What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?
Frances is 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 tour de force by the most exciting writer of her generation.
5 « totally surprised » stars
I am not going to lie here: I bought this book because Alice Oseman will attend YALC London in July and I wanted to have some book to get signed.
Radio Silence seemed like my kind of book and I decided to order it.
I began the book with low expectation as I am a moody reader and reading these ordered book “just for the event” feels like reading school assignment (I know I know) but this has been one of the best surprises among “assigned” books!
I absolutely fell in love with these characters, their lives and struggles!
What’s more shocking is that it’s not even a romance!!!
I can’t explain the “uniqueness” of this book and Alice’s writing.
The best word to describe it and the characters is “décalé” in French what you could translate with “quirky” or “alternative” or something like that.
None of the characters, who are all teenagers is who he seems on the outside.
All main characters are looking for their true identity, their true dreams and paths.
This is a formidable study in character. I can’t recommend it enough if you are a character driven reader like me!
This is the story of two people, Aled and Frances who will really connect as they share the same love for the podcast Univers City. I don’t want to say too much about this as I want you to have the surprise but their relationship and its growth is one of the most intense and profound that I have read about in ages. And no as I said above it’s not even romantic!
Frances is an overachiever and puts tremendous pressure on her shoulders. She reminded me of myself as a teenager and young adult. No one asks her to be the best. It’s all on her.
She wants to attend Cambridge and is a study machine.
She also is Head Girl as she loves talking in public and it adds some shine to her resumé. Again it was and is so me!
On the outside, when she attends school, she is bland. Silent always policed and with neutral clothes.
But the true Frances is funny, loves really crazy clothes (some I would find horrible), draws fanart of her favorite podcast Universe City. She is really interesting and so passionate about Universe City!
You could compare Frances to Clark Kent. Policed and the good girl at school but hiding a super personality.
She will also be the best supportive friend that I have read about. What she’ll do for Aled was both admirable and exceptional. I wish everyone to have a friend like Frances.
Aled is also a brilliant student but …the pressure is not his own. It comes from his mother. I will talk below about that nasty woman! We will witness Aled being smothered by his mother, pushed and pushed to the point of snuffing him out. Aled is a shy young man with a soft voice. If he could excuse himself for existing he would. And yet beneath that unassuming exterior lives a surprising young man, creative and exceptional.
Aled and Frances will collaborate together. They will become best friends. In their friendship they found a soul mate or a twin. They can be their true self together. They can feel free.
Being free is another central theme in this story.
Being free to be your true self. Being free of the pressure. Choosing YOUR path, not the one assigned to you.
Of course you have side characters adding some more dimension to the story.
Daniel, Aled’s best friend and Frances’s school “rival” as Head Boy.
Raine “School Frances” friend who will turn out to be surprising and supportive too.
And the mothers!
You have the best and the worst mother in this story.
Frances’s mother deserves the medal of best single mom ever! She was Frances ‘s rock. She encouraged Frances whatever her decision. She also was a cool mom, encouraging Frances to “let lose” and “stop studying sometimes”. She reminded me of my dad.
Aled’s mom was just plain evil. She was one of these parents whose children leave the house as soon as humanly possible once their studies are completed to never come back. I hurt for Aled. Truly hurt for what she’s done to him!
Last but not least topics astutely broached in this book: the social media and online bashing or pressure. Add to this the sexual identity search with gay, bisexual and asexual characters and I think Alice Oseman drew a complete painting of today’s youth with all its moral choices and questioning.
That book is plain brilliant, moving, heartbreaking, incredible, unique …. and it won’t be my last by this author!
Have you read it? Or any of her books?
Thanks for reading!