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Saturday, May 20, 2023

'We Could Be Something' by Will Kostakis


From the BLURB: 

Part coming-out story.

Part falling-in-love story.

Part falling-apart story.

Harvey's dads are splitting up. It's been on the cards for a while, but it's still sudden. Woken-by-his-father-to-catch-a-red-eye sudden. Now he's restarting his life in a new city, living above a cafe with the extended Greek family he barely knows.

Sotiris is a rising star. At seventeen, he's already achieved his dream of publishing a novel. When his career falters, a cute, wise-cracking bookseller named Jem upends his world.

Harvey and Sotiris's stories converge on the same street in Darlinghurst, in this beautifully heartfelt novel about how our dreams shape us, and what they cost us.

The sun sets on a bonfire in Leichhardt.

Back from Brisbane Writers Festival, and I finally sent something off that was overdue - which means my brain had been freed up to treat myself to some books I’ve been hoarding and *desperate* to read.

Top of that pile was Will Kostakis’ new #LoveOzYA from Allen & Unwin - ‘We Could Be Something

Now, before I can give my opinion you need to know that Will Kostakis got his first book-deal before he graduated high school, and his debut ‘Loathing Lola’ released when he was 19.

Now do you get it?

Never mind that I know and greatly respect Will - I was a fan first, but now I know him as an artist and friend too - and part of me wondered if my knowing how much this story is drawing on his own experiences would cloud my reading?

Never fear.

Because this book *walloped* me in the best ways. Humour and heart that I already knew Will could do, but a reckoning and sharing on the page that’s so generous and tender from him as an artist.

He really is grappling with voice here, amongst these characters - how they’re finding theirs, when Will’s as author has never been clearer, is pretty spectacular … he’s touching on some complex and wrought discussions about young people breaking away and finding out who they are, how they tear off pieces of themselves to give to other people - and what do they keep or hide for (and from) themselves. There’s a lot happening and all of it is brilliant and feels like a levelling-up in YA, particularly Aussie queer lit for teens. I don't want to give anything away; but I think Will Kostakis is giving people what they *think* they want from Queer YA, and then in the most loving way he's saying "actually, this is what we need." He's pulling it into a new era, and I agree.

No wonder this book has been heralded as a clear front-runner for the sweep of awards that’s sure to come. And I must say - I agree.

Not to mention - the writing within is just … *gorgeous*. It’s a voice cut to the bone, with such clarity that sighs and sings on the page. In particular (because I’m a sucker for them!) some of his opening and closing chapter lines - particularly those setting location - were just stunning!

It’s the kind of writing that feels effortless, but has clearly been honed and carefully considered so you don’t notice the effort. That’s hard to do. Will’s slam-dunked it here.

The whole thing just delighted me. I KNEW it would be good, but this? Was *exceptionally* good.


I abandon my cup. I leave a bonfire in Leichhardt.

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