Saturday, 25 June 2016

Radio Silence

Radio Silence by Alice Osman

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. {Goodreads Summary}

"He smiled and looked away. 'Sometimes I think we're the same person...but we just got accidentally split into two before we were born."

The most important thing to tell you about Radio Silence is that it's different. It won't be like every other YA novel you read this year, or possibly like any YA novel you've ever read before. For a start, there isn't a major romantic plot line. Instead, it's friendship that takes centre stage; not only that, but a friendship between a guy and a girl, which most teen TV shows/novels like to suggest is impossible. Radio Silence felt very realistic throughout. Osman's characters are real teens, not book teens. 

I think Radio Silence has a really positive message when it comes to exam pressure and the stress of getting into university, which is such a huge problem for British teens and is easy to relate to. I saw a lot of myself in Frances when she went to her Cambridge interview. It's nice to find a book that reflects the impact this pressure has and also goes against the school-rhetoric that exams and university are everything. Carys was a particularly strong example of this. 

I loved that Radio Silence had a competent, involved adult figure who knew what was going on in her daughter's life and did her best to support and help her. Absent/incompetent parents have become an over-used trope in YA, and Frances' mother was refreshing. 

“You're an idiot,' said Mum, when I relayed to her the entire situation on Wednesday. 'Not an unintelligent idiot, but a sort of naive idiot who manages to fall into a difficult situation and then can't get out out of it because she's too awkward.” 

If you want to read something that is different, realistic and diverse, Radio Silence is a must. 

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