Tuesday, April 24, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

............................................................................................................................................................

Title: Radio Silence
Author: Alice Oseman
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+
Pages: 403
Pub Date: February 25, 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Book Source: Personal collection
My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars



**POSSIBLE SPOILERS**

Synopsis: 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.
             - - -
Hello. I hope somebody is listening...
Radio Silence was tough for me to get into during the first 1/3 of the book. I think the pace of this story was a little bit slow and off. Once you get past the first third of the book, it picks up (at least for me). This is, in part, why I knocked my rating from 4 to 3.5 as I sat down to write this review.

As for the plot itself, I liked it—BUT I didn't love it.

What I did LOVE was the fact that this was a story about a boy and a girl who do not develop feelings for one another or get into a relationship. Platonic can be just as great as romantic. This was done very well in this book. I was just as invested in the friendship between Frances and Aled as I would be in any romantic one in a book.

Being friends with Aled made me feel like I’d never had a real friend before, ever.
Another plus? Diversity. I am always on the lookout for books with LGBTQIA+ themes and characters. This is something I see more and more these days, and I love it. I will NEVER get enough. I won't say which characters identify with what, but the book touches on gay, lesbian, asexuality, and bisexuality. Not only did the author take on characters outside of the “heteronormative” usual, but also characters outside of the “norm” within the LGBTQIA+ community as asexuality isn't touched on enough, if at all. I applaud this, and it is wonderful. Also, the characters weren't all white, which is always a plus.

I also think the struggles these characters were dealing with were realistic and quite relatable. Not only dealing with their sexual identities, but also bullying, schoolwork, family drama, and social issues.

On the negative side... While I enjoyed the plot overall, it was drawn-out way too much. A lot of the book was dedicated to Frances' inner monologues. She just went on and on and on, and she was slightly obsessive over Aled and the podcast. I get it, it was a fandom for her, but I think there is a fine line between being a huge fan of something and being completely obsessed with it. It just isn't healthy. I just found it tough to remain interested throughout all of her repetitive inner musings. The book is definitely character-driven, but there needs to be something to the plot too... More than there was here.

Overall, I enjoyed this book! It wasn't the best, it definitely had some flaws, such as a slow plot which lacked any real flesh to it. The characters were fantastically written. I think they had amazing personalities and were very real and easy to relate to. The diverse cast was a plus, as well as the real-life issues they had to overcome. I also enjoyed the author's writing style. I found it to be quite beautiful and poetic. I recommend this book if you enjoy a good YA contemporary with the unique twist of NO ROMANCE! Yesssss!
............................................................................................................................................................