HI VIRTUALLY READERS! I basically procrastinated all day, but here is a review of Radio Silence. Shanti already did this, but I’m too lazy to write new reviews, let’s be honest.
Blurb (thank goodreads): Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.
But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.
Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…
It’s about friendship and fandom and school and studying.
While I haven’t read Solitaire since very early in my blogging career, I loved that this happened in the same town, with obscure references.
Frances was like me in so many ways. I too, study a lot (although I’m sensible enough to go to bed at 9:30, not midnight), I’m also biracial (Although I wish that Frances looks had been described just because that kind of thing is interesting) I, too, spend plenty of time on the internet. I just found her super relatable.
Then there were the other characters. I LOVED Aled so much, and I felt like he was really well developed, as was his friendship with Frances. All the secondary characters, from Frances’ mum (who was super awesome and who I wish was more in the story) to Daniel Jun (a head boy and study machine, who deserved more airtime because he’s a complete cinnamon roll of awesomeness) to Raine (Frances’ friend + shoutout for South Asian representation) to Carys (Her character in the past was more important that her character in the present but shoutout for twin representation) were amazing.
What I loved most about Radio Silence was its details, the way aspects of the story came together in a seamless yet realistic way. I loved the intersection of fandom and tumblr and YouTube with friendship with school with university. I felt like Alice Oseman really *got* what being a teenager is like, and somehow also sculpted a great story. The plot just worked really, really well.
Should I mention the diversity? There is so much. There’s POC representation (Frances and Daniel), LGBTQ+ representation (I can’t keep up with this acronym, but if you’re interested there’s B, G, L, and the +). I did find it strange that there were basically no heterosexual characters though. And there’s mental health representation (probably anxiety and depression).
Also, there was NO ROMANCE. The plot did not revolve around finding love, so it had time/space for other, more awesome things to explore, like identity and friendship and family and school and AAAA soo much good.
Overall, Radio Silence represented to me the best of the YA contemporary genre—the stories of real teenagers just like us dealing with real life, except that their lives, like, actually have a plot and stuff.
Have you read Radio Silence or Solitaire? What did you think? Are you/were you a study machine? (I can be, but not today. I blame the internet). What are other books you’ve read with no romance?