Title: Radio Silence
Author: Alice Oseman
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release date: February 25th, 2016
*Note: They're releasing it on the US on March 28th, 2017
BUT you can order the UK version on BookDepo (w/ original cover)
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.
Frances is the girl who's up at 3 in the morning doing assignments for her dozen school clubs and classes. Aled is the quiet kid who gets straight A's and sits in the back of the class. They've never had reason to talk before, but when Frances discovers that Aled is the creator behind her favorite podcast, they forge a powerful friendship.
Every great author has their signature. That one element of their writing that no matter the quality of the book will always stick with you. For Alice Oseman, that signature is her unparalleled ability to capture the psyche of the modern teenager. The phrase "So real it hurts" finds its home in the pages of this novel.
Frances is an amazing main character. Her willingness to work herself to exhaustion because what other option is there if I want to succeed? is all too familiar. Yet the more she toils to succeed, the more she feels as if she's losing whatever it is that everyone says is so fun about being a teenager.
Aled, our other protagonist, presents a similar and yet also inverted problem to Frances'. His issues lies in the home, with a sister who disappeared years ago to escape their mother's oppressive nature and a boyfriend he feels is slipping further away ever day for reasons he doesn't understand.
As friends, they finally become the versions of themselves that they truly enjoy being, but the rest of the world is still drowning them with worries from every side. Between Frances' self-imposed "Work until you drop" mantra and the tyrannical rule of Aled's mother, the two have difficulty carving out a place for their own interests and desires.
There were several moments in this book where I had to stop reading and look up texts from friends and in group chats on my phone because, yep, knew it, I've had those exact same conversations with my friends almost verbatim. That is what raises the book from good to great; a feeling of kinship and intimacy with the characters. Oseman knows exactly where to put the focus of the story: the emotions. Because while most teenagers aren't secretly producing a hit podcast, they ARE worrying about tests, college applications, heritage, self-image, public identity, sexuality, and the future as a whole.
This is a book everyone should read, or at least books like it. Books that tell you "Worry all you like, work as hard as you think you should, but that happiness you're working towards won't happen in the future if you don't give yourself time to be happy now."
Alice wrote a book when she was seventeen. That book, SOLITAIRE, was published by HarperCollins on the thirty-first of July, 2014.