English / Australia

The first third

Kostakis, Will (text)
Melbourne: Penguin Books, 2013. – 247 p.
ISBN 978-0-14-356817-9

Children of immigrants | Cultural identity | Grief | Coming-of-age novel

≫I was fourteen when my grandmother taught me about love and the difference between moussaka and lasagne.≪ Seventeen-year-old Billy Tsiolkas has a problem or two. Not only has he fallen in love with an Australian ≫lasagne≪ girl (as opposed to a good Greek ≫moussaka≪ girl), but his grandmother has handed him her bucket list, demanding that he act as the glue to patch up his broken family.

Whereas the first item – ≫Find your mummy husband≪ – if not exactly easy, might be at least manageable, fixing his two brothers’ lives seems an insurmountable task for Billy, even with the ingenious help from his best friend Sticks. In turn hilarious and heartbreaking, this moving novel about a Greek-Australian family and their struggle with life and with their beloved matriarchal grandmother’s sudden death is the second novel of young author Will Kostakis. The fast-paced, dialogue-driven narration immediately sucks readers into the story and doesn’t release them until the very last page. (Age: 14+)