Volition - Lily Paradis

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For anyone who can’t let go of their Jesse.

“My will is mine... I shall not make it soft for you.”

—Aeschylus, Agamemnon


I hate love triangles. I swore I would never write one. You might hate them too. But I wrote this book for myself. It was far more cathartic for me to write than it’ll ever be for you to read. That's why I'm not changing anything to make it more appealing, or understandable to the masses, because that wouldn't do justice to Tate or myself. If you want to understand this book, you’ll have to work for it. You’ll have to think. You’ll have to let go of what you want. I'm not going to trim it up neatly and put it into a genre box so it can be ripped apart when it doesn't exactly fit.

I’m not going to give you a bubbly, insanely likeable main character. Traditionally, when male narrators are unlikeable, they’re considered edgy, romantic, and endlessly alluring. When a female narrator is the same way, she’s just deemed a bitch. We all have our quirks, and it just so happens that Tate McKenna is stranger than most. It was difficult to make her relatable even through her actions, and I hope I succeeded even in a small way. If you don’t like her at all, I don’t blame you.

I thought long and hard about not publishing this book at all, because this book is my horcrux. It is a piece of my soul in ink and paper.

What happens in this book isn’t exactly a “love triangle” to me, but it may seem that way to you. That’s the funny thing about perception. I will never be able to experience the words the way you will, and you’ll never see them the way I do.

Regardless, I hope you see something of yourself in them. It’s not meant to be just a story. It’s meant to make you reflect. I wish I could write something universal, but that’s just not possible. I hope that even if you don’t like it, you still feel it. Even a tiny, shred of a feeling would do.

I like to do everything deliberately. If you’re asking a question, that’s valid. I want you to ask it. If there’s a reason it’s not answered, it’s meant to make you think. Everything in this book is done intentionally so that the events unfold in the right way. If anything feels wrong to you, it means it is so right for this book, and that's how I want it to feel.

If you’ve never heard of the iceberg theory, I encourage you to look it up. Essentially, there’s always more below the surface than what you see. I love finding meaning in the smallest things. I wrote Volition this way.

There will be people who get it and what that means in Volition. They’re going to get it, and it’s going to be like a hammer to the chest. If you’re one of those, I want you to email me, and I want to hear about your self-reflection. I want to hear about your Jesse.

If just one person this and feels the catharsis I felt while writing about anything in their life, maybe not even a Jesse or a Hayden, then that’s why this book exists, and that’s why I chose to share it with you.


MY NAME IS Tate McKenna, and I am a coward. I like to think that I’m being brave by picking up my life and moving across the country, but the glass of scotch in my hand says otherwise.

I haven’t eaten yet today, except for the peanuts that the flight attendant handed me when she delivered my drink. Her eyes were filled with pity, but her electric-blue eye shadow made me think that this should be the other way around. She had eyeliner haphazardly smeared all over her lower lid, and I wasn’t sure she was aware of it.

I laugh to myself because I remember the days when my grandmother would accuse me of looking like a panda when I ran out of the house to drive around with Colin. My own eyeliner would melt in the summer heat, but I didn’t care. I wanted my eyes to be as dark as my soul.

I nurse my drink and swallow one of the ice cubes. I can’t help but wince.

“Everyone knows you don’t put ice in scotch,” a deep voice echoes my exact thoughts.

I don’t look up immediately because I’m not entirely