Monuments by Will Kostakis

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend

I love young adult novels.  And, yes, I am a tad (decades) outside the demographic.  A diverse range of characters carrying an ethical and compassionate message has populated the ones I have read to date.   Most refreshing in this time of global discontent! 

Monuments by Will Kostakis is no exception. Loaded with fast, fresh, funny language, it is a most amusing read.   In order to immerse myself in the imaginative world of Will Kostakis, I was willing to suspend disbelief.   As in turns out, I had to drench said disbelief in petrol and set it alight, just to ensure it didn’t pop up before I had finished the novel.  This is one crazy read. 

Connor Giannopoulos is biding time in the back corridors of his school, when he comes across a trapdoor, and, as we all know, a trapdoor in a novel always leads to a weird place.  This trapdoor is no exception; it takes Connor to a weird place on steroids.  He is grieving the breakup with his best friend who has decided Connor is boring.  The root of Connor’s bravery, as he follows the dark passage that leads from the trapdoor, is his need to prove, to all and sundry, that he is not boring.  I wasn’t very far into this heart-thumping novel, before realising that there really is nothing wrong with ‘boring’.  Unless of course boring is the main ingredient of a novel, which most certainly isn’t the case in Monuments.  So, having turned his back on the mundane, there was no going back for Connor.  The passage led to an extraordinary chamber, colourful and rotating!  Then Sally Rodgers appears.  Sally is on a quest the details of which emerge slowly.  As the chamber rotates, an annex is revealed in which stands a seven-foot statue.  This is exactly what, or, who Sally was looking for – an ancient being called Darroch.  Actually, Sally was hoping to locate Jivanta.  Darroch and Jivanta are god beings, who had a hand in creating the world, and they are not the only ones.  There are a few other ‘gods’ tucked away in other chambers beneath schools in Sydney. 

I dare not say more, or the publishers will black out large chunks, and this review will read like a redacted letter from Manus Island.  Suffice to say it is a compelling read, requiring some concentration in order to keep up with the astonishing twists and turns.  

Will Kostakis writes a witty narrative; the prose zips along, not giving in to any dull moments.  Kostakis has been writing since he was twelve.  For five years he sent off manuscripts to publishers, in the final year of high school, he signed his first contract for a novel, Loathing Lola, release in August 2008.  He had been working on versions of Loathing Lola since he was eleven.   Critically acclaimed, it was described as a ‘kickass debut’, ‘a smart, sharp tale about fame, love and loss’.  In 2014, Will won the Gold Inky Award, and was shortlisted for both the Prime Minister’s Literary and the Children’s Book Council: Book of the Year awards.  In 2005, Will won Sydney Morning Herald Young Writer of the Year for a collection of short stories. 

Clearly, this author is worth watching, let’s hope he didn’t peak too young and there are many more Kostakis novels to follow.

Monuments

(2019)

by Will Kostakis

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 

Paperback:       9780734419224  –  $19.99

e-Book:              9780734419255  –  $11.99

Pp.280

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