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Radio Silence

Review

Radio Silence

Author of SOLITAIRE, Alice Oseman has brought to life the phenomenal novel RADIO SILENCE. Perfect for fans of “Welcome to Nightvale,” RADIO SILENCE is a powerful story about resilience, friendship and how no one can survive alone.

 

For Frances Janvier, the most important thing at the moment is studying hard and getting into her dream school, Cambridge. That, and “Universe City,” a popular podcast that Frances secretly makes fanart for under the alias “Toulouse”. “Universe City’s” creator is completely anonymous, known only by the androgynous voice of the main character, Radio Silence. When Frances is asked to become the official artist for the show, she surprisingly learns the creator is really Aled Last, a quiet, shy kid from across the street. Together, they find solace away from the outside world --- no one to judge them for their bizarre interests or abnormal quirks. However, as the summer progresses and school starts again, the haven Frances and Aled have built for themselves slowly falls apart. When Aled Last leaves for university, it seems almost nothing can be done to fix their frayed bond. But Frances isn’t going to lose her best friend forever without a fight.

 

RADIO SILENCE is heart wrenching and breathtaking. One of the book’s main themes centers around the importance of family --- not blood family, rather the family you build out of trusted and beloved friends. When Aled finds himself in troubling circumstances, his friends band together to help him out. Although the story is told from France’s perspective and follows her as she grows, it also accompanies Aled as he discovers his real family.

 

One thing I love about RADIO SILENCE is how it explores discovering identity. Finding one’s self-identity is a common theme throughout the book as the characters look for what makes them happy and who they want to portray themselves as to the world, also learning how to be comfortable in their own skin along the way. Frances, for one, expects herself to be interested in intellectual pursuits because it is what is expected of her, rather than figuring out for herself what she truly desires. Aled faces similar challenges, unmotivated by his own desires and propelled by other people’s predetermined plans for him. Throughout the book they slowly shed what has been laid out for them and find personal happiness, appreciating the weird quirks they had previously hidden. Oseman does not shy away from topics such as gender and sexual identity in the pursuit of self-identity, rather wishing to emphasize her message that everyone has a place in the world.

 

I suggest RADIO SILENCE to audiences looking for stories about the prevalence of friendship, LGBTQ+ audiences and podcast lovers. RADIO SILENCE actually got me into the podcast “Welcome to Nightvale,” after I had read the book was partially inspired by it. I can guarantee that if you enjoy the podcast, you’ll love this book. The story was moving and the writing phenomenal. You won’t want to put the book down and after, you’ll want to read it again. And again. And maybe again.

Reviewed by Claire O. on February 27, 2017

Radio Silence
by Alice Oseman

  • Publication Date: April 23, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Friendship
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen
  • ISBN-10: 0062335723
  • ISBN-13: 9780062335722