Random

Random

5.0 1
by Lesley Choyce
     
 

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Selected as 2011 White Ravens Title "If you think life makes sense, do not read this book." It's this credo that sixteen-year-old Joe Campbell lives by. You see, his birth parents were killed in a car accident, and four years later he's still trying to work his way past that loss. His new parents are as supportive and loving as he could wish. But Joe is still trying… See more details below

Overview

Selected as 2011 White Ravens Title "If you think life makes sense, do not read this book." It's this credo that sixteen-year-old Joe Campbell lives by. You see, his birth parents were killed in a car accident, and four years later he's still trying to work his way past that loss. His new parents are as supportive and loving as he could wish. But Joe is still trying to figure out whether there is any pattern or purpose to his existence, and remains doubtful that there is an answer. Yet all around him patterns and purposes gradually take shape, and this compelling novel traces the thought processes and the people that eventually make a difference in Joe's life. The story is of Joe's digging into his past, and looking around the present, as he seeks to make sense of the world. But it's not a solitary quest as his good friends Gloria and Dean - both outsiders in the high school they all attend - accompany him on this quest for meaning. Random will resonate with many teenagers who, to a greater or lesser extent, find themselves besieged by doubt and speculation about their places in the world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The story has plenty of dramatic activity. . . What many teens may enjoy even more than the plot specifics, though, is Joseph's unpretentious search for meaning that emerges from his "random thoughts," which range from Malthus to Buddhism to Aristotle to his namesake, Joseph Campbell, who, in describing the mythic hero's perilous journey, articulates what may feel like coming-of-age concerns for many teens."
Booklist

"Random is an incredible book. Its non-linearity mirrors the way that memory works: you hear a song, see someone who reminds you of someone else, and suddenly, you are catapulted back to a past event. As for the present, Joe's observations about high school life are wry, witty, and absolutely accurate. With Joseph Campbell, Lesley Choyce offers readers a young male character who is complex, intelligent, and (dare I say it,) sensitive. But there is more to this book than its being yet another story of "teen angst." It's a story about genuine friendship, about making sense out of nonsense, and about coming to terms with the randomness of it all.
"Random is a "must-buy" book for high school libraries, and an absolute "mustread" for those young male readers out there who are "intelligent, sensitive, wellread" (and Lesley Choyce has written other books with similar protagonists). If these young men are not well-read, this may start them on the road! Oh, sure the book contains some random profanities, but they're comparatively mild (no f-bombs) and they fit the context of 16-year-old high school boy-speak.
"Random-make it a deliberate acquisition!
Highly Recommended.
CM Magazine

In Joseph, Lesley Choyce gives readers a thoughtful, questioning narrator who asserts from the very beginning that he believes that life has no meaning and yet who is clearly searching for that very meaning. Although the death of his biological parents was the traumatic event that most evidently shaped his life thus far, the book manages to avoid the drama and angst that one might have expected. Instead, Choyce offers readers the opportunity to follow Joseph through the mundane ordinary events of his life, past and present, and to witness the realizations that he comes to through the course of his journey. It is a book that will hold the greatest appeal for more philosophical-minded teens and those who also find themselves asking big questions.
—Atlantic Books Today

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Wondering if his existence has any purpose, Joe Campbell, 16, creates a digital diary to chronicle his thoughts as he navigates his emotions about the death of his parents four years earlier and his growing feelings for a close female friend. So far, he has coped with his grief by clinging to the belief that life is random, without any larger meaning. However, the more he considers his life with his adoptive parents and his relationships with two of his longtime friends, Joe begins to discover that there may be deliberate patterns and connections that he has failed to recognize. With the help of Gloria, a clinically depressed potential girlfriend, and Dean, a sexually confused eccentric, Joe delves into his past to come to terms with the lurking memories of his parents' death. The novel meanders through the boy's random thoughts while working toward discovering his place in the world. Introspective teens may enjoy living inside his head. However, some readers will lack the patience to sift through his morose thoughts to uncover the deeper self-actualization he experiences. The narrative moves along slowly, but Joe's character is fully developed. While not as plot driven, this book could be recommended to readers who appreciated Peter Cameron's Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You (Farrar, 2007).—Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MD

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781552442944
Publisher:
Red Deer Press
Publication date:
09/28/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
196
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

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