Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Randoms (Randoms, #1)” as Want to Read:
Randoms (Randoms, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Randoms #1)

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  694 ratings  ·  139 reviews
A science fiction superfan finds himself on his very own space adventure when he’s randomly selected to join an alien confederacy in this hilarious middle grade debut novel.

Zeke Reynolds comes from a long line of proud science fiction geeks. He knows his games, comics, movies, and TV shows like Captain Kirk knows the starship Enterprise. So it’s a dream come true when he l
Hardcover, 485 pages
Published August 25th 2015 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Randoms, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Vaughn Sandquist
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  694 ratings  ·  139 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Randoms (Randoms, #1)
Sean Randall
Aug 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“It was me,” she said. “You’re good for a beginner. If you’d like, you can meet me in the officers’ lounge after 2200 and we’ll play a few rounds.” “I’d love that!” The humans didn’t much like me, but the beaked otter thought I was okay.

Oh, my word. If there was one book worth starting in bed and staying up after 02:00 hours on my last night of school holidays, it was this one. Of course I don't have school holidays per se anymore, working at one rather than learning in one, but I almost wished
Jeff Raymond
Is the current generation looking for their own Ender's Game? I'm not really sure, but with Randoms, we might have found it anyway. It's a great story with both modern societal analogues and some classic tropes to go along with them, and there's a lot to love.

Zeke is a typical, average kid who is effectively drafted to be part of a four kid delegation in the universe's federation. He's the "random," chosen not for any particular skills or reason, but simply to have a wild card draftee. In this o
Liz Friend
The story: Zeke Reynolds, sci-fi dork extraordinaire, is chosen as one of four teens in a delegation that will compete with kids from three other planets to see which homeworlds will be admitted into the Confederation of United Planets. The other three have amazing skills, but not Zeke--he's a Random. It's only when he teams up with the other Randoms to outwit the system that they discover there's a much bigger plan at work that could end up destroying the earth, and even worse--let t ...more
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Randoms is brilliant.

I can't lie and say it's highly original, but it doesn't need to be. It's well written, the characters are likeable, and it's the sort of book that you can't put down because you are always wanting to find out what is going to happen next.

My only complaint is that I felt it could've been shorter, but it didn't drag and I don't know what he could have cut because everything is really essential to the story and the overall plot. For the sake of full disclosure, Randoms is the
Probably the only book I've read that is absolutely rife with nerddom references that don't annoy me. The idea behind the rise of SF is that aliens are seeding our culture with ideas so we're receptive to the reality of the universe. So we have lightsabers and evil empires and universal translators and a confederation of peaceful planets and a skill tree you can level up. That's just delightful worldbuilding.

Also it's wall-to-wall snark, I love all the characters, the bad guys have believable mo
Munro's Kids
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
How has no one else written this up? (Shame on you Myriam who I miss dreadfully!)

This was such a delightful book packed with sci-fi fun and references. Even though I only recognized half of them, the others worked for me, and would work I think for the middle grade audience intended (who surely couldn't have already worked through all Star Trek iterations as well as Star Wars, Stargate, Battlestar... and many others... could they?).

Zeke is an average kid, unless you count his above-average sci-f
Reading is my Escape
This is a book written for science fiction fans, in more ways than one.
Zeke (the mc) is selected, along with three of Earth's most talented young people, by the Confederation of United Planets to live on their space station for a year. When the Confederation evaluates a species, they always choose four, including one Random. Zeke is Earth's Random.
During the journey to the station, the ship is attacked. Zeke manages to destroy the attacking vessel, saving the lives of every being on t
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am not a reader of young adult scifi, generally speaking, but I am a big fan of David Liss, ever since the days of his Benjamin Weaver historical fiction series. This first in a series is a great page turner that seems to me to strike just the right note for teen readers, and combines other worlds and species, an adventure story, family trauma and young love in one rollicking tale.

