I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Random by Tom Leveen
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2014-08-12
Genres: Adolescence, Bullying, Social Issues, Suicide, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon
Who’s the real victim here? This tense and gripping exploration of cyberbullying and teen suicide is perfect for fans of Before I Fall and Thirteen Reasons Why.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…
I picked up Random by Tom Leveen because I saw a review on Jamie’s blog and so, I figured it would be a pretty quick read because she said that she had read it in one sitting. So, I was like hey I could read this in one sitting too and get this book off the pile, which is one step toward preventing floor collapse from so many books. You see, I actually worry about that for real. Anyways. Random appealed to me because the original cover has an iPhone cord looped into a noose and well, that’s really eye catching. Also, it is super short and let’s be honest, short books always appeal to me these days. Frankly though, I was mostly underwhelmed with Random.
One night main character Tori receives a random phone call from a wrong number. The caller says he is going to kill himself unless she can give him a reason to live. So, Tori stays on the line. Ironically, Tori is about to be on trial for partaking in cyberbullying that caused a boy to take his life. In fact, her facebook page is one of the exhibits for the trial. So, really, Tori is the absolute last person you should probably talk to if you want to be talked out of committing suicide. Anyways, Tori stays on the line and the story gets relatively intense as she realizes the power to save someone and to hopefully find some absolution for her sins is right in her hands and on the phone.
Honestly, I felt zero connection to Tori. She’s kind of a terrible person. Which, okay, I get, sometimes teenagers are terrible people and sometimes characters are unlikeable. I just, ugh, could not connect and thus could not care for her. I think part of this stems from my comparing Leveen’s Random with Tease by Amanda Maciel. With Tease, I thought the main character was an awful person BUT I could understand and connect with her. Not so much with Tori. So, it was sort of a chore to read a book about a character I could not summon up any energy to care about.
Finally, to make this review kind of short because the book is kind of short and I do not have much to say about it — I thought that once I finished the book that the whole premise was kind of weird. Like, there’s this big twist conclusion reveal and it comes out of nowhere and is just whacked. Like, I was disappointed and made that face kids make when they have to eat food they find to be yucky. That was my face during the end. Sure, the topic of Random is important, cyberbullying is a huge issue, but I just failed to really gel with this book.