Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

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Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Nigethan Sathiyalingam
Reviewed by Nigethan Sathiyalingam
Summary: Refreshingly original and incredibly relatable, Radio Silence is packed with wonderful characters and relationships. Strongly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: February 2016
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780007559244

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School Frances is a single-minded study machine, with just one purpose: get into Cambridge. She's responsible, studious, and furiously focused on ticking all the boxes needed for a perfect application, boxes with no place for friends and hobbies. And this is the Frances that pretty much everyone sees. Only her mum knows there is more to her than meets the eye, from her distinctive, geeky fashion sense and serious artistic talent, to her fangirl love for the wonderful podcast show, Universe City. When a chance encounter leads to her meeting the creator of University City, Aled Last, she finally has a friend with whom she can genuinely be comfortable around, and celebrate all her weird and wonderful quirks. However, when complications and secrets threaten to shatter this powerful friendship, Francis finds herself at a crossroads, caught between her old secure path of least resistance, and the much scarier option of putting her true self out there and risking it all to discover what she truly wants.

There are plenty of authors who do an amazing job with portraying teen and young adult characters, but it’s a rare few that manage to really capture an authentic young adult voice. It was no surprise when I discovered, upon looking her up, that Alice Oseman is a 21 year-old undergrad. You can just tell, from every single excellent word of dialogue in Radio Silence, that this is an author who very personally knows what it's like to be a young adult. So many aspects of the story felt intensely relatable, from the highly academic school environment, to the pressure of coursework and university applications, to the awkwardness of having niche, unorthodox interests. I absolutely adored the cultural references; mentions of Frances' Parks and Rec box set, Game of Thrones, her superhero onesies, all had me squealing with joy.

Very much character-driven, the story thrives as a result of the diverse cast of characters and their interesting, nuanced relationships. Frances captured my heart almost instantly, but every single character has their moment to shine, and there is so much to love. Forming the heart of the book is the beautifully developed relationship between the two introverts, Frances and Aled, which I adored. But I also loved the wonderful realised bond between Frances and her mum, the complicated rivalry with Head Boy Daniel, and her friendship with Raine, which has more substance than she realises. In between all the excellent character work, there are plenty of interesting themes being explored as well. Nuanced and intelligent portrayals of various issues such as family dynamics, the pervasion of academic pressure, and privacy and accountability in the Internet age, provide plenty to think about.

All in all, it's a refreshingly original and stunningly relatable YA contemporary, packed with wonderful characters and relationships. Strong recommendation from me!

My thanks to the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Frances reminded me a little of Taylor, the wonderful narrator of Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson, a top notch YA contemporary. Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard also has protagonists and relationships that completely burst out of any stereotypical boxes, with a really powerful story of female friendship. Finally, if you're looking for something more light-hearted, you won't go wrong with the absolutely hilarious Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison, another YA contemporary with wonderfully relatable characters.

Buy Radio Silence by Alice Oseman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Radio Silence by Alice Oseman at

Buy Radio Silence by Alice Oseman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Radio Silence by Alice Oseman at


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