a review by Nalini Haynes
The First Third blurb concludes with the comment that ‘It’s a Greek tragedy waiting to happen’, Will’s sense of humour pervades even the cover.
Bill is a Greek Australian teenager whose Yiayia (grandmother) is elderly; his secret fear is that she will die. Yiayia doesn’t look after herself so she ends up in hospital. Being a meddling stereotypical Greek matriarch, Yiayia gives Bill a list of three things to do to make her happy:
- Find your mummy a husband
- Have Simon girlfriend in Sydney – Simon is gay but Yiayia doesn’t know this; Simon also lives in Brisbane)
- Fix Peter – Bill doesn’t know what’s wrong with Peter other than he’s turned into an antisocial teenager.
So the fun begins.
I really don’t want to spoil this story so I’ll say as little as possible to entice you to read it.
Firstly, this is not SF or fantasy, this is firmly grounded in real-life contemporary Australia, complete with twitter feed.
I read The First Third in the library in an afternoon last week. My intention was to read for half an hour or an hour then do some homework. I couldn’t put the damn book down.
I’m a tough audience: I don’t usually laugh out loud when reading.
Will Kostakis won me over to read his book when he spoke at the Penguin Teen Australia launch last week. I was not disappointed. This book has character.
Apparently Will has confessed that the Yiayia in the book is based on his own grandmother and the family on his family then taking it to flights of fantasy. After this became public knowledge, at The First Third book launch Will’s Yiayia set up her own autograph line. And had more people queuing for autographs than Will.
Will hopes that was because Yiayia bribed people with baklava.
Read this book.