Radio Silence is about Frances Janvier, a high school student who mostly is known for spending most of her time studying. She is seen as pretty boring and uneventful to her school friends, and she is pretty content with that. Even if she's not boring at all because after school she goes home and does fan art for a YouTube based podcast she loves called Universe City. She gets an email from the creator of Universe City, Radio Silence, asking her if she'd be interested in doing some art work for the podcast. Frances finds her life becoming anything but boring when she starts to become good friends with Aled Last. Especially when she finds out that he is the creator of Universe City.
I really enjoyed this story a lot. There are a few things I really loved about it and some things I wasn't the biggest fan of, so let's get started on those!
Let's start with the characters. I actually enjoyed the characters in this story a lot. My favorite probably being Aled. His friendship with Frances was incredibly sweet and the way they grew closer together became very natural. I really liked Raine too, who isn't in a lot of the book but is a great character that I think deserved more time with Frances because Raine was a really great friend.
The writing was okay, I wasn't blown away but Alice Oseman writes a simple and addicting story that had me pretty hooked from the get go. I didn't find many quotes in the book I absolutely loved, which sometimes happens, but that could have been because the story sometimes goes so fast and so much happens that I didn't have much of a time to notice.
One thing I didn't like about the book is something small: most of Frances's friends at school. Like I said earlier, Raine is great, but the other ones didn't seem like real characters at all. They were really only brought into the story to ask Frances who the creator of Universe City is, or for them to go "Classic boring Frances!" like cheesy sitcom characters. That last part drove me a bit insane.
The author does an amazing job weaving social media into the story in a realistic and natural way that social media and the internet is currently being used. When it comes to the internet, this book is kind of like a time capsule perfectly representing how it is right now. From Frances's Tumblr fan art, to the YouTube based podcast, Twitter is also brought up, and France and Aled even communicate through Facebook Messenger. I loved how realistic this aspect of the book was. It was an accurate representation which I think was really cool to see.
I didn't like Aled's mother Carol at all. She was supposed to be the villain, but instead she came off unrealistic and a caricature of a real human. It was a bit ridiculous and cartoon-y. It was just so hard to believe that I couldn't fully connect to the story long enough to hate her. Her actions and words were awful and anger inducing, but I couldn't seem to care because it was all too ridiculous. Which seemed to be a common thing for me, I wasn't fully invested in the story as a whole. I enjoyed the characters well enough, but I wasn't on the edge of my seat kind of hooked into the story. Some things were great (the friendships) but the drama between Aled's sister, his mom, etc wasn't believable so it felt overly dramatic.
There is some pretty good diversity in this book. Frances is mixed, her father is Ethiopian, her mother is white. Her race is brought up a few times in passing for the most part. There is also some LGBTQ+ representation. There's bisexuality, homosexuality, and even demisexuality. My only complaint is the demisexuality part, I wanted more. When I heard this book had a demisexual main character I was beyond hyped. I am still coming to terms with my own sexuality, but I identify as demisexual. It would have been cool to have a little more discussion about it, because the representation of asexual characters is pretty slim.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. I am happy I read it and I recommend the book to anyone wanting to read a young adult contemporary that is heavy with social media and the internet. There were times where it reminded me of Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia, but instead of focusing a lot on the art (both main characters are artists) like Eliza does, Radio Silence focuses more on the drama and family issues with the characters.