Book review: Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

30653843SYNOPSIS:

You probably think that Aled Last and I are going to fall in love or something. Since he is a boy and I am a girl.

I just wanted to say—we don’t.

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?

RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Do not pity the dead, harry, pity the living, and above all those WHO HAVE NEVER READ THIS BOOK.

This book was like, the spiritual equivalent of eating a perfectly toasted bagel. It was so so good and so adorable and I feel so soft on every level of metaphorical interpretation!! I honestly just want to SCREAM about this book & these characters forever and let that be my career. I swear I have such an obsessive personality and once I like something I invest my entire livelihood into it and forget how to have any other interests or know how to SHUT UP ABOUT IT!!

Look, I don’t know how to say “I  love this book” in a way that will make your heart ache as much as mine does and I hate being so clumsy with words but I REALLY REALLY WANT YOU GUYS TO READ IT. so like, [slides y’all a crumpled 10$ bill] please do.

‘you may be very small but you are all very important in the universe.’

This book was a show of unity to the millennial experience. And it’s not just the memes and the music references and the general sensation of nostalgia and loss and isolation but just the feeling of closeness, like a warm and soft presence tracing on your back, like someone reaching through time and space to grasp your fingers, like you & the characters are ascending bodies to meet up a few miles above earth to chill.

The accuracy was truly poignant. The characters talk about emotions and thoughts in so much depth that I would notice things about myself that I was completely unaware of. I honestly just want to paint the entirety of this book on my walls and post every quote on every social networking site and shout them from the rooftops and get at least twenty t-shirts with them on it and bathe in them and wow have I mentioned how much I LOVE THIS BOOK?? I feel like I haven’t been clear enough!!


✨ FRANCES JANVIER

“When you get to this age, you realize that you’re not anyone special after all. It’s like…this is all there is. This is the only special thing about me.”

I relate to Frances because I too thought being 18 would be a lot more exciting than me legitimately considering whether 5pm is too early to go to bed. But here I am, an 18 yrs old college student going on becoming emotionally a 40 yrs old divorcee struggling to find unconditional acceptance & financial security. So guess what? I’d very much like to unsubscribe from adulthood.

There was an undeniably unifying effect in the daily struggles Frances went through. Because nothing really says you’re a newbie adult like being too high strung, too stressed out & too anxious to be carefree no matter how bad you want to be carefree. Add in a good ol’ fashioned panic attack about your life decisions and the fact that every single move you make is extremely critical to what path you’re going to take for the next 5 or 10 years and you’re all set!

I don’t know how much of this is universal but I seriously related to Frances so much. From how she felt like she’s accidentally tricked certain people into thinking she had more potential than she actually does and directing her entire energy into trying to impress everyone. To finding out just how many different perceptions everyone has of you in their heads and how literally so scary and stressful that is. To discovering that your entire worth is being based on which major you choose and which college you go to, as if when you were created, you already came with a career label, than it is on being a decent person and trying to understand the concept of your place in this life. To learning that there’s really no such thing as living in the moment because the ‘now ‘does not exist when constantly being pushed into the future.

Point is, life woud have been much better if we were all just young wizards attending hogwarts let’s be real.

But through Frances, this book tells you that the potential of anything exists in you. Why live such a restrictive existence when you could LITERALLY be anything?? It’s all about YOU and who you become and who you’re going to become after that, kind of like an ombré of your own personality. Everything gets less intolerable when you realize no one is worth impressing and everyone is caught up in their own fragmented feeble senses of selves and it’s time you stop staring at your potential in the eye and denying it!! But mostly, it’s telling you that your struggles are valid. your doubts are valid. your choices are valid. your passions are valid. your feelings are valid. YOU are valid.

✨ ALED LAST

‘I see you in every fire that lights. In the end I wish it had been me who’d fallen into the Fire, though maybe that’s a selfish thing to say. The Fire that touched you must have come from a star. You were always brave enough to get burned in the Fire.”

I care about 1 (one) boy and his name is Aled Last. I love him. He’s one of those genuinely kind people whom you just want to hold you and tell you stories because they have so much art in their souls that is aching to come out and all you want is to see them shine like you know they can and maybe the world doesn’t deserve to see their creativity but god does it need to!!

