Will Kostakis’, American debut novel, The Sidekicks is an exploration of grief. Although that may sound heavy, Kostakis weaves in all aspects of friendship, sexuality, internal thoughts, and family to create a story that is lighthearted and hopeful.
Chronicling the events of the death of Isaac, a wild jokester, the author writes in three different perspectives of the three different boys who were connected by Isaac. In the contrasting sections of the book we learn about the swimmer (Ryan), the rebel (Harley), and the nerd (Miles), otherwise recognized as the Sidekicks. Each section discusses how they deal with the loss of their connecting friend whether they attempt to drown their pain through sports, turn to drinking to both forget and remember the times spent together, or become a hermit, isolated through thoughts, the whole range of emotions which surround grief are shown through the experiences of these three boys.
This novel is purely human. The writing is simplistic. and the characters are so real. Additionally, the work was practical, showing how grief disconnected the characters, yet through their grief they were also drawn together into a strong friendship. Much of this is owed to the fact that as a teen, Will Kostakis lost his best friend in a similar way as Isaac was killed, and Kostakis reflected that each of the characters reflected a bit of himself and the way that he translated his grief.
The author delves into each of the characters, approaching them as being wholly different, which allows them to be more interesting to read about. Kostakis definitely shows these characters in contrasting ways, down to even the way in which they speak. This was one of the most appealing parts of this story, as well as being an interesting study in the human brain and human emotions. He also delves into all of the different stories that people have, demonstrating how the masks people wear in society are much different than the tale beneath the surface.
This novel was largely riveting and an easy read, though it by no means tackled an easy topic. It was thought-provoking and charming and thoroughly enjoyable. I recommend this book to everyone, as it gives a hopeful perspective on grief and leaves the reader feeling whole and happy. It has definitely earned a spot on my bookshelf!