Author: Tom Leveen
Synopsis: Who’s the real victim here? This tense and gripping exploration of cyberbullying and teen suicide is perfect for fans of Before I Fall 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 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…
Huge thank you to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss for this ARC!
There have been a lot of books dealing with teen suicide coming out recently. Some are from the POV of the suicidal teen, other’s are from the POV of those outside of the suicidal teen. And there are a lot more coming out now about bullying. I really like the ones that are told form the bully’s POV. This is one of them. It was fast, to the point, and honest. If you’re looking for something that’s super fleshed out and spans a lot of time, then you might want to check out Tease which came out a few months ago.
Random starts on the eve of Tori’s testimony. A boy in her school killed himself following a string of abusive Facebook comments. A news reporter in the area gets ahold of the story and runs with it, forcing the teens to get tried as adults, harassing the bullies, and pushing things further than they would have gone without her. Tori’s family is stressed, her relationship with her brother is almost dead, and she’s in lockdown. Her one and only friend left, Noah, tells her to turn off her phone and go to bed.
But the phone rings, she answers, and on the other end is a boy claiming that he’s going to kill himself. Tori, not wanting to be connected to another suicide, does whatever she can to stop him.
In one night Tori confesses her crimes, her innocence, devels into what is right, what is wrong, and who’s to blame.
And who is this random caller? Is it really random? A prank? More?
Ultimately the way this book happens works well. I unfortunately FLEW through the first 80% of it and then had to go to bed RIGHT when she was meeting the caller and had time to think about who it could be… I’m sure that if I had kept reading I would have figured it out, but after thinking about it and then reading (and finding out I was right) it was a little anti-climatic. So if you can, try not to stop and just read this straight through (or don’t stop around 80%)
I think that these kinds of books are important. There’s a lot of online harassing, teen suicides, and finger pointing going on these days. I think it’s important that we think about things from both perspectives. A lot of the time we so easily assign blame to the bully because we’re all so afraid of having VICTIM BLAMING shouted at us. But I don’t believe that things are always that simple. I don’t think that we can look at things in such black and white terms.
If Tori hadn’t written those awful things on Kevin’s Facebook would that have made a difference?
If Tori had helped him, answered his texts, spoken up for him, would that have made a difference?
Could she have stopped him?
These are questions that don’t seem important after the fact.
Bullying, especially online, needs to stop, I 100% believe that. And I hope books like this, showing the why and how behind the actions of someone labeled as ‘evil’, will help those who are doing the bullying think twice about their choices. Or even those who might be wittiness (like Noah in this book) and might step up and say something.