Aled Last is the mastermind behind the amazing Universe City podcast that’s garnered a lot of fans. Throughout this book, we accompany Aled on his (ongoing) journey as he realizes his potential and how vital he is to the things he cares about and how much he contributes to the things he’s passionate about, as he begins to learn to not let anyone make him feel self-conscious about the different ways he expresses himself and stop oversimplifying the effect his existence has on every single thing he interacts with.

Aled also struggles with extreme depression (though it wasn’t explicitly stated, it was heavily implied), the feeling of stagnation that’s often rooted in it & the concept of accepting his friends’ help vs. feeling like he’s blackmailing them into being nice or feeling sorry for him. This book deserves so many thumbs up for not portraying mental illness as something you could simply ‘beat’ if you throw the right punch or easily ‘overcome’ with “it gets better” talks. So while Radio Silence does end on a brighter note for Aled, there’s no sugarcoating that recovery is a long-term process.

Aled’s arc was also centered around his abuse and god was the need to retreat into this book and envelop him in millions of soft blankets so fucking overwhelming. And at times, so unbearable I had to physically put a distance between me and the book. It really amazes me how much this book manages to so accurately capture how having abusive parents can be really tricky. Because not only do you grow up measuring your strength by how much pain you can endure, you start to believe that abuse and neglect can coexist with love. You’re told that you’re loved even though you’re being abused. You’re continuously being guilt tripped for being fed and being provided a roof over your head, as if that’s not their responsibility as a parent, as someone who chose to bring you into this world, as if it’s not a part of the damn job description.

Aled’s journey to learning that abuse negates love, that calling her “mom” and him “dad” doesn’t mean they inherently know how to be that, that there’s a power imbalance that should never be abused and that absolutely no child should be scared or feel unsafe around their parents, felt so personal to me. And I don’t know what else to say except that I’m sending love & warm thoughts to everyone whose homes are places they’re hurting. I hope the universe is tender to you all. Always.

“we are going to bring beautiful things into the universe.”

✨ ALED AND FRANCES: PLATONIC SOULMATES

“And I’m platonically in love with you.”
“That was literally the boy-girl version of ‘no homo’, but I appreciate the sentiment.”

I find the concept of platonic soulmates so fucking amazing. Finding someone who you feel complete with without having to worry about losing them to messy romance because you know they’ll be your best friend forever is a warm luxury everyone deserves. It’s such a less selfish, much more equal, and always more rewarding kind of loving.

I love how this book completely de-romanticizes the idea that romantic love is the end goal of all forms of love, that only it will transform you into the person you want to be. instead it’s promoting friendship as an empowing and more freeing sort of love, that not only a romantic partner has the potential to motivate you into becoming a better person and show you the worth you don’t see in yourself, that person could be: your absolutely  crazy best friend who would burn the world for you, your runaway sister and this other girl who’s always just so happy to skip class and drive them wherever and whom you’ve never even met before!! And I think that’s beautiful.

Honestly though, their friendship made my heart grow at least ten sizes bigger. And you know when it’s sunny and dogs chill outside with their heads gently tilted towards the sun and they look so peaceful and feel so warm when you touch them?? that’s how they made my heart feel.

✨ DIVERSITY/REPRESENTATION 

I think everyone’s a bit bored with boy-girl romances anyway. I think the world’s had enouh of those, to be honest.

First of all, can we just collectively appreciate the fact that all main characters are QUEER AF?? All of them. And the discussions surrounding their sexualities were so incredibly well done I swear the only other time I felt this much loved and supported was when the bread was free at a restaurant!!

So Frances is bisexual and biracial (British/Ethiopian). Aled is demisexual. Daniel is gay and is a South Korean immigrant. Aled’s twin sister Carys is a lesbian. Raine is Indian.

and speaking of FACTS: Y’ALL NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!!!!!! I swear I would have personally bought each and every one of you a copy of this book if I weren’t so embarrassingly broke.

7 thoughts on “Book review: Radio Silence by Alice Oseman”

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