He's thrilled a generation of young adult readers with his smart, bestselling Young Adult novels and made Phoenix proud, besides. Because Tom Leveen, who lives here with his wife and young son, is that rarest of guys: a literary local boy made good. After toiling for more than 20 years in local theater (he co-founded both Chyro Arts, an all-ages performing venue, and Is What It Is Theatre, a popular community playhouse), he settled in to tell stories in print. His second novel, Zero, followed a "loner art chick" named Amanda through the angst of teenaged life in Phoenix and went on to win a 2013 Young Adult Library Service Association "Best Book" award. More novels followed (including Sick, in which high school drama students are trapped at their school, where a plague is turning classmates into marrow-sucking zombies), and so did still more accolades for his storytelling talent. Leveen's newest novel, Random, is a just-published thriller that takes on high school bullying and teen suicide, and is sure to bring the author even more literary acclaim.