The book centres on Billy who’s making the most out of his teen years but his future is unclear at the moment. Things start to change when his grandmother is hospitalised and she has a bucket list for him to fulfill. The list has three wishes regarding Billy’s family – his grandmother tells him that he’s the glue of the crumbling family so he needs to fix it.
- Find his single mother a husband
- Convince his brother to move back near home and get him a girlfriend (even though he’s gay)
- Reach out to his other brother who’s becoming distant.
Billy agrees to do the three things while he becomes close to Hayley and pursues her. And his life becomes challenging.
The First Third is a fun read. It’s witty and such a close reflection on the Greek Australian community. The family theme warmed my heart – the book evokes a personal feel. Multiculturalism seems to be immersed in the society’s culture that it doesn’t stand out like it usually does in other Australian books. It’s just part of the normal. Nothing to be ashamed of. Billy balances both his Greek and Australian backgrounds well. A bit different to Looking for Alibrandi where heritage is an issue – yes, I found myself comparing this book to The First Third.
If you want to have a good laugh or seek something smart or heart-wrenching but heart-warming at the same time, you will love The First Third.