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The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis (Penguin Random House Australia)
In this powerful novel three teenage boys, Ryan, Harley and Miles, must fill a void left by the one thing they had in common: their recently deceased best friend, Isaac. His death has exposed the frailty of the boys’ relationships and they discover that the same secrets that bound them to Isaac are now those that keep them apart.
The Sidekicks is presented as three short novellas — one from each boy’s perspective, covering the period immediately after Isaac’s death. This structure allows Kostakis to delve into the psyches of the protagonists to reveal that each is much more than the title that defines him: The Swimmer, The Rebel, The Nerd. While each novella might be read as a complete work, it is the cumulative effect of reading them in sequence that makes the novel such a powerful statement about teen identity and male friendship. Written in a style that is conversational, witty and poignant, The Sidekicks is a sharply authentic and deeply moving novel.