‘Hellion’ by Julia Elliott

Hellion by Julia Elliott, 2018

The magic trick:

Jam-packed timeline of plot points

I really, really enjoyed this story.

It comes raring out of the gates, with a ton of personality and charm. In fact, it has so much going on so quickly, it’s one of those stories that is easy to identify as a would-be novel. The scenes here are so heavy on the action, it’s not difficult to imagine them as elongated set pieces in a novel. The character arcs, too, would sit well over 250 pages.

As it is, there is very little room for the reader to breathe in between plot points. No reflection, no consideration. It just keeps moving.

And ultimately, maybe that’s why it works so well! Sure, it probably plays more naturally as a novel. But that’s not what it is. It’s a story. An excellent story.

And that’s quite a trick on Elliott’s part.

The selection:

“Swear you’ve got permission for this.”

“Sorta kinda,” I said.

“I don’t know.” He made a fish face, but climbed up anyway, wedging himself beside me into the big bucket seat.

“Trust me,” I said, slipping my brown hand onto his pale knee. I sat for a spell, relishing the warmth that flowed between us. I pulled a Camel butt from the pocket of my cutoffs, lit it with a Bic, took three tokes, and tossed it onto gasoline-spotted concrete, where a small puddle flared into flame. I laughed as I watched the fire wane. Alex winced, but didn’t groan. When I cranked the 4040s, it shuddered to life like a T-Rex.

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