The Sidekicks

Will Kostakis

The Sidekicks
Penguin Books Australia
29 February 2016

The Sidekicks

Will Kostakis

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.


After Isaac dies, his three best friends struggle to fill the space he occupied in their lives. To make the situation worse, the three weren’t actually friends with one another, but now find their lives increasingly tied together through their grief.

The Sidekicks is divided into three parts; each section is narrated by a different character. Ryan ‘the jock’, Harley ‘the rebel’ and Miles ‘the brains’ have little in common other than Isaac. This makes seeing Isaac through three different pairs of eyes a treat. His spectre looms over the story to the perfect degree, present but illusory. Kostakis’ depiction of the other three boys is spot on. They are each fully drawn and heartbreakingly whole. I found that as each section came along I loved that boy the most, and I couldn’t help but see the other two through his eyes.

This is a story about friendship, but also about kindness. Through their grief the boys learn to be kind to one another and to themselves, a lesson that could be taught more often. Not only are the characters fully realised but the plot is engaging and this is a swift, engrossing read. Each boy has a distinctive and engaging voice and my only issue with this book is that I could have read each boy’s story and point of view for the length of a full book!

There is a lot to love about The Sidekicks; the strong and inspiring messages for young adult readers, the beautiful writing, the humour – I should mention that I laughed a lot throughout. But the primary pull is the boys themselves. Their stories, pains and joys are all achingly relatable. And for the record, I’m #TeamHarley. All the way. I’ve got a soft spot for a rebel with a heart of gold.

Isobel Moore

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