Will Kostakis’ The First Third is a brilliant coming-of-age story that will please fans of Melina Marchetta, John Green, and Nick Hornby.

the first third coverBilly is no stranger to family embarrassment. But when his grandmother falls ill and asks him to complete her bucket list, he is in brand new territory.

Now it’s up to Billy to do what his grandmother couldn’t. But there’s no sky-diving or international travel on this list, instead his grandmother wants Billy to fix his family. From his desperately dating mother to his physically and emotionally absent brothers, suddenly it is all Billy’s responsibility.

Impossible, right? Especially when Billy is more than distracted by Hayley. But Billy is not the only one with problems – both Hayley and his best friend, Sticks, are keeping something from him. With love, laughter, and food (hey, he’s Greek), can Billy fix his family before it is too late?

Review: ‘The First Third’

The First Third is a searingly honest and sneakily funny look at family, and identity. It will charm its way into your heart until you can’t help but push it at every person you know, just like, well, us.

Author Will Kostakis writes with a refreshing style, free of vanity and unwilling to condescend to his audience. It is clear in every page that he is writing a world that he knows intimately, and for a moment, he has invited you to join him there.

The novel as a whole is comprised of many smaller moments that could easily be anecdotes taken directly from life (and in some cases, they are). As with many fictional protagonists, Billy is both clueless and astonishingly self-aware. The world through his eyes is a complicated place, as he attempts to navigate his own growth while dealing with the uncomfortably close reality of life, and death.

The focus of food within the novel works as a wonderful parallel for the different types of love Billy feels. Kostakis breaks down this complicated business of loving into the simple gesture of caring for another person, a theme that resounds throughout The First Third.

Whether or not you yourself have experienced the situations described in the novel, or met people exactly like these, you will find yourself identifying because the core of this story is an undeniably human one. The characters are fully formed and realistic, and despite their outward appearance (such as the gay disabled sidekick character), they never become stereotypes.

The First Third is a gift of a novel. It proposes to the reader that there is a lovely simplicity of the human condition if only we can take a minute to find it. We are keeping a close eye on Will Kostakis to see what his next move is, and once you have finished this novel, we assure you that you will be doing the same.

The First Third will be published on July 24 2013. Look out for our interview with Will Kostakis, coming soon.

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