Zeke, the main character, is selected as one of four Earth young people to spend a year on a space station run by
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
This middle reader novel works from a premise similar to that of Ernest Cline's Armada, but succeeds in a way that Cline's novel didn't quite. Partially I think it's because Liss was writing for a younger audience and didn't feel like he needed to impress anyone with his cleverness and pop culture references. It allowed this book to just be fun, which made it a joy to read. It's not a perfect book--it's a little long and not all of the characters are as fully-developed as they could be (there ar ...more
Kylie Sparks
Aug 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a great space opera for the middle school crowd. I also think anyone who loved Star Trek should read it, teen or adult. For kids who didn't watch Star Trek or Star Wars--the many tv references may annoy. But for me it was fun. There's a lot of action, the characters are interesting, and the book ends well while leading up to a sequel. Recommend this to teens who liked Ender's Game.
Jordan Funke
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Nerds and geeks rejoice! This book is a super fun combination of the comfort of your favorite sci-fi fandoms and an exciting new story. I love the idea that aliens have been secretly seeding TV and movies with real information about them so we would be prepared for their arrival. I couldn't put this book down and have been telling all my nerdy students about it.
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A hilarious sci-fi adventure. Had me laughing and reading for hours. I don't really like sci-fi, but this book makes me want more. David Liss worked wonders with this book. I hope there will be a 2nd!!!
Tons of fun. Very tropy, but it's MG, what else should it be? REALLY ENJOYED.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
The rating might be a little too high for this book, but I'm giving credit to Liss with hitting me with some small surprises at the book's end. Enough so as to have me ready to look for the second book in this series when it comes out in softcover.

In the prologue Liss says this is, my interpretation, of a love letter to geeks, his younger self and his own children. Add what I consider some Heinlein/Asimov YA influence, and at the book's end H.M. Hoover, and you get a read that an adult can enjoy
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Bookworm Speaks!


By David Liss

Acquired: Barnes and Noble Booksellers
Series: Randoms (Book 1)
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (August 25, 2015)
Language: English

The Story: A science fiction superfan finds himself on his very own space adventure when he’s randomly selected to join an alien confederacy in this “exhilarating” (Booklist, starred review) middle grade debut novel.

Zeke Reynolds comes from a long line of proud science fiction geeks. He
Scott Dieterle
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Randoms is a middle grade age book that my son encouraged me to read. The story features Zeke Reynolds who is the United States member representative of a team of four adolescents from Earth selected to candidate to be part of the Confederation of United Planets. While the other three members were selected for their skills, Zeke is the "random" member of the delegation. Zeke is a sci-fi geek who can pull a Star Trek reference at the drop of a hat.

There are a number of twists and turns in this s
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, scifi, funny
What a fabulous ride - & a love letter to us hardcore scifi nerds! ...more
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lonestar 2017-18/Name That Book 2017-18. I think you have to be a bit of a sci fi geek to truly appreciate this book. So many references to various shows. Very funny and clever. I enjoyed it.
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
This is my favorite book ever. It kind of reminds me of Rick Riordan's writing with it's humor. If you liked "The Lightning Thief" you will love this book. Zeke is one of the most fun main characters of any book I've read. Between his snappy comebacks, nerd knowledge and heroicness, there's little to dislike about Zeke.
Elizabeth Meadows
Just good clean fun!!
Oct 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
A nice sci-fi which pays tribute to Ender's Game, Star Trek, Star Wars, Dr. Who, and other iconic space adventures and odysseys.
The universe has a Confederation, and Earth is a candidate for membership, as well as other species from other planets. Each planet sends four teens to earn a spot in the Confederation. Each team has 3 carefully chosen kids, picked for certain talents and attributes, and one kid who has been picked out of a computerized hat. Zeke Reynolds is the random from Earth.

And po
Amy Bearce
This was a fun, fast read full of clever science fiction references. The story kept my attention and I liked the characters. Those liking snarky humor can find it here. The world-building is impressive. I personally think writing science fiction is one of the hardest things to do without falling into technical jargon that loses the average reader. I think this is a good book for those with even just a minimal science fiction background. There were a few references I didn't get, but they didn'
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, sci-fi
Probably the most geeky sci-fi book of ... just about any book I've ever read. Maybe even a four and a half. Four and three quarters?

Name a geekdom? It's probably mentioned in this one. Bonus points for lots of Star Wars.
The characters. Each most definitely adds something different to the story.
The visual movie I played in my head. Weird but fun!

