Today I’ll be finally reviewing Radio Silence. This book made me go back to podcasts, and I’ve downloaded a few Welcome to the Night Vale episodes. I’ll have to start listening to them soon. The number of times “like’ appeared on each page made me avoid using that word for a while. I should try rereading this book only to count them. Now let’s get this weekend started with this review.
About the Book
Title: Radio Silence • By: Alice Oseman
Published on: 03 Mar 2018 • By: Harper Collins
Pace: Medium • Pages: 403 • Age: 13 and up
Standalone • Genre: YA Contemporary
Song: Falling by Harry Styles
From critically acclaimed author Alice Oseman comes a smartly crafted contemporary YA novel, perfect for readers who love Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. This is an utterly captivating and authentic new teen novel from the author of Solitaire. Frances Janvier spends most of her time studying. Everyone knows Aled Last as that quiet boy who gets straight As. You probably think that they are going to fall in love or something. Since he is a boy and she is a girl. They don’t. They make a podcast. In a world determined to shut them up, knock them down, and set them on a cookie cutter life path, Frances and Aled struggle to find their voices over the course of one life-changing year. Will they have the courage to show everyone who they really are? Or will they be met with radio silence?
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• Universe City
What are the odds when you find by chance that the creator of your favorite podcast lives right next door and is the silent guy who never speaks aloud? Frances wore lots of masks at school- the head girl, nerd, focused student, etc. But with Aled, she was her quirky self. Frances wore her favorite clothes, mostly cartoon pajamas, whenever she hung out with Aled. Being Aled’s friend and being a part of Universe City was something she never expected in reality, but she was ecstatic to be of some help until everything blew online. You know, fame is a double-edged sword, and it was the testing ground for Aled and Frances’s friendship. Only in the end do we see if they come out unscathed or not.
Universe City was not anything special, but its content stood out for me. Creating agender episodes and leaving people guessing about the author’s identity was the plus point of the show. If we remove the podcast part from this book, then it would have been a bland story. Adding behind-the-scenes of the podcast was what made me like this book better.
• Clothes are a window to the soul
Reading about Frances and Aled sharing their love for clothes was the highlight of this book. Frances started to be dress confidently and stopped hiding behind her excuses and shame. Aled was a good influence on her. He was a friend whom she needed, and it can be said the same for Aled too. Aled was close only to Daniel Jun and never spoke to others much. Frances barged into his quiet life and added more sound, and brought out his quirkiness to light.
Frances was a good artist, according to the plot. She posted many UC fanart on Tumblr and was pretty famous in the fandom. Nobody online knew her real name or anything about her, but when they got to know, all hell broke loose. She was dragged into a lot of mess, which wasn’t easy to deal with.
Aled had the upper hand in concealing his identity, as the creator, from the public. I think many liked his show for this mystery element. I don’t know why the fandom was obsessed with learning the creator’s identity and then bullied Frances to reveal it. The most absurd outcome was her principal’s reaction to this. Most of them failed to see that the show as a work of fiction.
• Everyone’s different inside their head
I would’ve loved nothing more than to read this story from Aled’s POV. Frances was struggling to find what she wanted in life, which included her friends too. I couldn’t see myself liking her. I’ve read many stories on identity crisis and imperfect characters, but I wish there was another narrator besides her. I went into this book with high expectations and expecting to find characters similar to Nick and Charlie. I adore Nick and Charlie; they need to be protected from this world along with Aled and Daniel. So Frances didn’t seem to leave an impression on me as they did.
However, Frances showed lots of growth in the second half of the novel. She never gave up on herself or her friends and went to lengths to mend her friendship. That’s something I liked reading about her.
Daniel was my second favorite character in the book. He was Frances’s rival at school and Aled’s best friend. He was broody and kept everyone except Aled at a distance. I would’ve liked to read the story from his POV too.
Raine was another sweet character in the book. She didn’t have good grades like Frances or her friends, but she was there for her when she needed someone. She was the ideal friend who approached life differently.
Carys, Aled’s twin, was quite a surprise for me. She was a mystery to me from all her encounters with Frances. Her relationship with Aled was strained and almost non-existent. I loved reading about these two. One couldn’t tell they were twins because they were completely different in all aspects.
• Hello. I hope somebody is listening.
Aled wanted to be heard. He put his voice out there for the world and kept waiting. I’m glad that he did wait. The core focus of this book is about university. As mundane as it sounds, the pressure imposed on the students by their schools, peers, and parents was a huge factor that increased their anxiety regarding universities. Frances’s mum was the only parent whom I liked in the book. She was super chill and encouraged Frances in whatever she did. But many weren’t lucky as Frances and were subjected to strict measures if they couldn’t meet their expectations.
If you ask me what I see in this book, I’d say it’s diverse and cuts across gender, friendship, family, peer, and other social issues seen around us. I like reading unique YA stories, and I’m happy to add this book to that list. Many YA books separate social issues from romance or friendship. Radio Silence fused all of them to give us a compelling story. I’d have given this book 3 stars, but the last few chapters were the reason why I had to add another 0.5 to it.
I’d really love to live in Aled’s room. It sounded cozy, dreamy, and a window to Aled’s world. Sometimes unexpected friends are a blessing in disguise. Aled didn’t shut his door on Frances, and that made him see life differently. Who knew life could be made more exciting and bearable with one person by your side. Here’s to more friendships, found family, and life!
I don’t think age has much to do with adulthood.
TW // Homophobia, Privacy Invasion, Mental Health Issues, Child Abuse, Cyber Bullying
ABout the Author
Alice Oseman is an author/illustrator and was born in 1994 in Kent, England. She has written four YA contemporary novels about teenage disasters: SOLITAIRE, RADIO SILENCE, I WAS BORN FOR THIS, and LOVELESS. She is also the creator of LGBTQ+ YA romance webcomic HEARTSTOPPER, which is now published in physical form by Hachette Children’s Books.
Alice’s first novel SOLITAIRE was published when she was nineteen. Her YA novels have been nominated for the YA Book Prize, the Inky Awards, and the Goodreads Choice Award, and HEARTSTOPPER has been optioned for TV. She can usually be found staring aimlessly at computer screens, questioning the meaninglessness of existence, or doing anything and everything to avoid getting an office job.
Have you read this novel or is it on your TBR? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”
― Elbert Hubbard
I love the Heartstopper series & can’t wait to read her other books
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’ve read only one volume of Heartstopper but I love Nick and Charlie. This was was so different from HS but unique in its own way. Hope you enjoy her other works. Happy REading, Kira!
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