By GRACE PAUL
Sheltering in place has affected people in many ways. For me, it has led me back to my bookshelf to pick up books that I hadn’t gotten to. The first of these books was “Radio Silence,” a 2017 young adult novel by Alice Oseman.
“Radio Silence” follows teen Frances Janvier as she gets caught up in the life of Aled Last, the creator of her favorite podcast, “Universe City.” It follows their friendship as they struggle to keep their online identities a secret and maintain normal lives.
This book amazed me with its characters. They all feel real, and their struggles feel real too. From Frances’ conflicts about whether she actually wants to attend college to the problems that arise when Frances joins the podcast, it keeps you on the edge of your seat. It is also character driven, something that usually worries me about a book, but I managed to stay invested.
If you are a fan of books revolving around friendships, this may be the perfect book for you. While romantic subplots are present, they are overshadowed by the developing friendship between Frances and Aled, and how their friendship helps them grow away from their old ways, with Aled a loner and Frances entirely focused on her academics.
The writing itself is outstandingly detailed, and, seeing as the story is narrated from Frances’ perspective, you get to see who she really is and how she changes as she becomes better friends with Aled and finally learns to be herself. Not to mention, the way the teens speak actually feels real, which is sometimes hard to find. Often authors get too caught up in trying to use not-so-modern slang, but this book manages to write dialogue that makes sense when read by a teen. It is not over-the-top and does not try too hard to shove in slang when it is unnecessary.
Segments of the podcast itself are sprinkled throughout the book, and each one gives you a look into Aled’s perspective and how it changes throughout the story. You get to originally see them from a simple listener’s perspective, but the more you read, the more you can read into the podcast episodes and how they reflect what’s actually going on in his life.
Next time you need an engaging read, pick up “Radio Silence.”