Mitchell appears to use the chapters as episodes, focusing on an incident unrelated to the previous but consistent with a linear timeline as each refers to something happening in the prior chapter. It seems that Jason faces a new problem (skating, stuttering, smoking) in each, and comes out of each a bit changed, a bit more mature perhaps.
Mitchell also takes advantage of the interaction of the characters, although he threw out a round of Jason’s classmates with full names that served to put me on notice to pay attention and remember them. Certain characters are obviously more meaningful and are skillfully reinforced by the author.
Just as each of these are stages of growth, each can clearly stand on its own as a short story I suspect. I’m liking it better, though I realize that I’m drawn into novels that emphasize lyrical language and makes abundant use of metaphor and simile as descriptive devices of not just visual display, but of deepening the characters.