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Radio Silence
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Book of the Month > July 2018 BotM - "Radio Silence" - poss spoilers

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Kaje Harper | 16799 comments Our July-Aug Book of the Month is Radio Silence Radio Silence by Alice Oseman by Alice Oseman

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.



Trigger warnings - (view spoiler)

This thread is for discussion of this book - there is no specific reading schedule and you may post at any time. There may be spoilers in the comments, so be aware if you have not yet finished. Especially if you are posting early in the two months, please try to put real plot spoilers into a spoiler-hiding tag - write <*spoiler> before the text and <*/spoiler> at the end of it - with both * removed to make it work, and it will be hidden, revealed only (view spoiler)

I look forward to seeing what the group thinks of this one.


Iamshadow | 334 comments I may reread this if I have the time. I did like it first time around.


Kaje Harper | 16799 comments If you think there should be any added trigger warnings beyond the ones under the spoiler above (or think those are wrong) do let me know. I'll be interested to get to this one. Most of my friends who read it liked it, with a couple of exceptions.


Kaje Harper | 16799 comments Just got this from my library (I do love libraries.) Looking forward to starting it once my edits are done.


Billy (pokemonjesuzzz111111) | 7 comments I feel that 'Radio Silence' is terrific! Recently I finished reading all of this wonderful novel! I feel that Frances is a outstanding character!


Kaje Harper | 16799 comments Billy wrote: "I feel that 'Radio Silence' is terrific! Recently I finished reading all of this wonderful novel! I feel that Frances is a outstanding character!"

Oh, good. I'm just starting but liking it so far.


Billy (pokemonjesuzzz111111) | 7 comments Kaje I just read your amazing profile! I am giving my highest praises to you! I would love to be 1 of your readers of your amazing writings! Thank you so much for being the fabulous moderator in our Goodreads YA LGBT Books group! I very gently suggest that you be very patient about the development of the story in 'Radio Silence.' I feel that reading to the end of the excellent book is very worthwhile! I feel that it is great that you live in Canada! I have visited Canada 15 times! I live in very beautiful Maine USA.


Kaje Harper | 16799 comments Billy wrote: "Kaje I just read your amazing profile! I am giving my highest praises to you! I would love to be 1 of your readers of your amazing writings! Thank you so much for being the fabulous moderator in ou..."

<3 Thanks for all the good words. I'll look forward to seeing how this one goes forward.


message 9: by Ari (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ari J Moreno (arituzz) | 9 comments I loved this book so much! It got me hooked from beginning to end and read it in one sitting. I adored all the characters, especially Frances. Also I appreciated the fact that there was hardly any romance in the book. The one thing that bugged me a bit was that the book seemed to be more about Aled and less about Frances, even though she's the MC.
All in all, it was such a good book, I did not expect to like it that much :)


message 10: by Kaje (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kaje Harper | 16799 comments Ari wrote: "I loved this book so much! It got me hooked from beginning to end and read it in one sitting. I adored all the characters, especially Frances. Also I appreciated the fact that there was hardly any ..."

I'm glad you liked it. That's interesting that you felt like the author was using Frances to show us Aled as the primary focus.


Iamshadow | 334 comments I just finished rereading this for the second time. I had the same experience with this as I did with Carry On - the second time around, knowing the lay of the land, I could shake off the source material/inspiration and just enjoy it for itself. I actually upgraded my previous four star review to a five.

I think Radio Silence is a book of quiet importance. It's about identity and the faces we show others, and how we never really know people around us because we're seeing the faces they choose to show us.

It's about the mill of education and the pressure to hit benchmarks and conform before we even know what we want, and how it's actually FINE to not know what you want to do for the rest of your life by 16, 17, 18, and how it's also fine to not want to go on to higher education.

It's about fandom and creative fanworks, and specifically, about the nasty side of fandom - doxxing, trolling, stalking and entitlement. Fandom is something I've been involved in in some form or another since I was in my early teens, and I've seen the full gamut of bad behaviour from people around me. Radio Silence digs into what it's like to be on the receiving end of that in a very realistic way, and the knock-on effects being a BNF or creator can have on brickspace life - Frances' loss of her headgirlship, the hate mail and death threats and stalking Aled receives.

