RADIO SILENCE is the second book by University student Alice Oseman – set in the same realistic contemporary style but with a whole host of new characters. This is a non-spoiler review of RADIO SILENCE.
What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?
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…
She has to confess why Carys disappeared…
It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness. Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.
RADIO SILENCE, much like SOLITAIRE, will remain one of my favourite contemporaries. Oseman is someone I’ve been following for awhile, through her Tumblr blog, but its taken me awhile to finally finish RADIO SILENCE – SOLITAIRE was such an amazing book that I needed some time to progress from one to another.
I was comparing RADIO SILENCE and SOLITAIRE constantly through reading the book. The first half didn’t grip me as quickly as SOLITAIRE, but once I was about 1/4 of the way through I found myself finishing the book within three hours of reading.
I feel like the ending of SOLITAIRE was much more rewarding, whereas the ending of RADIO SILENCE had a more dramatic climax and therefore perhaps this is why the ending felt slightly underwhelming – it’s important to stress that I in no way think this was a bad book, just that in comparison to SOLITAIRE I didn’t feel as connected – it wasn’t as relevant to me. As a second book, the writing style was better and I acknowledge the writers craft itself improved. However, when rating I have to take into account and explore my own feelings – not just an analysis of the text in front of me.
Perhaps the rating dropped slightly due to Frances’ attitude towards grades. On one hand, I understand how she feels pushed towards University due to her good grades. However, in my opinion she did seem to take her grades for granted – or I’m jealous of someone seemingly able to achieve A* grades without really acknowledging her success, and this was a large message of the book: grades and study isn’t everything, even when it may feel like your only defining personality trait.
That message identified strongly with me, so it’s hard to explain exactly how I feel about the discussion of grades within the novel, but I think this is the only aspect which felt slightly off to me.
Many people have applauded the diversity within the novel and while I agree that this is a huge positive for the novel, RADIO SILENCE isn’t about diversity. It’s done exactly as novels should be: unafraid to show characters as they really are with diversity both ethnically and in terms of sexuality. In this way it reminded me of TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE by Jenny Han.
The book has diversity but it doesn’t parade this in front of you – it’s not about diversity, but it contains it, just as all novels should be. Efforts to ensure diversity often drown out the plot in some novels, but not for RADIO SILENCE – it’s just right. I rated RADIO SILENCE 4.5 stars.