Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (review)

Publication Date: 25 February 2016

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Pages: 403

FOUR STARS

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Synopsis

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…

Review

Radio Silence was an incredibly addictive book. I read it over two days, and on the second day I couldn’t put it down. I had to know how everything panned out and it couldn’t wait. I think the short chapters had something to do with it because it kept me turning the pages!

The friendship between Aled and Frances was fantastic. I don’t often read books where the whole plot revolves around a friendship between a girl and a boy and neither of them have any romantic feelings towards the other. Young adult books rarely even have a boy/girl friendship at all. I thought that Aled was a fascinating character. He was shy, nerdy and eccentric. He was also the creator of Universe City, a podcast on YouTube that had thousands of listeners, but he kept his identity a secret. One of the main plots was with Universe City, something Frances was obsessed with, but didn’t want anyone to know. I liked seeing this story progress, and having a secret identity attached to a popular YouTube channel seemed like something I would have wanted to decode myself too.

In the story, Frances was going through Year 12 and Year 13 during 2013-2014. This was around the time I did high school, too! In Australia it’s just Year 12 and you graduate in November, so it was almost the same. I remember having so many of the same feelings as Frances and I got all of her cultural references. For example, she once mentioned the song “Chocolate” by The 1975 and my friends and I loved this song. I also kind of used Tumblr at this point but secretly hated it. I definitely was not as studious as her and did not get all As. I am the type of person who wishes they got all As but couldn’t be bothered studying all night. I dreamt of getting a 90+ ATAR (A Levels equivalent) and even though I read Frances’s deepest thoughts, I still couldn’t process why she didn’t really care about her results.

There was something about this book that was so addictive. The narrator, Frances, was incredibly likeable and had quirks to her that made the book really fun to read. Universe City also created a sense of intrigue to the story and it was very unique. I have not read a story like it before, likely because the book was so focused on references for a specific age group. Seeing as the author and I are similar ages, I was able to connect with a lot of what was put onto the page. I would consider this a ‘modern’ YA book because of the references to teenage life that actually seem real. A lot of the time in YA books, things are regurgitated because authors write based on what they have read previously. This book seems experimental and I really liked and appreciated that.

My biggest complaint (and only complaint) about the book is that the writing is too juvenile. There were two aspects to her writing that really irritated me: the discrepancies in the editing and the way the dialogue was written. For the discrepancies in the editing, I often saw mistakes that made me think about what my teacher has taught me in my editing class. I mean, I am studying editing… For example, there were occasions where the first letter of a word after a dash was capitalised and then other times they were not (which is the way you should do it). So – So like that and – and then like that.

The way the dialogue was written was way too dramatic. I get making it sound like teenagers, but it just becomes annoying for the reader. We all know that teenagers say ‘like’ and ‘er’, but we don’t need to see it in every single line of dialogue. There was also so many dashes and ellipses. I mean…just see for yourself.

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It was like this on almost every page. I mean….come on….there are too many ellipses! In the dialogue, there were also times where the characters said ‘haha’ instead of just simply writing that they laughed. Considering the book was so hard to put down, I tried to overlook this while reading it. However, by the end, the continuous stilted dialogue and actual teenage-speak was hard to read. That is my major criticism of the book and why it is not five stars. I would really like to read Alice Oseman’s newest release, I Was Born for This, so I hope this has been improved on.

Overall, Radio Silence was such an addictive and enjoyable read. I would recommend it to those who like contemporary young adult books that do not solely focus on romance.

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2 thoughts on “Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (review)

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