Thursday, 31 July 2014

Review: Random by Tom Leveen

Late at night Tori receives a random phone call. It's a wrong number. But the caller seems to want to talk, so she stays on the line.

He asks for a single thing—one reason not to kill himself.

The request plunges her into confusion. Because if this random caller actually does what he plans, he'll be the second person connected to Tori to take his own life. And the first just might land her in jail. After her Facebook page became Exhibit A in a tragic national news story about cyberbullying, Tori can't help but suspect the caller is a fraud. But what if he’s not? Her words alone may hold the power of life or death.

With the clock ticking, Tori has little time to save a stranger—and maybe redeem herself—leading to a startling conclusion that changes everything…

Kindle Edition, 224 pages
Expected publication: August 12th 2014 by Simon Pulse 
Genre: Young Adult

Kristine's Thoughts

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Simon Pulse via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

This book tackled the issue of cyber bullying which is a serious and relevant issue amongst young and not so young people today. There have been many tragic stories in the news about young people taking their lives after relentless bullying (mostly cyber) from peers. I was extremely anxious to see how this book would tackle it.

Let me start off by saying that this book is a really easy read and I was able to finish it in just a few hours. It starts with an introduction to Tori as she stresses, sulks and whines in her head about her court date the next day. As the reader we don't know (yet) why she is appearing in court, just that she is in serious trouble. I have to admit that I did not like Tori at this point. She seemed self involved and beyond selfish.

Then she gets a phone call...

The caller says he has called her at random and is going to commit suicide and wants her to give him one good reason why he shouldn't. He seems to want to talk and Tori is uncertain whether he is serious or if it is a prank. She doesn't want to hang up just in case. It is during her conversation with Andy (the boy that called her number) that the details of why she is in trouble comes to light. The cyber bullying takes the stage and we learn about her roll in it.

I'm not going to say anything more about the plot for fear of giving away spoilers. Here's what I thought...

The author does a relatively good job with the issue of cyber bullying and highlighting the consequences of those actions but I felt that the story and characters were a little underdeveloped. The story could have been way more powerful in its message if there had been more development. However, the message is still there even if it is a little condensed.

I wanted to like Tori and I wanted her to redeem herself but in my opinion this did not happen. I did not like her at the beginning, middle or the end. All of her emotions were self motivated and for all the wrong reasons. I never got the impression that she truly understood or owned the consequences of her and her friends actions. This was a shame.

I did like the concept of the story and how the entire book took place over one night. There were a lot of good points in regards to cyber bullying to reflect on. The book would make for some great discussions among teenagers in a learning environment. Although I really disliked the main character I still feel like the story is relevant and important.

About the Author
Tom Leveen is the author of Random, Sick, manicpixiedreamgirl, Party, and Zero (a YALSA Best Book of 2013). A frequent speaker at schools and conferences, Tom was previously the artistic director and cofounder of an all-ages, nonprofit visual and performing venue in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is an Arizona native, where he lives with his wife and young son.
Connect with Tom

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