Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Date Published: February 29th 2016
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Buy: Amazon // Book Depository
Australian: Angus & Robertson // Booktopia // Penguin
Follow Will Kostakis on Twitter
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.
I read this right after I finished The Raven King and it helped my hangover so much. I was desperate for more books focusing on friendship and the fact that this was about a group of boys and would probably make me cry was enough for me to decide to read it next. I also love supporting Australian YA. There are so many amazing Aussie YA books out there and I want them to get the recognition they deserve!
The Sidekicks is about a group of guys (Ryan, Harley and Miles) who are all trying to deal with the death of their best friend, Isaac. Ryan, Harley and Miles aren’t really friends with each other. The boys only common denominator was Isaac and now they have to try and navigate a world without him, whilst dealing with their own individual issues.
Ryan, Harley and Miles all have their own perspective in the book. The Sidekicks is divided into sections – not chapters. Normally this would have bothered me, but it worked really well for this book. Each section read like a short story or novella and everything came together beautifully at the end. I know this might make a few people hesitant, but I actually think this book wouldn’t have worked as well with chapters because it would have disrupted the flow of the story. The sections all connect and overlap in a way that is anything but repetitive. I actually found the style really refreshing.
I’m not sure how but Will Kostakis managed to make an off page friendship seem completely 100% genuine and believable in three or four pages. I hadn’t seen Isaac’s friendship between any of the boys, but boy did I feel it. I was crying on page five. Their grief was so real. I felt the pain every single one of them was feeling.
“How was your afternoon?”
“No one died, so it was a big improvement on my morning.”
All three boys have such an unique voice and personality. Their respective sections all have their own writing style, but it doesn’t disrupt anything. Admitedly, I did have a bit of trouble with Miles’ section because it was written in script format, but it 100% made sense for his character so I didn’t mind.
It was so interesting seeing how they faced the problems they were dealing with. Ryan was trying to deal with coming out (and I thought it was handled brilliantly), Harley (who was my favourite and who gave me serious Ronan vibes) was dealing with an absent mother and feeling responsible for Isaac’s death and Miles was worried that he was never really Isaac’s friend at all. I loved going on the journey with them as they tried to work out just who they were without Isaac. I loved seeing Ryan, Harley and Miles challenge their labels and also learn to accept themselves. You really got to see them figure things out and they all had such brilliant character development. I loved watching the friendship between the three of them grow as they came together to try and deal with their loss. I also loved that Isaac felt like a main character because of how he lived on in the memories of each boy.
I loved that this book didn’t have absent parents (and the one parent that was kind of absent was handled brilliantly) and we even got to see their relationship with various teachers. It made the whole thing seem so much real. There was no contrived and convenient romances.
The main thing I loved about this book was how it dealt with grief. It showed that everyone experiences it differently and there’s no right or wrong way. To be a bit personal my nana passed away in 2014. I was extremely close with her, she helped raise me. It’s something I still struggle with every day. Reading this book has definitely helped me be okay with my own grief. I’m allowed to miss her, but I know I need to still try and keep living.
“Time is pulling us apart. With every second that passes, the space between us widens. Today, I saw him yesterday. In a few days, it will have been last week. Then, last month. And there is nothing I can do to keep time from wedging more of itself between us. It is inevitable.”
This book will make you laugh and cry with it’s perfect balance of wit and heartwarming moments. You truly see how much the boys care about each other and how much they cared about Isaac. It’s such an incredible friendship.
And the ending, oh boy. I’m not going to spoil anything, but I’ll just say that this quite possibly one of my favourite endings ever. It was perfect. I cried and had goosebumps. It was so fitting.
I honestly can’t recommend this book enough especially if you’re a fan of beautiful, coming of age contemporaries that feature well developed characters and wonderful friendships. The Sidekicks is brilliant, smart and so important. I never wanted it to end.
My Rating: ★★★★★
P.S. Just in case you needed some more convincing there was a Harry Potter reference.
Also, Will Kostakis is hilarious and you should definitely watch this interview he did with Chami @ ReadLikeWildFire.