Book Talk: Random by Tom Leveen

Book Talk: Random by Tom LeveenRandom by Tom Leveen
Published by Simon Pulse on August 12, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”



On the eve before Tori has a big court date for her role in a national bullying case that resulted in a suicide, she receives a mysterious call from a stranger at random. He says he plans to take his life tonight…unless she can give him one reason why he should live. Being nervous to be connected to another suicide if he goes through with it, she tries to decide if she believes him or if it’s just a prank. But the stakes are too high if she doesn’t take him seriously and try to save his life.

a2WHAT!? *also massages hands because DAMN I flew through that*

a4Ever have one of those books where you find yourself, even days later, trying to collect your scattered, fragmented thoughts and they just keep blowing away with the wind every time you get close to articulating them? I’m having a really hard time reconciling my thoughts when it comes to this one especially because it was going so well…and then the ending threw me. So let’s do a pro/con thinger shall we? Maybe that will help you get a better sense of where my head is at. MAYBE IT WILL EVEN HELP ME.


* If I had to sum up my experience by using a movie title from my youth it would be THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: No seriously, I FLEW through this book. I finished in 1.5 hours. Even Will looked impressed because he witnessed me starting and finishing it. I COULD NOT STOP READING IT. I wanted to know fully what her part was in the death of Kevin and also I was so intrigued by this random phone call and I so desperately needed to know if she would be able to talk him out of the suicide.

* The concept is AWESOME and it delivered on the intensity I expected: A person calls you at random and says they are going to commit suicide and they want you to give them a good reason to live. GULP. That’s a lot of weight on someone and especially someone who has her own craziness going on in her life. Finding out how this all would play out was the only thing I cared about for that 1.5 hours that I read this. The level of anxiety Tom Leveen was able to bring to my reading experience was impressive because I just needed to keep learning about this stranger’s story and the words that Tori will need to say to stop him from doing it.

* It actually took me surprise…like gaping mouth and all: I don’t want to say too much about this because I don’t want to give a hint of what surprised me but just know that it shocked the pants right off me and it takes a lot to do that. MAYBE I should have caught on to something but I DID NOT.

* The conversation starting qualities to this book are great: Bullying online is a big deal these days. This book shows that even if you don’t you pull the trigger/tie the noose/etc that does not mean you are innocent. This is the big thing the main character keeps not getting when she says, “BUT I DIDN’T KILL HIM.” “I DIDN’T BULLY HIM..JUST MADE A FEW COMMENTS.” Etc. Random challenges those kinds of prevalent thoughts when it comes to online bullying.


* I felt nothing emotionally despite how intense the reading experience was: I hate comparing books but a couple of months ago I read a book called Tease that was also from the POV of the bully and that one twisted my heart and frustrated and elicited a lot of conflicting emotions within me when it came to the main character but I felt really invested in her. I literally felt nothing for Tori. She didn’t seem real to me and didn’t illicit any emotions out of me. As invested in the random caller as I was I found myself really detached.

* THE ENDING: GAHHH. Not what I expected and I think it made me further detached from the book. I was like REALLY? THAT’S THE ENDING?  I don’t know how I FEEL about this story now. I don’t know what I was expecting but that wasn’t it and I’m not sure I was really all that happy about it. I was waiting for something super powerful and it fell flat for me. (BABY SPOILER-ISH COMMENT: Also, a little too wrapped up neatly in another area with a KISS and all.)

