Review: Radio Silence by Alice Oseman


Details & Summary

Title: Radio Silence
Author: Alice Oseman
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: February 25th 2016 (UK)
Pages: 412

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.

My Thoughts

“I couldn’t quite believe how much I seriously loved Aled Last, even if it wasn’t in the ideal way that would make it socially acceptable for us to live together until we die.”

Radio Silence had been on my TBR for ages. The blurb sounded interesting, many people recommended it to me because the book focuses on a non-romantic relationship (!) a.k.a. a friendship between a boy and a girl, and is very inclusive in general. It’s safe to say I had a lot of expectations and I’m pleased to say Radio Silence did not disappoint. Here’s why Radio Silence is one of my favourites YA books of the year… and of all-time.

Let’s start with the friendship between Frances and Aled. If I were to describe it with one word I’d say it’s “refreshing”. It’s refreshing because very, very few YA books feature a platonic relationship between a boy and a girl. They might start out as best friends but they always end up together in the end. But not Frances and Aled. The author even addresses it in the book.

“I just sort of want to say something before we continue.
You probably think that Aled Last and I are going to fall in love or something. Since he is a boy and I am a girl.
I just wanted to say –
We don’t.
That’s all.”

I love how Oseman took her time developing their friendship. They didn’t become best friends over night. There are a lot of first, awkward conversations but the more time Frances and Aled spend together, the closer they get. Eventually, their friendship turns into this:

(00:00) Frances Janvier

(00:02) Aled Last
why are you tormenting me with cringe messages like this

(00:03) Frances Janvier

(00: 03) Aled Last
thank u tho luv u (✿♥‿♥)

(00:04) Frances Janvier”
THAT was cringe m8

(00:04) Aled Last
that was payback “

Both Frances and Aled are incredibly relatable and all in all very interesting people. I say people because they never felt like characters in a book.

Frances appears to be a study machine who only cares about school and getting into Cambridge. Everyone basically sees her as a nerd with a very bland personality. What they don’t know is that she has two sides to her personality: School Frances and Real Frances. Real Frances is obsessed with Universe City – a podcast that goes viral – creates fan art, and wears “weird” (amazing!) clothes (such as Monsters Inc leggins).

“Everyone’s different inside their head.”

And then there’s Aled who also appears to be kind of a nerd who has 0 personality but actually turns out to be the creator of Universe City. Aled and Frances bond over their love for Universe City, but, also, they’re both massive fangirls / boys and they just work really well together. I loved them.

Aside from the main characters, there’s Daniel (Head Boy of Frances’s school and her “rival”) and Raine. At first, Daniel is a bit competitive and kind of a jerk. I can’t tell you why because of spoilers, but there’s’ a lot more to him. By the end he was actually one of my favourite characters. Speaking of favourites, Raine Sengupta is amazing. She’s the kind of person who says what she wants whenever she wants, which makes for great lines.

“Is that an ‘Oh my God you look absolutely ridiculous’?” I said, getting into the passenger seat, “because that’s an understandable reaction.”
“No, I mean I didn’t know you were so … pop punk. I thought I was gonna have to corrupt the nerdy one, but … you’re not actually a nerd, are you?”
She appeared to be being genuine.
“This is real, this is me,” I said.
She blinked. “Did you just quote Camp Rock at me? That’s not very pop punk.”
“I’ve gotta go my own way.”
“Okay, firstly, that’s High School Musical …”

I think it’s obvious but I’ll say it just in case: I love, love, love the diversity in this book. Frances is biracial (Ethiopian) and bisexual, Daniel is South-Korean, and Aled is demisexual. Obviously, it’s hard for me to judge all these representation but they felt accurate to me.

Oh, and there’s also a plot! Sometimes, a book has great characters but 0 plot, but that’s not the case. Radio Silence isn’t just about being yourself and figuring out who that person is. It’s also about going against expectations and finding your own path.

But there’s so much more. I haven’t even mentioned the mystery that is Carys Last (Aled’s sister and the girl Frances had a crush on) who just ran away from home one day, the way internet fame and lack of privacy is handled, or Aled’s abusive mother. It’s no surprise the book is 500 pages long, which seems like a lot, but I promise you it’s absolutely worth it.

I wish I’d read a book like Radio Silence when I was a teenager. I believe it should be required reading for every teenager today because it truly is Catcher in the Rye for the digital age (as it’s marketed). Alice Oseman delivers a story about finding out and embracing who you are, enjoying creativity, and seeing life as having more than one path.



14 thoughts on “Review: Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

  1. Aah I’m so glad you loved this too! PLEASE more friendships between girls and boys. Romance is cool but, like, it’s just…unrealistic? Sometimes girls are friends with boys? And I also ended up liking Daniel a lot more at the end, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OH I’m so, SO happy that you enjoyed this book so much, Lauren! The friendships were fantastic in this one and characters were so relatable, they felt so REAL, I loved that about this book ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me too! I can’t explain how much I love this book ❤️❤️ Everything about it resonated with me and like I said, I really wish I’d read something like this book when I was a teenager.
      By the way, have you read her other book, Solitaire?

      Liked by 1 person

      • No, not yet, but I want to (someday when I’ve got my TBR under control haha) Did you like it?
        Also, I found Alice Oseman on YT and watched some of her videos and she seems like a very lovely person. I think she’s about my age which seems crazy to me 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I really enjoyed it! Radio Silence is my favorite of the two, but I think in Solitaire as well, Alice Oseman managed to bring authentic teenagers’ voices to life – that’s her best talent for sure ❤ I hope you'll love it 🙂
        YES, right? She seems so lovely, I really enjoy watching her videos as well. I think she's 23, or 22 maybe? I don't remember, but something along those lines. It is crazy, right? :O

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hope so too 🙂
        Definitely! I think she published Solitaire when she was just 19 which is an amazing achievement. For me it’s also oddly inspiring because sometimes I think it’s impossible to “be succesful” in the publishing industry when you’re in your early twenties


  3. Omg!! I am SO glad you loved this book! The friendship between Aled and Frances sounds AMAZING and I would honestly read this book just for that. But there are so many other aspects to this book that I can’t wait to read about ahah. 😍 Lovely review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I highly recommend it–not just for the friendships but also because it really captures what it’s like to be a teenager. You can tell the author knows what she’s talking about. I hope you get a chance to read it soon and that you’ll love it too 🙂


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