A little on the long side.
Would someone who didn't already care about at least one of the geekdoms really "get" this book? It's hard for me to im
Gary Carper
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
First off, I won this book via Goodreads Giveaway. And I just finished it about 48 hours after picking it up. Wow, yea, I think I will start the review off with that one word. This book has quite a bit of imagination going for it. The characters, the alien beings, the descriptions, all very detailed. And not one race is like the other, except for a few minor details, mainly about their eating preferences.
The story starts with Zeke, a bullied kid getting pummeled after school while taking a make
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Alright, if you thought from the front and back covers (as well as the title page) that this was a stand-alone book, think again. Turn your book over so that it can stand with spine up toward the ceiling and then you'll see the '1' in the big 'O' on the spine. Of course, that means there must be a book 2. I'm pointing out the obvious here because this book got me hooked so bad that I wanted the next book in the series to be out now!

Back to the book. Zeke Reynolds is your average geek who has bee
Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a fun, adventurous, geeky book! The world and the characters that Liss came up with are amazing! Steve was probably my favorite! Who doesn't like a cockney-speaking, human-sized lizard who enjoys stealing space cars? There are some serious subjects covered even with all the sci-fi references, like feeling like you don't belong, first love, and injustice. I felt like it was very possible that the story could continue in another book, but it is also good for kids to encounter books that don't ...more
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stayed up 'till 12:00 last night to read this book. This book was awesome. I want to find a thesaurus to write down all the words this is. It is basically a sci-fi nerd's paradise. This. Book. Is. Amazing. OK. Enough ranting. In this book, Earth is chosen as a candidate to join the Confederate of United Planets. To be accepted and gain technology that would end all of Earth's problems, they must send 3 of the world's best adolescents and one "random" to be judged. If the team gains 80 levels f ...more
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I definitely recommend it to other people. Make sure you read it!!

When the Confederation Of United Planets has chosen Earth to be one of the Delegations, they chose 3 of earth's most talented young children to represent Earth.Then there is Zeke. Other species have been chosen to be some of the delegations like the Ganari. Zeke meets some new friends while the other members of his delegation try to block him out. The confederation and the phamdic empire have been going b
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this one. It took me longer than I expected to read. It is a bit of a tome--485 pages. The other reason is that so many science fiction references are scattered throughout, I wanted to go and research them all. I think knowing the basics of those references does increase your enjoyment of the book, but if you don't, perhaps it will inspire you to learn more. I know I asked a lot of questions about Martian Manhunter after reading it.

Zeke Reynolds has been invited to an intergalac
Carrie-Anne Thomas
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Tell me I can get a sequel, please. o.o

Seriously, this book may rank in my favorites. It has it all: a sci-fi dork for a main character, cool technology, humor, deep emotions, a cute almost-romance, strong characters, plot twists, aliens... I laughed out loud at points. It's amazing. I might possibly have stayed up until two AM to read it... And not even near the end!
This book grabbed me from the first scene and thrust me into a humorous, but somehow deadly world, where inescapably I fell in lov
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Shadows of Sherwood (Robyn Hoodlum, #1)
  • Rapunzel: The One with All the Hair (Twice Upon a Time, #1)
  • Framed! (Framed #1)
  • The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel
  • Vanished! (Framed #2)
  • Courage for Beginners
  • Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman? (Montmorency, #1)
  • Slacker (Slacker, #1)
  • The Girl in the Well Is Me
  • The Fog Diver (The Fog Diver, #1)
  • Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making
  • The Nerdy Dozen
  • Apex Predator (Horizon, #4)
  • How I Became a Spy: A Mystery of WWII London
  • Uprooted - A Canadian War Story
  • The Runaway Bride (The Bride Ships, #2)
  • A Bride of Convenience (The Bride Ships, #3)
  • Standoff (Natchez Trace Park Rangers, #1)
See similar books…
I am a novelist living in San Antonio, Texas, though, for the record, I am not from Texas. I just live here. I have four novels published: A Conspiracy of Paper (which won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel) and A Spectacle of Corruption were both national bestsellers. They are set in 18th century London and feature Benjamin Weaver, a Jewish former pugilist, thief-taker for hire. Weaver will be ...more

Other books in the series

Randoms (3 books)
  • Rebels (Randoms, #2)
  • Renegades (Randoms, #3)

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
25 likes · 21 comments
“Not anticipating I'd be on trial for my life, my mother hadn't bothered to pack a suit for me. She was, by nature, an optimist.” 2 likes
“What are we playing for? This needs to be worth my while."
"Honour?" Steve suggested. "Let me know if your universal translator got that one. I know it may be a tough concept for your species.”
More quotes…