PULLED is a short story in Becca J. Campbell’s “Flawed” series. The first novel in the series, EMPATH, is already out. PULLED is told from the perspective of eight-year-old Juniper. She’s a runaway plagued by unplanned and unwanted teleportation incidents; one moment she is one place, and the next moment another. This is her “flaw.” It means she is constantly being accused of running away from her foster homes, and of course nobody believes her outrageous explanations. All she knows about this flaw is that she is somehow “pulled” to the location of other people with flaws, though they don’t seem to know how it happened either.
It is impossible not to immediately sympathize with Juniper’s situation. Empathy builds as we learn that Juniper is tough, but not hard. Campbell does a fine job of keeping Juniper vulnerable; she is hungry, thirsty, tired and unhappy, just like a real kid. The story really picks up when she meets a young woman with flaws of her own. This woman feels an immediate need to help Juniper. Their dynamic together is great and I found myself rooting for these two to stay together. And it appears this is about to happen.
And then the story ends. What? This if the flaw (pun intended) in this short story. It doesn’t really tie anything up, it just ends. I’m sure this is intentional, because it is a great cliff hanger for the series. In fact, it reads like a novel prologue. But as a short story it really fails to stand on its own. So I find myself torn, I really like this as a tease for the series, but find it annoying as a stand-alone story. I want to know what happens with these two! I’m going to assume that Campbell brings the reader more of this duo somewhere in the novels, in which case the reader is advised to read this story as a great prologue. But if the reader approaches this as a stand-alone story, then prepare to be annoyed.