BOOK REVIEW: Random – by Tom Leveen

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Title: Random
Author: Tom Leveen
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
First published: August 12th 2014
Finished reading: March 30th 2016
Pages: 224
Rating 4qqq

“’Because that’s what being dead means,’ Andy says. ‘It’s the zenit of ‘never’. Never again, never this, never that. You don’t come back from never. You can’t enjoy never. You just sit there, not existing, not listening to your favorite songs or eating you favorite foods. Never.’”

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I’ve read a few good books about teen suicide and (cyber)bullying in the past (including Tease, Thirteen Reasons Why and Nothing Everything Nothing), so when I first read the blurb of this novel I was immediately interested. Unfortunately cyberbullying is becoming a more urgent problem every day with the internet-focused society we are living in today. Tom Leveen did an excellent job in showing us how something seemingly ‘innocent’ as a few harsh Facebook comments can make someone vulnerable make the decision to end it all. The main character Tori is the perfect example of someone who didn’t see the consequences of her comments, and still thinks she didn’t do anything wrong. The random call and the way she is forced to think about suicide and how she might have played a role in the death of the very person that used to be her friend make this read into something truly intriguing. Random has a fast pace, is easy to read and has just enough plot twists to keep you surprised until the end. The characters might not be completely likeable, but they do feel real and show us what can happen if cyberbullying isn’t taken seriously. Recommended!

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Tori hasn’t been herself lately ever since one of her former friends decided to end his life. Kevin and Tori used to be closer, but when Tori became friends with a bunch of popular people she started to act differently. Her new friends don’t exactly treat Kevin the right way and slowly Tori starts to join them… And when her new friends start leaving harsh comments about everything Kevin writes on her Facebook page, she doesn’t defend him. Feeling desperate to stay popular, she even writes a few nasty comments of her own. Now Tori’s Facebook page is evidence in an upcoming trail with national coverage that wants to convict her group for cyberbullying and being the direct cause of Kevin’s suicide… Tori doesn’t believe she is guilty, but is forced to rethink what happened to him when she receives a random phone call. What seems to be a wrong number turns to be a guy her age that asks her for only one thing: a reason not to kill himself. Tori first thinks he is a fraud, but can she really take the risk and have another possible suicide on her conscience?

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Random is a well written and fast-paced read about a subject that is becoming more and more important as the influence of the internet grows. Cyberbullying is probably more common than the ‘old-fashioned’ bullying known ten years ago, and it is important that the consequences are revealed to the bigger public. Tom Leveen did an excellent job by doing just that in his novel and make us think about how something simple as a few Facebook comments can have a huge impact on someone. I would definitely recommend reading this book if you are interested in the subject.

WWW Wednesdays #84 – March 30th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I started both my current reads yesterday evening, so there’s not much to say about them other than that I have been looking forward to read both. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley has been recommended to me numerous times, so hopefully it’s just as good as I have been told. And I have been looking forward to pick up Ice Like Fire ever since I finished the first book; I love the worldbuilding of this series!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* After quite a few disappointing reads I decided to pick up one of my guilty pleasure books: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. Although I normally don’t like vampire stories, this series has turned out to be an exception. I loved the True Blood TV series and this first book is just as entertaining.
* Another book I really enjoyed was The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell. It can read a bit slow at points, but I loved reading about all those amazing-sounding bookshops all over the world. It really made me wish I could open my own bookshop one day…
* I read Apple And Rain by Sarah Crossan as well. After enjoying One earlier this month I was looking forward to read more of her work, but unfortunately this one wasn’t as good. I liked the poetry bits, but the story itself was not that interesting.
* The last book I finished was Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia. I read and enjoyed the first book last year, but the sequel didn’t really manage to convince me. It’s quite a fast read and still entertaining, but the introduction of a love triangle or two and Lena acting the way she does didn’t exactly make me enjoy it as much as the first book.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I have been saying I want to read Random by Tom Leveen for weeks, so I should just pick it up soon… But I might just give in and read A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab next (and the sequel A Gathering Of Shadows). If I’m not in the mood for fantasy, I have Stolen by Lucy Christopher on my list as well. I’ve heard great things about it, so I’m looking forward to finally pick it up. My new TBR jar pick is The Conspiracy Of Us by Maggie Hall.

