Book Review: Radio Silence

RadioRadio Silence
Alice Oseman
YA coming-of-age GLBT
474 pages
Published 2017

Representation MATTERS. Don’t let anyone tell you different. The two main characters in this book are GLBT – and asexual, which is a rarely-seen demographic. One of them is a WOC! And that’s IMPORTANT. We need representation of minorities in books, movies, TV, media – wherever it can be seen. So all those kids growing up, thinking they’re weird, or the odd ones out, or broken, can see themselves on the screen and realize that other people are going through the same things. That it’s NORMAL.

This book isn’t what I’d normally read – if I read YA, it’s usually YA fantasy, not coming of age stories – but because I’m making a conscious effort to read more diversely, and I’d heard it involved GLBT kids, I picked it up. I’m not sorry I did. It reminds me a lot of John Green – which is somewhat unsurprising, given he’s really the only other YA coming-of-age author I read.

I love the different formatting the author uses when representing texts, or phone calls, or the podcast that the kids create. It took me a few chapters to get used to the different school system they’re in – the book is set in the UK, and their school system is very different than the US system. But the writing and pacing is beautifully done, and the gentle mystery at the heart of it all is solved by the end of the book in an unexpected way. I really enjoyed this book.

From the cover of Radio Silence:

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?

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