“In Distress. Stuck in Universe City. Send Help.”First line in Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
Author: Alice Oseman
Genre: YA contemporary
My rating: 4.5 stars
What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?
Frances is a study machine with one goal. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside. Then Frances meets Aled, and for the first time she’s unafraid to be herself.
So when the fragile trust between them is broken, Frances is caught between who she was and who she longs to be. Now Frances knows that she has to confront her past. To confess why Carys disappeared.
Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has (Goodreads).
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman should be mandatory reading for everyone in high school. Also, teachers and parents should probably read it too. It deals with the more and more prevalent topic of ‘the pressure to do well’ in school. Of how our society creates a belief in young people’s minds that if they fail a test, their life is over, and they will never be happy. Alice Oseman shouts out a big fat HELL NO with this second novel of hers.
It’s a book I wish that I’d read when I was 17 because I would definitely have been able to relate to it more than I did now as a 25-year-old. I did really like most of the characters and could identify with both Frances and Aled. Frances as the “study machine” who never really questions why she studies so hard. She just knows that she has to do it or be a failure. I loved her relationship with her mother and what it represented in relation to the pressure Frances is feeling. She’s just the definition of the “cool mom”.
Aled is another story. He is quite mysterious in the beginning and for most of the book actually. He’s described as very quiet and closed-off, but he’s also pressured to be perfect in school. It’s very beautiful to see his and Frances’ friendship develop throughout the book. I enjoyed that it wasn’t an instant friendship, but we got to see them being a bit awkward at first and learning to trust each other.
The other characters weren’t as good as Frances and Aled. They seemed somewhat one dimensional as if they were only there to push the plot along. Especially Aled’s mother who very clearly just had one purpose which I won’t spoil here. I would have liked to have understood her reasoning behind her actions, but we didn’t get that. It made her seem a bit unrealistic when she could have been a really impactful character.
Enough about characters. Something that made me feel happy while reading the book was the representation of online fandom culture specifically through Tumblr. Frances is an active member of the fandom for the podcast show Universe City for which she makes fan art. Oseman clearly knows Tumblr and she was able to show both the good and the bad sides of a fandom.
Finally, I just wanted to express my appreciation for the fact that this book takes place in Britain. It might seem like a small thing, but I’m so used to reading books and watch tv shows about the American school system that it’s just the default setting. The British setting was just so refreshing and surprising because I didn’t know about it before starting the book.
Overall, Radio Silence is an amazing book. The writing style is very simple, and the chapters are extremely short. So, if you’re looking for a fast read with significant themes that maybe will make you revaluate aspects of your own life, Radio Silence is a book for you.
I hope you liked this review and I would love to know if you agree or disagree with my points in the comments.
Until next time,