It's also one of the best books I've read this year about a toxic, abusive, controlling parent, and the ways that growing up with someone like that in charge of your life messes you up. Both Aled and Carys are very marked by Carol's abusive behaviour, and Carol's divide-and-conquer approach with them is classic behaviour from a controlling abuser.

Finally, it's kind of awesome to read a book where a) most of the characters are of colour and b) there's a variety of sexualities, including what I think is the only stated demisexual rep I've read to date.

Basically, this book ticks a lot of boxes for me. It's set somewhere other than America. It's about very real teen issues that often get skimmed past or overlooked completely by other books, and it's basically a love letter to Welcome To Night Vale, which I think is pretty wonderful. So, five stars from me.


message 12: by Kaje (last edited Sep 10, 2018 09:22PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kaje Harper | 16799 comments I finally finished this one - really liked it, 4 stars (my review - https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...)

There's a lot of good representation here, and what felt like a very realistic portrayal of young characters on the verge of graduation and college. I liked the way different secrets became toxic in different ways, and I appreciated the lack of focus on coming out or bullying, The issues of fandom with its highs and lows were well integrated into the story, as were the impacts of parents and friendships. (I loved Frances's mom, and the contrast with Aled's.)

The message about college education not being the right goal or escape for everyone is timely, with the idea that just because you can do top level work that doesn't mean that's where your future lies. It was interesting to me to see the pressures on these kids as they prepared for exams - I know there are kids here in the US cramming for SAT and ACT scores too, especially with financial aid in the balance, but some aspects (like getting your scores in person at school instead of by mail) seemed to add pressure. It's always fun to get a story set outside the US.

If I had really connected with Frances, this would have been 5 stars for me. But although I saw her as realistic, I didn't care about her all that much. (I did care about Aled, and eventually to a degree Daniel, and even Raine.) The flat and aridly unemotional way she seemed to feel about her life and future much of the time carried over into how I felt about her, which is perhaps unfair, but kept this from becoming the favorite it otherwise deserved to be.

Still a book I think has a lot of good characterization of teen situations and issues, and well worth the read.


Sarina Soren (inquisitiveowl) | 48 comments Kaje wrote: "I finally finished this one - really liked it, 4 stars (my review - https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...)

There's a lot of good representation here, and what felt like a very realisti..."


I really related to the pressure Frances put herself through. This book reflected what I saw on a daily basis at my school (and in myself), which was students pressuring themselves so much that even their parents thought they needed to chill. Showing that pressure was my favorite part of the book. Frances pushed herself so much that, in the end, she forgot why she was even doing it. She became like a robot, working hard to go to Cambridge just because that was what she had always planned on doing, not because she genuinely wanted to.


message 14: by Kaje (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kaje Harper | 16799 comments Yes, we definitely see that here too - also the participation in extracurricular stuff (like Frances trying to become Head Girl) not because of interest but just for that little advantage on the application. It's sad that we overvalue college and don't encourage exploration of other options.


Sarina Soren (inquisitiveowl) | 48 comments Kaje wrote: "Yes, we definitely see that here too - also the participation in extracurricular stuff (like Frances trying to become Head Girl) not because of interest but just for that little advantage on the ap..."

Yes! And also, we value financial success over happiness. I know financial success was one part of why Frances wanted to go to Cambridge and barely considered art college (at least for most of the book). Do you remember her saying her life plan was to go to college, then find a good paying job, etc.? I can’t remember the exact quote.


message 16: by Kaje (last edited Sep 13, 2018 07:17AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kaje Harper | 16799 comments Yes - her goal was not any particular occupation, but just a job that would pay well. Sadly, here in the US, part of "a good job" is also having health care coverage, so the risks of doing what you love when it doesn't pay are even higher. But the emphasis on how much a job pays above all else is the wrong message for kids.


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