Title: Loathing Lola
Author: William Kostakis
Published: 2008 by Pan Macmillan
Pages: 346
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Fifteen-year-old Courtney Marlow didn’t exactly think it through. She thought the offer to have her life broadcast on national television was the perfect solution to her family’s financial troubles.

She was wrong.

Mackenzie Dahl, the show’s producer, promised to show Australia a real teenager. Courtney was going to be a positive role model, someone on television without a boob job and an eating disorder.

Soon, everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame via a little bit of Courtney – especially her conniving friend Katie, and her stepmother, Lola. And Courtney is just beginning to realise that ‘ordinary’ does not translate to ‘entertaining’…

Final Thoughts:
Perhaps having read Will’s later published books first left me at a disadvantage going in to this. It was hard not to compare the differences and notice how much he has grown since this book. Loathing Lola, while not feeling as polished, did still have a fun plot. It was kind of like Degrassi in its tone, along with the high school setting taking the forefront, but very much Australian. Had we gotten to know the characters a bit better, to see what made them tick, I think I would have enjoyed it more. Although, taking it for what it was, it had more than enough humour and angst to keep me turning the pages.

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Title: The Sidekicks
Author: Will Kostakis
Published: February, 2016 by Penguin
Pages: 256
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: Booktopia

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.

Final Thoughts:
Divided into thirds, each one housed a different perspective of the remaining friends of Isaac, showing us how they coped with life as a teenager after his sudden death. Without having seen the four of them together, initially it was hard picturing how they’d been friends. Although, it was pointed out a few times that they weren’t—that the three of them merely orbited Isaac, getting along with the others merely a part of being in Isaac’s life. And with him gone, their quasi-friend group quickly fell apart. I think seeing that happen felt quite realistic. Pretty much all of it did. Reading Sidekicks took me back to what is was like being young and insecure, making the wrong decisions but feeling like there were no other ones to make.

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Title: The First Third
Author: Will Kostakis
Published: July, 2013 by Penguin, AU
Pages: 248
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: Dymocks // Amazon Kindle // Kobo

Life is made up of three parts: in the first third, you’re embarrassed by your family; in the second, you make a family of your own; and in the end, you just embarrass the family you’ve made.

That’s how Billy’s grandmother explains it, anyway. She’s given him her bucket list (cue embarrassment), and now, it’s his job to glue their family back together.

No pressure or anything.

Fixing his family’s not going to be easy and Billy’s not ready for change. But as he soon discovers, the first third has to end some time. And then what?

It’s a Greek tragedy waiting to happen.

Final Thoughts:
It’s hard to believe how good this was. After Felicity hyping it at the Brisbane PTA event earlier in the year, I decided I’d probably keep an eye out for it. But with three or four months to wait for the release, and adding in my goldfish memory, it slipped by me until a random trip into a Dymocks store on Election Day. I’m so glad I spotted it, finally finding something that was able to reignite my love of reading. Honestly, this past year, I haven’t been able to say I was truly hooked on anything I’ve picked up, well, until now. I’ve enjoyed some of them, but The First Third was just plain freaking awesome. And yes, I’m sure my roommates have heard me use those exact words these past few days. If I could have skipped my cousin’s wedding yesterday to finish this book, I would have.

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