Today we're excited to spotlight The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis, plus author guest post, and giveaway!
Meet Will Kostakis!
Will Kostakis lives in Sydney, where he writes books for teens and the adults who like to read about them. In his native Australia, he’s a critically acclaimed and award-winning author having won the Gold Inky Award, and was shortlisted for both the Prime Minister’s Literary and the Children’s Book Council Australia Book of the Year for his sophomore novel, The First Third. The Sidekicks is his American debut.
Meet The Sidekicks!
Ryan, Harley and Miles are very different people—the swimmer, the rebel and the nerd. All they've ever had in common is Isaac, their shared best friend.
When Isaac dies unexpectedly, the three boys must come to terms with their grief and the impact Isaac had on each of their lives. In his absence, Ryan, Harley and Miles discover things about one another they never saw before, and realize there may be more tying them together than just Isaac.
In this intricately woven story told in three parts, award-winning Australian author Will Kostakis makes his American debut with a heartwarming, masterfully written novel about grief, self-discovery and the connections that tie us all together.
WHY DO I WRITE YA?
by Will Kostakis
It’s one of the most common questions I’m asked when I tour: Why do I write YA? It comes in different shapes—sometimes, it’s a question about what inspires me to tell stories about young adults, other times, it’s one about when I’ll “graduate” to writing books for adults.
My answer has evolved as I’ve gotten older. I signed my first Australian book deal in my senior year of high school. I was writing the stories I wanted to read as a teenager, reflecting my own experiences – being a young adult author made complete sense.
A decade has since passed. With The Sidekicks, I’m still writing YA, and it still makes complete sense to me.
When you write about teenagers, there’s so much to talk about ... Young adult novels are often books filled with firsts—exciting and terrifying new experiences that make for rich stories. Whether it’s contemporary realism or science fiction, the stakes are always so high because YA protagonists are on the edge of the rest of their lives. They’re not only discovering who they are, but they’re realising who they’d like to be.
The Sidekicks is about four boys, but they’re not four best friends, they’re three boys with the same best friend. Then that best friend dies, and those three boys have to rebuild their lives. This is the first time they’re grappling with the death of a peer. It inspires a whole lot of soul-searching, and reshapes the ways they look at the world and how they live in it.
When you write about teenagers, you reconnect with your teen self ... While there’s more to writing fiction than simply revisiting your own experiences, bringing teenage characters to life often requires you to rediscover who you used to be, the good aspects and the bad. That means mining old social media posts, revisiting chat histories and email accounts you’ve long since abandoned. It’s the closest thing to time travel. You laugh, you cringe, but you’re reminded of who you were and how far you’ve come. Sometimes in life, you can’t see the forest for the trees. Immersing yourself in your past with the knowledge of your present allows you to make more sense of the trajectory of your life.
The Sidekicks was borne out of heartbreak—one of my closest friends passed away when I was a teenager. It devastated me and the lives of those around me. In the thick of it, I couldn’t see myself moving past it. With some distance, I not only recognise my own resilience, but also, how the experience shaped me and my life. The heart breaks, but the heart heals. It just beats a little differently.
When you write about teenagers, you’re welcomed into a wonderful community ... The international YA community is so incredible. There’s always someone to prop you up, be it an author who’ll be generous with advice, and more importantly, help you draft a challenging kissing scene (I’m looking at you, Amie Kaufman), or a reader who’ll toss an encouraging message over social media. I experienced the community first as an avid reader, and then as a writer ... We’re a family, bonded by our shared love of young adult books. No matter how far I travel, I always find someone to trade recommendations with (“A S King, Laurie Halse Anderson, Adam Silvera, Patrick Ness, how about you?”), someone to debate endings with, someone to ask questions, and someone to ask questions of me.
And when they ask, “Why do you write YA?” I tell them, “The answer’s you.”
By: Will Kostakis
Release Date: October 17, 2017
One winner will receive a hardcover copy of House of Ash (US only).