The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis


ISAAC: You have your party of monsters and they fight other parties. There’s strategy to it. You don’t win because you have six of the same type. You need to have a varied group so that whatever someone throws at you, you’re covered.
MILES: And what? We are your Pokémon?
ISAAC: Yes. The swimmer, the rebel and the nerd.
MILES: And what does that make you?
ISAAC: The guy with the best team.

Title: The Sidekicks
Author: Will Kostakis
Why you should read this book: Because it will show you different ways to react to a loss and it will be moving and also a little bit funny.

Summary from Goodreads:

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.

Photos are not lies. We might perform in them, but they are proof. They are evidence that two paths intersected and two people marked each other in some way, even if only for a moment.

The swimmer, the rebel and the nerd. Three sidekicks of the same guy. This guy, the only thing they have in common, is gone, dead. Now what? They are not friends, they know about each other but they don’t hang out, not when Isaac was alive, not with Isaac gone. What are they now, to themselves and to each other?

I liked this book more than I anticipated. I didn’t expect it to be divided in three parts, one for each sidekick. I kind of wanted to know more about each of them but they told us what we needed to know. Maybe wanting more is just a side effect of my never-ending curiosity.

‘This ends now. We’re breaking bread.’ The waiter gets to us before Thommo’s had time to peruse. ‘Do you have bread?’ ‘We have croissants?’ Thommo blinks. ‘We’re breaking croissant.’

These three guys are very different from each other. Ryan is the secretly gay swimmer, Olympic promise and son of one of the teachers in the all-boys high school they all attend. Harley, my favorite, is the “I skip class, drink and do drugs” rebel. Miles is the socially awkward film enthusiast nerd. The three of them has nothing in common besides Isaac but this loss, the grief of losing their best friend has some impact on their behavior, on the way they interact.

I love how the story unravels itself to reveal the secrets each of them had with Isaac and now that he is gone in some way they were revealed to their not-friends and something also to someone who didn’t have to know anything at all.

I am not fine. I am somewhere between numb and broken.

The way they grief was painful to read. One day they laugh with their best friend, someone who brings a lot to your life, and the next day he is gone. Nothing more: one day you have the world, infinite possible futures, then the next day your life stops, it resets and it has to find a way to work without that element that before was irreplaceable.

It’s hard to read, hard to live. It happened to me, it happened and happens everyday to a lot of people, life stops for a second, and then it has to move on. How the hell are we supposed to move on? You just have to. Simple as it sounds, it’s one of the hardest things to do.

I sit down and Harley says he needs to use the bathroom, only he says it with more vulgar words.

Harley was my favorite character for so many reasons you may understand reading the book, but the quotes I loved the most were Miles’, one of the characters I didn’t really like at first. Miles explains what happened to them with Isaac with the perfect metaphor, in my opinion. The TV show metaphor is hard to explain. I tried, I wrote it here where I’m writing this and had to delete it because it was a complete mess. Simple: read the book, it’s short and if some of this babbling got to you and convinced you that this book is worth it, go buy it now! I didn’t regret buying it, that’s for sure!

This is not a finale. This is the pilot of the spin-off. Instead of a fade to black, I see our opening titles.

Do I recommend it? Yes, I do, read it and tell me if you liked it as much as I did.
Rate: 5/5


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