If there is anything I’ve gathered from reading every Alice Oseman novel to date, it is that she writes from a point of passion.
Her novels are always about saving someone and rarely about romantic love.
That’s what makes them perfect.
Blurb: What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong? Frances has been 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. Engaging with themes of identity, diversity and the freedom to choose, Radio Silence is a tor de force by the most exciting writer of her generation.
I guess by now you’re all probably used to my reviews being, well… not on Monday… the day I have them scheduled for (oops). I’ve officially finished training for work, got accredited and am now working full-time!
I was going to write this after I finished work last Monday but as I started typing, I fell asleep almost immediately. Haven’t done that in a while so I let myself sleep. Then I wanted to get this out on Tuesday and- in short, I’m very exhausted but I worked hard on this review xxx
Let’s talk about Radio Silence.
I had read the Heartstopper series before reading this one and that helped place the story within Alice Oseman’s universe and also know where we were along the timeline.
Agh! If there is anything I love more than Alice’s ability to write perfect relationships, it is her ability to link her novels together into the same universe. Although this book is told in the first person, it felt like everyone we met was the main character. Okay, hear me out!
There is this real distinct separation between who the main characters/ characters that will be making an impact in this novel are, and the side characters/ those who push the main characters into action. I love how Alice uplifts her side characters and allows everyone to have a personality, a piece of the action and an impact in the lives of the MCs.
Frances. That’s our main character. I want to talk about her but she had no flaws. Like none whatsoever. She and her mum are BFFs and she has a passion that she loves and amazing grades in school; the only thing that let her down was her inability to be true to herself outside of her home environment.
Aled is trapped. Okay… yeh I do want to protect the poor troubled boy! leave me alone. To avoid spoilers, I will say that due to abuse and trauma, Aled has closed himself off to everyone and everything he could become in order to please someone else. His only piece of personal heaven is Radio Silence, a radio show where he can be as himself as he likes, anonymously.
The relationship between Frances and Aled blossoms and both find themselves being so wholeheartedly genuine around each other. Dressing how they want and sharing the same interests, the two of them become almost inseparable until Aled’s secret gets out.
It’s not that Aled doesn’t want to be known and recognised for what he does, it’s that he can’t. The friendship-breaking-conflict ensues and we have the montage from Frances’ POV of yearning for more than a friend lost, but a life. A way to be so genuinely herself.
In this moment I could feel that hopeless feeling that is more than a breakup with a boy/girlfriend, it’s a betrayal between best friends, something that seems so irreparable. Only when Frances’ decides that she is ready to bring Aled back does she go looking for him and finds herself doing it in the only way she’s known how to. By listening to him.
The story ends in the most unlikely and dramatic way. Although, it wouldn’t be an Alice Oseman contemporary if it didn’t end with a mismatched band of friends finding happiness and feeling a little more like the world isn’t going to crash and burn around them, now is it?
I thought Radio Silence was beautiful. The message behind Aled and Universe City where he is calling out for help and calling out to her sister is something I sometimes feel that I can relate to. A silent plea for someone to hear me. I often think that’s what I’m doing here in this blog, on my socials, just a lot less obvious.
★ Rating ★
I rated this book ★★★★★ (4.75/5 stars). More and more during this second lockdown (and the fact that I have also been feeling down about no one noticing my creative endeavours), I have turned to Alice Oseman’s works to give me a boost in motivation and joy. Her works are so full of hope. The hope of friends and family and someone coming to the rescue when you feel trapped or down.
See you back here on Monday’s (book reviews), Wednesday’s (storytime/ writing updates) and Saturday’s (other bookish content).