Published by Penguin Australia on July 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Amazon • Amazon UK
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.
I am 50% Greek. So reading The First Third was like attending one of our massive family reunions with the second cousins, the third cousins, the yiayia’s, papou’s, the excited Greek chatter (which I did not understand) and the food – always so much food!
Kostakis introduces us to a contemporary Greek family living in Sydney. The narrator, and central character, is Bill – a seventeen year old who has never been kissed. After his grandmother (YiaYia) is admitted to hospital for a kidney infection she dramatically presents him with a bucket list of things she wants him to do before she dies (no pressure).
This is a funny, warm, probably overly sentimental, story about the importance of family and friendship. It is a very easy read and is engaging enough that you do care about the characters and want to know the outcome.
I enjoyed following the progress of Bill’s ‘quest’ to complete the bucket list. I was interested to see how he would bring his family back together.
While many of the characters remained ‘under-developed’, I did enjoy getting to know Bill and his best friend Sticks.
The romance of the novel was lost on me. I didn’t really feel any true connection between Bill and Hayley and wish that Kostakis had spent more time on family relationships rather then Bill’s pursuit of first love. Then again, I suppose every seventeen-year-old boy is more then a little preoccupied with ‘first love’ (read: lust), so it had to come up (excuse the pun).
Overall, an entertaining read.