Review // Random by Tom Leveen

Title // Random
Author // Tom Leveen
Pages // 224 pages
Publisher // Simon Pulse
Series // None
Release Date // August 2014
Find it on Goodreads and 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…


Bullying. It’s something that happens to all of us. Primary school, high school, college – anywhere and it follow you like a dark cloud. I’ve been bullied myself, and I don’t condone bullying, far from it, but sometimes we do it without realising. Random by Tom Leveen is a prime example of this. If you pick up this book, prepare to be ten million conflicting emotions at the same time.

“Don’t let your mouth write checks your heart can’t cash,”

Not the most appealing cover in the world. Sure, there is a mysterious element in the fact that his face has been pixelated, but other than that, I wouldn’t see myself picking this book up myself just based on looks. It was in fact one of my friends who suggested it after reading the synopsis and thinking it was right up my alley. The verdict is still out on this matter.

“I didn’t bully him…Just made a few comments.”

My opinions on Random are mixed. Victoria is facing the serious charges after her online joking and ‘trying to be part of the group’ went a little bit too far. If any teen is reading this post, you’ll understand just how badly things can be taken when you post a bad or misleading comment online. Without facial expressions or a tone present, the recipient is forced to see things from their own view. And if they’re receiving tens or hundreds of the same comments, only serious in that case, then one word is more than enough to push someone over the edge.

“My life is in your hands, Tori.” he says finally.

Victoria was a character I didn’t like. Don’t get me wrong, in the end I feel bad for her and for the things she has to experience in the 24 hour period, but still. She’s a bitch. She reminds me of the girls I used to watch, looking for a way to fit in with the crowd, even if it meant trampling over others in the process. It still surprises me when I realise how quickly things can escalate, how fast people are to point the fingers. It makes me mad that she refuses to believe that she was involved with what happened. But every character, or real life person, has a fatal flaw. I suppose I can’t really fault her or the people around her for falling to the pressure of succumbing too popularity.

I stop again, trying to figure out hot on earth to end this call. How to summarize everything that’s happened.

Random is a book I wouldn’t read again. While it was a good book, and touched upon a very realistic issue in society, I just found that this book wasn’t for me. In the end, there were too many unanswered questions. The pending question of ‘what happened next’ and the general turn around of the book was both shocking and angering. Also, I’m pissed it’s a standalone. However, this book earned a 3 out of 5 snowflakes.

3 stars


Still unsure on whether this book is the one for you? Have a look at what other bloggers have to say.

Krista @ Reading Teen says “Random is an emotionally charged roller coaster.”

Fay @ Bibliophile Soprano says “Overall, a great read!”

Shane @ Embrace You Magazine says “It was what I’d expected it to be: intense.”


Usually a book goes through several cover changes in its lifetime. Most variation depends on the publishing location. Random is available in the following cover formats.

boredert o m  l e v e e n

About Tom Leveen

Tom Leveen has 22 years of theatre experience as an actor and director. He was the Artistic Director and a co-founder of two companies: Chyro Arts Venue, an all-ages nonprofit visual and performing venue; and Is What It Is Theatre, a community theatre that operated for 13 seasons. Tom lives with is wife and son in the Phoenix area. PARTY was his first novel, followed by ZERO (a 2013 YALSA Best Book) and MANICPIXIEDREAMGIRL, all with Random House.


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