Release date: March 28, 2017
Genre: Fiction/Young Adult
Premise: You probably think that Aled Last and I are going to fall in love or something. Since he is a boy and I am a girl.
I just wanted to say—we don’t.
Frances Janvier spends most of her time studying. When she’s not studying, she’s up in her room making fan art for her favorite podcast, Universe City.
Everyone knows Aled Last as that quiet boy who gets straight As. But no one knows he’s the creator of Universe City, who goes by the name Radio Silence.
When Frances gets a message from Radio Silence asking if she’ll collaborate with him, everything changes. Frances and Aled spend an entire summer working together and becoming best friends. They get each other when no one else does.
But when Aled’s identity as Radio Silence is revealed, Frances fears that the future of Universe City—and their friendship—is at risk. Aled helped her find her voice. Without him, will she have the courage to show the world who she really is? Or will she be met with radio silence?
Thoughts + Feelings: I’ve started doing this thing where I don’t read the summary of books before I pick them up to read them. I honestly found Radio Silence at the library because I thought the cover was really pretty. Luckily, I picked a winner when I found this beautiful novel by Alice Oseman.
There is something special about how Radio Silence was written. It touches on so many issues that many young adult books (and other contemporary novels) won’t go anywhere near.
The first aspect that I loved about Radio Silence was how there was no cookie-cutter characters. In a once quiet world where being diverse was bad, Alice Oseman brought forward sexual identities that I had to go research because I had zero understanding of what they were. She brought in immigrants, locals, bi-racial individuals to show us that it is possible to live a life where there is diversity around you.
- Frances is biracial (British + Ethiopian) and bisexual
- Aled is demisexual
- Daniel is gay and a South Korean immigrant
- Carys is a lesbian
The relationship between Frances and Aled was beautiful. We read so many books where the only type of relationship is romantic, and platonic friendship doesn’t exist. (At least that’s the kind of books that I’ve read). I felt at ease reading about Aled and Frances, as they discovered how similar they were through their interest in strange clothing and Universe City.
“And I’m platonically in love with you.”
“That was literally the boy-girl version of ‘no homo’, but I appreciate the sentiment.”
They shared the type of friendship you look for in the people around you. The friend that will help you find your voice – the friend who will look after you in the bar. It’s the person who understands what you want and need in every day life.
We live in a world where there is so much pressure on young people to graduate from high school and go straight into university. You need to graduate in 4 (+/- 1) years and get a full-time job. Maybe you’ll go straight to law school or medical school. In our society, it is expected that you’ll get a degree that is useful to a career. In my own little world, there was never an option to go a different route (not that I had ever considered not going to college — but you see, it was an expectation). I went to university and graduated in three and a half years with 2 degrees. I worked for six months until I started graduate school and then… I fell into a weird abyss for a while. This was my first step away from the expectations of society. And for the first half of the year, it felt awful. I felt like I was letting myself down and that was I wasn’t living up to my own expectations (aka the expectations put on me by society). But once I adjusted to working 3-4 jobs on a regular basis and corrected my thinking to realize that everyone has different paths in life, I became happy (and tired) with my life.
“I was going to be happy. Wasn’t I? I was. Uni, job, money, happiness. That’s what you do. That’s the formula. Everyone knows that. I knew that.”
Radio Silence served as a reminder that you have choices in your own every day life, and those are the choices that you have to live with. It’s okay to not be entirely sure what you want to do with your entire life, but you have to find things you love and stick with them. It’s okay to say no to people and figure out your own life.
This book made me feel good… after it beat me down. Sometimes it is hard to take a look at your own reality and leave all the other B.S. out of it. Forget about the internet, about twitter and Reddit. Remember to take a look at your own life and preferences before attacking someone else – be good to others and remember that we’re all just human.