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.
There’s something special about Alice Oseman’s writing. She really knows how to bring characters to life and in Radio Silence she does this exceptionally well. Frances Janvier, the protagonist, is obsessed with getting good grades in school but doesn’t actually feel like she fits in anywhere, even in the academic world where she excels the most. She’s quite a complicated character, with a group of friends who don’t really know much about her outside of the school’s four walls.
She doesn’t know where she belongs in the world but loves her art and the world of Universe City, a podcast she’s been a big fan of for quite some time. She doesn’t really fit in anywhere until she meets Aled Last who is struggling with a lot of his own issues. One of the things I love about their relationship is that it’s purely platonic, which friendships between men and women are rarely explored in fiction without a romance element. Oseman writes, “I think everyone’s a bit bored with boy-girl romances anyway,” he said. “I think the world’s had enough of those, to be honest.”
Aled is probably my favourite character in this book. He’s consumed with his own hobby, the only thing keeping him sane, but struggles massively with his home life. His sister ran away and his relationship with his mother isn’t the healthiest especially where his education is concerned. It’s quite a contrast between Frances’ non-pressured home life and the pressure she places on herself. Aled doesn’t enjoy learning but since he is quite intelligent, he has no choice but to pursue a life of higher education.
He is another character that doesn’t really fit in but his issues have escalated a bit more than anyone else’s in the book. There is a theme of depression and mental health running through the plot and Aled is probably at the heart of that. One line that really stood out to me is, “Everyone’s different inside their head”, whether that be someone being more bubbly away from certain social settings or another person genuinely struggling to cope while plastering a smile on their face in front of other people.
One of the other characters in the novel that I loved is Raine Sengupta. She’s one of the people in the story that add a bit of fun to the plot. She also is there to show the two main characters how lucky they are in some instances, where she is not. I liked that she was always there for Frances, even though Frances sometimes questioned whether anyone really cared much if she was in their company or not. It would have been nice to see more of her as her background would have been interesting to explore.
The author always manages to naturally write diverse characters into the plot, with a focus on LGBTQ+ representation which is also important to be included in fiction, especially for young adults who are probably dealing with a lot of the stuff the characters in this novel are. It reads like a fast-paced book, without being rushed and is perfect for readers who love highly character driven plots.
There are trigger warnings for Radio Silence including a death of a pet, depression and abusive relationships. Some of the topics in this book can be quite heavy, however the way she writes and the bond between the characters doesn’t make it a difficult read.
In true Oseman style this novel is about self-discovery and the importance of great friendships. The characters in this book are ones readers will keep in their hearts for a long time. It’s not often that I add a new book to one of my all-time favourite lists but this one resonated with me on a different level and I wish I had read it when I was a teenager. It’s an emotional read but definitely worth it. It’s perfect for fans of Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia.
What’s your favourite Alice Oseman book? Let me know by commenting below. For more bookish content you can find me on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest – @bookwormgirl_24