* The lesson: There was a clear lesson here. An important one. And I’m still struggling to decide if Tori even got it. I mean, it wraps up all nicey like she does but I didn’t FEEL like she really learned her lesson? Tori and the main character in Tease (which I referenced in my first point) were really similar in this way but for some reason in Tease I felt like there was a glimmer of hope for her to learn from this — even if she still had a long way to go. With Tori, I just didn’t even believe it. I didn’t feel any sort of emotions from her at all.



factors+ addictive factor, intensity, writing
pretty much lack of any emotion and a lot of detachment, the ending

Re-readability: No. That said, I plan to read the copy of one of his other books I have (manicpixiedreamgirl)
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No but I hope my library DOES have a copy.

a5people who want a book dealing with bullying but from a different POV, people not afraid of heavy topics like suicide and bullying, people who like more intense/gritty contemporary YA, readers who don’t mind a really frustrating main character

a8This one had the potential to be AMAZING for me — the concept, the writing and the absolutely intensity that made me read faster and faster to find out how all this would end. But when it came time to the ending…it just wasn’t what I expected and made me feel a bit disappointed. There was a lot of build up for awesome and mindblowing and I just found myself staring at the pages not even able to reconcile the ending and how I felt about it. And the fact I felt nothing emotional, aside from anxiety, just didn’t help. I need to be emotionally connected at SOME point.

review-on-post-itRandom by Tom Leveen


a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does this feel like something you’d be into?
* Okay was it just me that didn’t feel blown away by the end?? (MAYBE SPOILERISH: I feel like maybe I was looking for a more profound, life-changing ending and it got too lesson-y in a contrived manner? IDK. IDK)
* Did you GUESS or were you shocked??


The Perpetual Page-Turner


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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.


  1. Aw bummer! This sounds like one of those FANTASTIC, GRIPPING books! But then when you can’t connect with the characters, everything sort of falls flat I suppose? 🙁 It sounds like one of those very interesting books that you would go into for the concept; the whole suicide, saving idea sounds like it could have been fantastically pulled off! And I DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE ENDING. (okay, but it’s sad that it didn’t wow… or at least wasn’t satisfying! D:)
    Sorry you have mixed feelings about this one Jamie! >< Normally you're always raving about the books you read and your hot-air-balloon-o-meter doesn't really go to mixed feelings so it's a bummer that this one didn't hit the right buttons! D: But thank you for sharing with us! 😀

    • Yeah it was SO gripping and I was forgiving the fact I wasn’t feeling much for the characters or connecting emotionally in anyway but I REALLY thought the ending would deliver something that made it worth it. SIGH. Yeah, I’ve been having a really good reading year and I thought this would be a definite win but NOPE.

  2. Oh no! It’s always the WORST when a book is going well for you, then the ending happens and you’re just like…dude, you’ve ruined EVERYTHING. I definitely find it hard to look favorable on a book that 80% good if I really didn’t enjoy the end, short as it might have been. Like I said, the worst. :/

    • YES. It just flat out wrecked everything. I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU BOOK!! I can handle an OKAY ending and maybe not rate it as harshly but when an ending is just like WTF MAN WHY? I can’t at all look past it. It spoils the whole lot of my feelings!

  3. This book was a major disappointment for me. I was bored throughout this book and I HATED the ending. This book was not a book that I enjoyed at all. I felt like the book was heavy on the dialogue which I didn’t like. I also didn’t feel like the character development was there at all.

    Glad you liked it a bit more than I did though.

    • Yeah fortunately for me I wasn’t bored because I was feeling VERY anxious about what was going to happen. I was even going to excuse my lack of feels or connection if the ending blew me away but it blew me away…but in the wrong way. GAH. And yeah…character development…LE STINK.

  4. The synopsis sounds really intriguing, but I think endings can make or break a book and it sounds like it didn’t quite make it. Although if I’m in a mood for a quick, intense read I’ll definitely pick this up!

  5. My thoughts exactly Jamie! This had such an intriguing premise and I too found myself flipping through it like there was no tomorrow, but I agree that in comparison to Tease or 13 Reasons Why this was kind of a bit…dull, you know? I felt that by the time Tori realized what she did wrong, it was almost too late for me to sympathize with her. Thanks for sharing and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3

  6. Oooh, books that have this intense reaction (both positively and a bit negatively) fascinate me! This sounds like a super interesting (and quick!) read!. Definitely adding to my TBR list now! Thanks 🙂