Saturday, 16 April 2016

Review - Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Title: Radio Silence
Author: Alice Oseman
Pages: 400
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Release date: 25th February 2016

Blurb from Goodreads: 

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.

A YA coming of age read that tackles issues of identity, the pressure to succeed, diversity and freedom to choose, Radio Silence is a tour de force by the most exciting writer of her generation.

My Review:

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. Thanks to HarperCollins UK, Childrens and NetGalley*

3.5/5 stars

Frances has always been good at studying and is planning to do a degree in English Literature.
She doesn't feel like she can be herself at school - she hides her love of patterned leggings and a podcast called Universe City - and becomes boring School Frances.
Frances becomes friends with Aled Last, twin brother of her former best friend Carys who ran away from home. Aled is shy and unassuming but Frances finds that she can be herself around him. She also discovers that Aled is the creator of Universe City.
Everything goes wrong when Aled is exposed as the mind behind the podcast. He ignores Frances and isolates himself at university.
Can Frances get Aled to forgive her?
Will Frances pass her exams and get into university?

Radio Silence was a diverse, refreshing read.
I really liked Frances as a protagonist. She was very relatable - I used to feel that I couldn't be myself at school - and she was very normal. I loved that she had a good relationship with her mum who was cool (she watched Game of Thrones and had a unicorn onsie). Frances was probably one of the most diverse main characters I've ever seen - she was half Ethiopian and bisexual.
The other characters were good. I particularly liked Raine and Aled who I felt so sorry for (his mother is awful).
The plot was interesting and I really wish that Universe City was a real podcast - it sounded so cool!
One of my favourite things about this book was that it tackled the topic of university not being for everyone. As children we're led to believe that we should go to university and, that if we do, having a degree will get you a good job. I had a mixed experience of university and my degree definitely didn't get me a good job (after six months of unemployment), so I found it really interesting to read a book where a character didn't like university.
I loved the writing style.

Overall this was an enjoyable read that I would recommend.