The First Third by Will Kostakis
‘Life is made up of three parts: In the first third you’re embarrassed by your family; in the second, you make a family; and in the end, you just embarrass the family you’ve made’. What a line, and what a theme.
Billy’s family is falling apart. One brother has headed off interstate to live. Mum is dating, and not all the dates work out. His younger brother won’t speak to anybody. And to top it all off, YiaYia (grandmother) is in hospital. Life is falling apart. But then YiaYia gives him her bucket list…and life falls apart a bit further.
This is a lovely, funny family story. A warm fuzzy alternative to all the dystopian fiction written now for YAs. The reader will laugh at Will’s antics, cringe during his first date, and cry with him during the funeral. But supporting Will, and the reader, is a traditional Greek extended family.
This book has been shortlisted for the CBC under the category Older Readers. I enjoyed the book, but I have some question about whether it is really the best book written last year. Nearly half the book is taken up establishing characters and background. It isn’t until Will gets the bucket list that the story becomes something wonderful. For that reason, I don’t think it is outstanding enough to be Book of the Year.
But then I am often wrong…