Random by Tom Leveen is a strangely compelling idea, with not such a great execution. Set in the span of a night, Tori receives a random phone call. She doesn’t know the caller, it was all by chance, but the caller is desperate and he connected with Tori. Tori doesn’t have time for this, she needs to clear her head and get ready to go on trial for murder, and her Facebook page is beyond incriminating. The problem is, the first person who reached out to her killed himself (why she’s on trial), and the second person to reach out to her needs to be talked off the cliff before he jumps. Dealing with the death that she might have caused, and dealing with a stranger who needs help are more than what Tori can handle, but does she want another death on her conscious?
This was a terribly good idea. I like when writers look at an event through different eyes. Most of the time bullying stories are told from the victim’s perspective or close relation of the victim; however, this story is told in through the bully’s perspective. A huge challenge for most people to understand is that adolescents are the most dangerous people, due to the fact that they do not know right from wrong all day. I don’t want to say that parents or others do not teach them, but most if not all adolescents learn through doing and seeing. Coupled with the fact that they are trying to fit in, this can be dangerous as illustrated by Tori’s story. I appreciated the angle and also the truth behind “sometimes people don’t understand their actions affect others.” This can be psychologically explained, since teens are thinking about themselves and trying to figure out their role in the world. What I didn’t appreciate was the execution. The story was too short; there is no way of really knowing if Tori changes, or if anyone really learns a lesson. I also did not like the fact that people felt the need to bully a bully. I get tough love, I get teaching a lesson, I don’t get why people can feel superior enough to bring someone else down just based on that person’s actions, especially when those teaching the lesson are morally right and also teenagers. Where were the parents? Why didn’t those that wanted to teach Tori a lesson team up with the parents or adults to show that this was a lesson learned, instead I felt it was for self-serving reasons. Not a terrible story, just very superficial and at times frustrating.
3 out of 5 stars. Thanks Edelweiss.