continually jumps and even after the third retelling it’s a totally new experience. Miles tells his story in his own way, one that suits the kind of person Miles is, and it is fantastic and a total favour to the story.
Miles is the perfect conclusion to this story and Kostakis makes it suit his personality brilliantly and it concludes the book and the emotional experience you’ve endured in the most fitting way (I was an emotional wreck but I was through most of it so it doesn’t count for much).
I want to give details about so much of this book but I refuse to spoil anything. It’s so bitter sweet, you’re crying but you’re happy and it’s perfect. You become attached to these characters almost immediately and you feel and understand every aspect of their lives, even when it can be so different from your own. The way Kostakis writes and gets inside the mind of these boys makes us understand without it being pushed on us, or even whether it was intentional. Kostakis makes your heart skip and tears well in your eyes, and the ending (and this novel) is everything you could ever ask for. It’s bumpy yet seamless and every other word for perfect there is.
You can purchase The Sidekicks via the following