Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Posted in Books

Galaxy print leggings, Snapchat and Netflix; I’m a sucker for hype.   I had seen a lot of hype surrounding Radio Silence by Alice Oseman… so… I read it.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman - Famous in Japan

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Publication Date: 25 February 2016
Publisher: Harper Collins Childrens

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…  Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

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.

A YA coming of age read that tackles issues of identity, the pressure to succeed, diversity and freedom to choose, Radio Silence is a tour de force by the most exciting writer of her generation.

As I stated above, there is a lot of hype around Radio Silence.   I couldn’t escape from it.  It was all over my Twitter, and considering the large amount of time I spend on Twitter, it popped up a lot.  

Radio Silence is about Frances, a teenage girl with her life planned out.  She intends to go to Cambridge, get a degree, get a good job and earn lots of money. That is what she is expected to do, right?   She fits in studying between listening to her favourite podcast, Universe City.  When the creator of the podcast spots Frances’ fan art, he asks her to create some for the show, to which she happily accepts.  It turns out that the creator of the show is shy, introverted Aled.  However, things aren’t all what they seem, and over the course of a year life will change for Frances.

Oh my,  I felt SO old reading this book.  It is heavily focused on teenagers, and there is a lot of talk about YouTube, Tumblr, and Twitter.  There is even a few sneaky name drops of “real life” YouTubers… *sigh*  I have to say, the heavy focus on Tumblr reeeaaally irritated me.   Why do people take Tumblr so seriously?!  Stop it.  It’s embarrassing.

The writing was clunky and awkward to read.  I know the author was aiming for a realistic tone and dialogue, but it was difficult to read at times and I got frustrated at the endless “umms…” “…” “like…” “yeah…”  Here is an example of the writing early on:-

“I stood up and walked on stage and I smiled and I felt fine because I was born for this”.

Like… what?  That sentence physically pained me.  Because of the writing, I didn’t connect with any of the characters; Frances, Aled, Daniel, Raine… Nope.  None.  You are all annoying.  I don’t care about any of you.

Turning now to the sexuality of Frances and Aled, which has been a big topic of discussion.   It is good to have diversity, especially in YA novels.  I appreciated that there was nothing romantic between them.   It was just friendship.  It was sweet how well they connected and made each other happy in a platonic sense.  However,  Aled’s story line with his sexuality confused me, and considering I didn’t like him as a character, I didn’t have any sympathy for him in this aspect. 

The sub-plot with Carys Last and her disappearance was beyond annoying.  Personally, it didn’t add much to the story.  It seemingly lurked around in the background, and only really began to become involved in the main story line at about 70% way through the novel.  It didn’t even make sense as to why it was a big deal. I was expecting Frances to have murdered her or something.  Sadly, she didn’t. #spoiler

I understand the message and intend behind Radio Silence; that you don’t have to go to university if you don’t want to.   There are other paths that you can take.  However, I don’t feel like it was executed that well.  There was something “off” in the way Frances spoke about it.  She wasn’t “desperate” to go in my interpretation; she actually came across as rather laid back about it – like “oh I’m expected to go so I will go… *sigh*”  rather thanI HAVE to go to University, there is no other option for me.  I must do whatever I can, and sacrifice what I can to make sure I can go“.  Frances also makes a big deal about how her “school friends” can’t know she likes Universe City, or how she likes to wear “wacky” clothes, as she feels like they will judge her.   It just came across as a bit silly to me, as surely your friends wouldn’t care what you liked or how you dressed?  They like you for who you are, or they aren’t your friends.   End of.

I read Radio Silence quite quickly, just about 3 hours in total.  You’re probably wondering why I finished it if I didn’t like it, and that is because I’m a very stubborn person and I don’t like to give up on a book.  I like to finish it and have a full opinion on it.  *stamps feet*

I know there is a lot of hype around this book, and I wish I did like it more than I did, just so I could join in on the craze.  I think if you are a teenager who solely reads YA you will like it.   As an adult *quietly cries* who reads other genres, it was rather lacking in comparison to other books I have read.   This hasn’t put me off reading more from Alice, and I would be keen to read her first novel, Solitaire.    Perhaps I will leave it a while before I do though… *nervous laughter*

Dannie x

A copy of Radio Silence by Alice Oseman was provided in exchange for an honest review.  No further compensation received.

March 26, 2016
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