- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (25 January 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007559240
- ISBN-13: 978-0007559244
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 299 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Radio Silence Paperback – 25 Jan 2016
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Praise for SOLITAIRE:
“The Catcher in the Rye for the digital age” The Times
“The most honest and authentic account of modern teenage life that you’ll read this year… outstanding contemporary fiction with appeal to fans of John Green.” The Bookseller
‘A very authentic, teenage voice’ – Sunday Times
‘Solitaire is an extraordinary novel … [Oseman] has captured her characters’ rage, humour and insecurity with aplomb.’ The Financial Times
‘Oseman proves herself a clever, witty writer’ Publishers Weekly
“Full of wit, cynicism, sarcasm and humour. This book is relatable yet original at the same time.” Goodreads review
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Radio Silence follows Frances and her friends as they go through that pivotal final year of high school/ the first year of university. Frances is a clever and bookish student who has dreamt of going to Cambridge since childhood, to the world her life is defined by her academic accomplishments. She has a secret geek/fandom/artsy side that she doesn’t allow the world to see for fear. Aled is smart, academic, shy and secretive. The runner of soon to be hit podcast Universe City. There is more to his life and Universe City than meets the eye. He is a brilliantly multifaceted character who changes a lot through the book. The book follows them and others as they come to terms with who they are and what they want while completing with ghosts of the past, pressure from others and their own self-doubt.
There is an astounding amount of diversity in this book. From ethnic and cultural (the protagonist is British-Ethiopian, one of her friends is Indian, another Korean) to sexual (bisexual, gay, lesbian, demisexual) to socioeconomic (none are homeless but there is a range of situations). (view spoiler)When discussing sexuality Radio Silence is modern like it doesn’t think much of the topic, it just another part of the characters self. In some way, it treats Frances’ geek girl side with more reverence than her bisexuality. The sexual revel of Frances is smart. Simple. To the point. No flowery moment. And it's not the root moment it is just her explaining something else that happened. The sexuality of others is not quite as insignificant but for plot reasons, it can’t be and demi’s often don’t understand themselves what is going on. One of the characters within the fictional universe of Universe City is agender and which prompts some important discussion about gender too.
This is a book that I would recommend to library staff working with young adults, young adults themselves and anyone in a fandom. Because for those in a fandom there are some very relatable moments in here. For some young adults, this could be a mirror a way for someone who can’t usually find themselves in a book to see a bit of themselves in Frances. For the outgoing types, it is a window to another world, running parallel to theirs. If it looks even remotely appealing to you try it, it is a stunning book.
A big part of the story is child abuse. Aled deals with it a lot, in a more emotional sense. He's put himself under a lot of pressure to get into university and also wants to keep his podcast a secret. The only person who knew was his best friend/sort of boyfriend, Daniel. So Frances figuring out it's him was hard on him but also lead to them developing a close friendship. Friendships between male and female characters in YA are rare and this book makes a point that they're friends. It does subtly flip tropes on its head, as in most YA the book would've ended with them as a couple. Instead, Aled has a relationship with Daniel, and is demisexual, while Frances had a crush on his twin sister, Carys. Carys herself is missing and this is connected to the abuse she faced from her mother.
This book also had a unique aspect to it, that being telling the reader it's okay if they don't get into, or even want to go to, university. It doesn't hammer in that uni's worthless, more so that if you don't want to go, then you don't have to. Especially since it lead to multiple character's stress. That's a unique message you don't see but is a very important one.
Frances also has a close relationship with her mother. Parents are another thing ignored in YA but her mother was very present throughout the book. Although her father isn't part of the book at all.
Overall, Radio Silence is a book that hooks you right in, with intriguing characters and a compelling storyline.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Be prepared for a crazy amount of quotes.
So, I didn't expect to finish the last 300 pages of this book last night. But I did. I also didn't expect to be completely drowned in this story. It took my feet and pulled and kept on pulling. A day later and I've yet to reach the bottom. That is how much it stayed with me. I'm beginning feel bad for people who haven't read this yet.
I don't even know where to start. *deep breath* Okay...
So, this is one of those books that I completely thought was different than it turned out to be. But it was a good surprise. Like Christmas morning and when you find a dollar in your pants pocket. The characters drive this story along. Oh, did I add that all of the main characters are queer? Not only that but there is so much diversity I almost ran outside and screamed for an AMEN.
There were so many geek references in this book. Game of Thrones. Scott Pilgrim. SPIRITED AWAY. On top of some pretty awesome music selections. I feel like I need to be best friends with the author. Like now.
The themes in this story include depression, sexual confusion, online bullying, and abuse but on top of that, you have friendships that wild horses could not pull apart, platonic love, long lost love, typical teenage problems like school and whether to check your Tumbler or not which made it so relatable. And even though Frances' mother was awesome, not all of the parentals figures were so understanding. Which is something a lot of teenagers can relate to for sure.
“I stopped speaking. There was no point trying to argue. There was no way she was going to even attempt to listen to me.
They never do, do they? They never even try to listen to you.”
I almost forgot to talk about the individual protagonists as a whole. So, there's Frances, and she's obsessed with a podcast called University City which is about a person stuck in a monster-ridden city set in the future. She meets Aled, who happens ot be the creator of the podcast. Cool? Yep. Only he doesn't want the world to know that. He is a very private with some heavy family drama.
“...it felt like we were friends. Friends who barely knew anything about each other except the other's most private secret.”
It's a slow burn friendship and THANK THE SKIES, there is no romantic love between them. They have a beautiful, soul-mate type connection that feels so real and it makes me yearn for something like that.
“And I’m platonically in love with you.”
“That was literally the boy-girl version of ‘no homo,’ but I appreciate the sentiment.”
Without giving too much away, Aled's podcast and his persona, Radio Silence hit me in the feels. When it all comes together, and we realize who he's speaking to and how deep his agony goes, it just ripped out my heart.
“I wonder - if nobody is listening to my voice, am I even making any sound at all?"
Sometimes, I think we all feel that way, and Radio's pain is our pain. This book was written for you and for me.
One of my favorite things in this book is the friendship between Frances and Aled. They are both so sweet and wonderful and their friendship was great. I loved how it helped both characters grow. I especially loved their text conversations, they always made me smile.
I didn't expect to love the side characters as much as I did. I also didn't expect to hate a character as much as I did. Every character is three-dimensional and so interesting to read about. It's hard not to care for them (except for the one).
I appreciate how Oseman included an emotionally abusive relationship in this book. In other books I've read that mentioned abuse it was almost always physical abuse. Emotional abuse can be just as damaging so it's good it's talked about with the same level of seriousness.
I did have one problem with the book and that is that the beginning is a bit slow. The chapters throughout the book were short so that made it easier to keep reading, but I felt like it took a bit to get the story really moving. However, once the story gets going I couldn't put it down.
Overall, Radio Silence is a wonderful story full of laughs, heartbreak, and beautiful friendship. I can't wait to read it again.
A big point of the book is that there's not one best path for everyone after secondary school. "University isn't the right next step for everyone, even people who get good grades" is probably the most key message here, and I thought it was handled well.
I read this largely because there's a demisexual character. There's a conversation between the demi character and said character's significant other about what asexuality is and isn't (which is well done), and the word demisexual is used on page. I have conflicted feelings about this conversation, but I still appreciate the representation.
As complicated as it gets, I love the friendship between Frances and Aled. The messages between them in particular are gold.