WWW Wednesdays #83 – March 23rd

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I needed something light and entertaining after a few disappointing reads and I decided to give in to my guilty pleasure. I loved watching the first seasons of True Blood a few years ago, and I finally found the time to pick up the first book in the series the show was based on: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. So far it’s definitely working; I’m flying through this book! I’ve also started The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell yesterday evening, but it’s too early to tell what to feel about this book about books.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* It took me literally ages to finish Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard, and that wasn’t a good thing at all. My Red Queen reread left me liking the first book slightly less (mostly because Mare), but I still really enjoyed it. The sequel was a different matter. Glass Sword is pretty slow, Mare is really annoying and the whole plot is basically a repeat sequence of the following: Mare blindly trusts someone –> Person betrays Mare –> Mare is in deep trouble –> somehow she manages to not get killed. More complaints in my full review…
* The other book I managed to finish is Disclaimer by Renée Knight. Unfortunately yet another title I didn’t enjoy… March has been pretty unlucky so far! I couldn’t connect to the characters and the plot is a bit of a chaos and not exactly believable.
* The last is actually a DNF (probably my first DNF ever!): The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney. It was really hard to make the final decision to just stop reading this book and I still feel a bit guilty, but the thought of having to waste more time reading this story was even worse. DNF at 42%; bye bye annoying characters, unnatural and forced prose, character development and unbelievable plot!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably pick up Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch as soon as I’m in the mood to read fantasy again… If not, I might read Random by Tom Leveen or Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard first depending of which genre I’m in the mood for. My new TBR jar pick is still Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl… I’ve also been wanting to start a new fantasy series; feel free to vote on my poll to help me decide which one to start next. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays #82 – March 16th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I finally picked up my last TBR jar pick The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney a few days ago, but I am not exactly enjoying it so far. The story is pretty bad and I don’t like the prose or the main character for that matter. The way the story is told feels really unnatural and forced… So I decided to put it on hold and continue my Red Queen marathon first. I finished the first book last night, so I’m about to dive into Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard as soon as I can find some free time.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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I ‘only’ finished three titles since last week week, with one of them being a quick reread… Why? We were invited to a wedding party last weekend! 😀 A lot of fun, but it did take away a lot of my reading time.
* The first title I finished was The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. It turned out to be a really interesting read and I loved the Amsterdam setting and its many descriptions! Not perfect, but without doubt recommendable.
* I then finished Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover; a book a really wanted to love, but unfortunately I didn’t. I really didn’t like the main characters or their actions and some of the prose really annoyed me… That doesn’t take away that I still think Colleen Hoover is a genius though.
* The last book is a reread I’m not going to review again, because I already wrote one last year: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Just as enjoyable the second time around and I’m glad I did the reread, because I had forgotten a lot of details that will help me enjoy the sequel a lot better.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably pick up Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch as soon as I finish Glass Sword… I’m trying to read/finish as many series as possible this year, and since the third book is recently coming out in September I’m counting this one as well. I might read Random by Tom Leveen or The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell first depending of which genre I’m in the mood for though…  And I have a new TBR jar pick: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I read the first book of the series last year and really enjoyed it, but somehow I never continued the series until now. I guess my renewed TBR jar thought it was about time. 😉

WWW Wednesdays #81 – March 9th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m normally not a romance fan, but ever since reading and loving November 9 I have been wanting to pick up another Colleen Hoover book. It was between Ugly Love and Maybe Someday, but the first one won… I’m still not that far into the story yet, but hopefully I’ll find time to continue soon. I’m also still reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton; I really like it so far, but I haven’t been in the mood for historical fiction lately and I don’t want to rush it. Fingers crossed I’ll feel like reading historical fiction again soon!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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A lot of finished reads this week, but most of these are short and easy reads…
* The first novella I finished was Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell, a Star Wars-themed story she wrote for World Book Day and very entertaining!
* I then read both Red Queen novellas Queen Song and Steel Scars by Victoria Aveyard. I can’t say I was impressed… The second was slightly better than the first, but I don’t think they are actually worth reading.
* I then read One by Sarah Crossan, which turned out to be a superfast and interesting read. The prose reads almost like poetry and the story itself is intriguing.
* I decided to continue with Eve by Iris Johansen afterwards because I didn’t want to bring my kindle with me during my trip… I kind of wish I brought another book instead because it was almost a torture to have to read this story. I will have to work on my DNF skills…
* The last book I finished was a lot better: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. I already knew I liked her writing style after reading Why Not Me? and this one is without doubt entertaining as well (although a bit slow at points).

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably try to finish my Red Queen series read and both reread Red Queen and read Glass Sword… Although I might pick up Random by Tom Leveen first depending of which genre I’m in the mood for. I have also been wanting to read Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch since I really enjoyed the first book; The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney is still my latest TBR jar pick.

WWW Wednesdays #80 – March 2nd

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m still reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and so far I’m really enjoying it. The only reason I haven’t finished it yet is that my reading slump is making it hard to concentrate for a long time and I have been reading ‘easy’ reads instead… So that’s why I decided to start reading Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell as well. It’s a short read so I will probably finish it today.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I always enjoy a good historical fiction WWII story and this one has to be one of my all time favorites. Such a beautifully written story!
* I then read Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, which ended up being a very interesting read with a lot of funny moments. Warning: make sure to read it when nobody is around because you will probably laugh out loud!
* I also finally picked up my first Spanish read in ages: Bestiario by Julio Cortázar. I really liked the combination of ordinary things with magical realism elements… But I have to be honest and say that some stories were a lot better than others.
* The last book I finished is The Secrets Of Lake Road by Karen Katchur, a book I picked up on a whim and turned out to be a really quick read.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I might pick up Random by Tom Leveen depending of which genre I’m in the mood for… Although I will probably start my Red Queen series marathon by reading the first of two novellas Queen Song. In case I don’t want fantasy, I have Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover lined up as well; The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney is still my latest TBR jar pick.