Random by Tom Leveen
Publication Date: August 12th 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: Edelwiess, Simon Pulse
Who's the real victim here? This tense and gripping exploration of cyberbullying and teen suicide is perfect for fans ofÂ Before I FallÂ andThirteen 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 thingâ€”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 heâ€™s not? Her words alone may hold the power of life or death.
With the clock ticking, Tori has little time to save a strangerâ€”and maybe redeem herselfâ€”leading to a startling conclusion that changes everythingâ€¦
I think what I loved the most about Randomand why the book worked so wellwas the fast, no-nonse pace of the novel. Random takes place over the course of one nightÂ and by the end of the book, more questions are left unanswered than in the beginning in an entirely grippingÂ way. While Random may be a fast read, it is in no way aÂ light one. The issues this book covers are controversialÂ and, in an age consumed with technology, all too common.
Our main character, Tori, is facing some serious accusations that have the potential to alter her life in a significant way. Because of that, her familys isnt the same as it used to be, her brothers turned her back on her, and her so-called friends have abandoned her. The night before Toris trial begins, she gets a phone call that turns her already shakyÂ night into a tailspin.
As the book progresses, in the way of phone calls and Facebook posts inserted here and there, we get Toris story, and the actions that have led her to where she is. While ToriÂ may not have been a ruthless perpetrator, she did participate in the cyberbullying of a classmate, which resulted in his suicide. Hours before her trial is set to start, Tori receives a phone call from a random guy asking for one reason not to kill himself. Scared out of her mind, Tori stays on the phone the whole night, trying to convince the caller to step away from the ledge, so-to-speak. In the hours that follow, we learn not only about Tori, but also what it means to be on the other side of bullying.
After reading Random, all I could think about was Tori and the fact that she was a selfish sixteen-year-old completely out of her element. Over and over she keeps telling Andy (and herself) that she didnt kill Kevin, and while she may not have pushed him over the edge, she did play a part in the overall scheme of things. Yet, while Tori refused to acknowledgeÂ her part in Kevins suicide throughout most of the book, I didnt not like her. We are often so quick to judge and point fingers in the aftermath of a tragedy, that we forget to get the whole story. That being said, I did not in any way condone Toris behavior, but I did sympathize with her. Furthermore, her refusal to give up on Andy and her acceptance of the role she played in Kevins suicide speak for themselves.
Randoms conclusion wasÂ shocking, but perfect. I couldnt have asked for anything else. As unlikely as it may seem, we do see a minuscule, but impacting change inÂ Tori by the end of the book. Its messy and imperfect, but it was done just right. Tom Leveens Random is gripping and its captivating wordsÂ beg the question: whos the real victim?