I bought this book at the Melbourne Writers Festival, though, alas, I didn’t get to hear him speak this year.
It’s a very entertaining story which begins with hero Connor trying unsuccessfully to set up a meeting with his former best friend Olly, who has dumped him for being boring, and finding himself in an unknown part of his very old private boys’ school, along with a girl called Sally and a stone man called Darroch, who’s a god. Next thing he knows, he’s zipping all over Sydney’s oldest schools to find four more gods and move them to safety, being followed by a pizza delivery guy who is more than he seems, time travelling and finding a new friend, Locky, who is “the most gorgeous guy to ever roam the earth” (did I mention Connor is gay?) who is also drawn into the adventure. But they might just be heading for disaster and these five gods have their own problems which might also affect ordinary humans...
In a past blog post I described Will Kostakis as Australia’s answer to American YA author David Levithan in style. He has something else in common: the fact that each book is different from the last. You never know what you’re going to get, except until now all of them have been contemporary fiction. He did contribute a short story to an anthology of speculative fiction a couple of years ago, but in general, it has been contemporary. However, we’ve had a novel seen from a girl’s viewpoint, Loathing Lola, which is a commentary about reality TV and how many friends you might suddenly have when you’re on TV. The second novel, The First Third, was about a teenage boy trying to do his grandmother’s bucket list of requests and get his family back together. Sidekicks is set in an exclusive boys’ school in which three friends of a dead boy remember their relationships with him and gradually become friends with each other; he was the only thing they had in common. This is his first fantasy novel, and it looks set to be a series.
This one covers some serious issues, but also plenty of humour. The hero is not exactly Superman. There are some hilarious scenes. However, like Billy, the hero of The First Third, he is kindhearted, and loves his family, including his Greek grandfather, now suffering dementia in a nursing home. Nobody has visited the old man in some time, but Connor finds a way to make up for that. Connor understands that there is more to people than simple good and evil, and that they make mistakes. And despite finding someone special, he doesn’t quite forget his friend, who might have dumped him, but had been good to him in the past, shown him wonderful things and didn’t reject him when he came out as gay, only for being boring(we discover that this was because Connor, a non drinker, had refused to attend a boozy party).
Very much recommended for both boys and girls from about fourteen upwards!
Easily available in your local good bookstore or in ebook. If you’re outside Australia you can order it from Book Depository.