"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."
"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!
-- 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