Book review: Radio Silence
Book reviews

Radio Silence – Alice Oseman

Release date: 8 January 2019
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3.5 stars

Radio Silence blurb:

What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances is a study machine with one goal. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside. The Frances meets Aled, and for the first time she’s unafraid to be herself.
So when the fragile trust between them is broken, Frances is caught between who she was and who she longs to be. Now Frances knows that she has to confront her past. To confess why Carys disappeared…
Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.

So, I’m feeling really conflicted about this book. So I’m going to do my usual thing of writing about it until I can pinpoint what it was that I’m just unsure about.
The plot revolves around Frances, our MC, who is finishing high school and dreams of going to Cambridge to study English literature. And by ‘dreams’, I mean obsesses. Everything Frances does has an ulterior motive of ‘this will look good on my university application’. Everything except the fan art she draws for her favourite podcast Universe City. But that’s a secret.
Frances has a friend group that she sits with, but she doesn’t really have any actual friends in it. She’s a loner, mostly because she’s so focused on studying all the time. She’s top of her year and she’s Head Girl as well. Frances is the perfect student.
And then she is contacted on her Tumblr account by the creator of Universe City to do some actual art for the podcast. (It’s a podcast, but it’s published on YouTube, but there’s no graphics.)
Separately from this, is Frances’ secret. She fell in love with the girl across the street, Carys Last, and kissed her without permission. Then Carys ran away and no one has heard from her since. She disappeared and Frances feels responsible.
Then one night when Frances is out drinking, she stumbles across Aled Last, Carys’ twin brother. He’s so drunk and his friend seems to have abandoned him, so Frances takes him home. But then he says something strange that Frances recognises, it’s the closing line from the Universe City podcast. And then Aled and Frances become friends, and secrets start to get spilled.


I liked that the characters were all in their final year of high school, and while they were all striving for the best grades to get into university, and there was all of this pressure to do well. (Admittedly Frances put more pressure on herself than anyone else did.) I loved that the end theme seemed to be more of a ‘do something you like, rather than something that could make you successful; because if you enjoy doing it then you’ll be successful anyway’. That is such a great message for teens who are leaving school.
I liked the platonic friendship between the two MCs. However, probably not as much as everyone else did. I liked that they could be themselves and totally nerdy with each other. But with Frances being bisexual and Aled being asexual their friendship was unlikely to develop into anything else anyway. What I mean is, I wasn’t surprised that it never went romantic.


The ending was a bit, strange? I don’t feel like there were any resolved consequences for the people who had done bad things, and that really left me feeling dissatisfied. I also don’t feel like we got to see whether things got better for the MCs in any way. And by any way, I mean financially, emotionally, or if their relationships were fixed. I felt like the ending just happened, and that was it.
I also felt like the ending was leading up to this huge reveal that Aled was asexual (which I had guessed by halfway through the book), but then it was just a side note in a conversation that Frances overheard between Aled and Daniel, and then it was never mentioned again. There just didn’t seem to be a point to it, except that Aled had finally discover who he was while at university. And maybe that was the whole point, maybe it wasn’t a big reveal because being Ace is the same as me being bi and you being whatever you are. It just doesn’t actually matter in the grand scheme of things. Which, maybe I do like?


Look, I liked this book, but I guess I just really don’t get the hype around it. I think the thing for me, is that I loved Solitaire (although I couldn’t tell you what it was about now), but this book was frustrating, but I also found it equally intriguing, so I kept reading it. I just don’t know how to put it all in context and I’m wary of the ending. However, it was a good book, and I would recommend it to people. (I’m still so confused and it’s been weeks…) I think the best way to put it was that it felt unfinished, but not in a hopeful Rainbow Rowell way. It just ended.
Until next time, happy reading ??


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