Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
Genre: Contemporary / Young Adult
Publisher: Harper Collins, 2016
My Rating: 3/5
Synopsis: What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?
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.
Let me start this review by saying that I’m not a huge fan of Contemporary. A Contemporary novel has to be amazing for me to really like it. I’m talking things like Jenny Downham’s novels, which are so gripping and so real, or The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which is one of my all-time favourite novels.
So, when I heard everyone raving about Radio Silence, I thought I would give it a go and see if it could be one of those few Contemporary’s that manages to capture me. Sadly, it didn’t live up to my expectations, so I’m a bit disappointed.
What let this book down for me was the plot, the pacing and the characters. That sounds like a lot, to be fair. Let me clarify that this certainly wasn’t a bad book, I just don’t think it was for me. The plot and the characters never really got me hooked and I didn’t care much about them. I felt that the story plodded along a bit and I never got invested in it. I wasn’t interested in the podcast of Universe City, although it did sound cool at first, and, crucially, I wasn’t interested in the main characters of Frances and Aled. I definitely connected with some of Frances’ social anxiety, which struck a chord with me at the beginning, but I don’t know what it was that kept me from fully connecting with these two protagonists. There just wasn’t anything about them that I really loved, which was a real shame. In fact, my favourite character was most probably one of the side characters, a girl called Raine.
So because I didn’t entirely care about the characters, I didn’t care about the plot either. Like I said, it just seemed to plod along at too slow a pace for me. Whilst the potential for something really dramatic to happen involving Carys did keep me going, I found it to be an anti-climax. This meant that the climactic scene also didn’t excite me. I felt like it was trying a little too hard to instill some drama into the plot all of a sudden and, as a result, was a bit unbelievable and fell flat. The character of Carol was meant as a kind of antagonist and, although she was a total psycho, I just wasn’t that scared of her and I feel bad for saying that. She did some horrible things but I felt like there needed to be more of a build-up, more hints dropped, as to her true nature. Maybe because I wasn’t too invested in the characters it meant I also wasn’t repulsed enough by the antagonist.
However, on the upside, I did think the writing was great. The first-person POV had a distinct and interesting voice and I enjoyed the style. Also, this book is very diverse in terms of race and sexuality which was a definite plus point, and there’s a clear message in this book to just be yourself.
It’s a shame that I didn’t entirely enjoy it overall, yet I just think this book wasn’t for me. If you like Contemporary novels then I think you will most probably enjoy this book, but if you’re more into Sci-Fi and Horror and Fantasy like me, then maybe this won’t be for you either. I think I’ll look out for more of Alice Oseman’s work in the future because the writing really was good, but I’ll try and read some more reviews first to get a feel for the story and see if it’s my cup of tea.
Have you read Radio Silence? Or Alice Oseman’s first novel Solitaire? What did you think? Do you agree with my review? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below!